Augusta — The crowds were slow to arrive to Augusta National this morning. There was a chill in the air — temperatures were in the mid-40s when the gates opened — and there was not the incentive of Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus teeing off for the first time in history to get many here early.
But a Chamber of Commerce day is on tap. The powerful thunderstorms that swept through the area Thursday night washed away the thick pollen dust and brought the temperatures back to normal. Today’s high is expected to be about 72.
Golfers are already out on the course. The first group of the day — Ben Crane, Simon Dyson and Michael Campbell — teed off on No. 1 at 7:50 a.m. The threesomes have been going off in 11-minute intervals ever since.
Tiger Woods, tied for seventh at 4-under-par, begins his second round at 10:35 a.m. Tournament leader Fred Couples (6-under) starts at 10:02. Tom Watson (5-under) goes out at 12:25 p.m. Phil Mickelson (5-under) begins at 1:42 this afternoon.
It’s a big day for the players. It’s cut day. The field of 96 will be reduced at the end of the day to the top 44 players plus ties and anyone within 10 strokes of the lead.
Woods, by the way, owns the longest active streak of Masters cuts made at 13 followed by Phil Mickelson (tied for second at 5-under) at 12 cuts made. Gary Player and Couples hold the Masters record of 23 in a row. Jack Nicklaus, of course, has made more than anybody at 37.