Lift, clean and place may be in effect at Masters

With more rain expected at the Masters on Thursday and Friday, Augusta National chairman Billy Payne said the club may consider allowing the players to lift, clean and place balls that land in the fairway and end up covered in mud or debris. It’s an allowance that no one can remember occurring in the tournament’s history.

“We surely would not want to have to do that,” Payne said. “That would be a decision very difficult to make.  However, we are also bright enough to know that weather conditions can have an impact on that, and possibly cause us to change our minds on that issue.”

Though Augusta National uses state-of-the-art equipment to keep the course dry, there is concern that more rain will soften the fairways and greens to the point that it could become a “birdie-fest,” as Phil Mickelson predicted on Tuesday.

“Clearly the golf course will not be as firm and fast as it would otherwise be,” competition committee chairman Fred Ridley said. “We are very confident that we will have comparable tournament‑speed greens with our SubAir system.

“Admittedly we won’t have the firmness, but we think that we have looked at a setup that takes all of that into consideration, as we always do with weather considerations; and we think it’s going to be a good setup for tomorrow and we will just keep our fingers crossed that we get the round in.”

Nick Faldo, a three-time Masters champion, said damp conditions may open the field.

They will be able to attack it,” he said. “There’s a trade-off, the course will play longer but the greens are soft. For these guys it makes it easy. The ball will stay on the green where you hit it.

“That was the great defense of Augusta. When you have super-fast greens it doesn’t matter if you have a wedge on your hand, you still have to work out where you land it, where it’s going to finish, where it’s going to roll. It’s not as straight forward as aim and fire.  If it’s soft, then you can. In theory, that will make life easy, but who knows who much rain we’re going to get. It’s going to be good.”

The storms began Tuesday night.  A fallen tree destroyed the restroom near the No. 16 tee, and the rains washed out several bunkers. The resulting clean-up resulted in the gates, which normally open at 8 a.m., staying closed until 8:40.

Payne said they were trying to rebuild the restroom by the end of the day, and that the bunkers would be ready by the start of the tournament on Thursday.

– Doug Roberson, AJC

14 comments Add your comment


April 4th, 2012
1:12 pm

Rain Thursday and Friday. Sat& Sun sunny. gonna be interesting.

Little Brassie

April 4th, 2012
1:31 pm

Soft conditions bring more fringe players into contention.

Could make for a crowded leader board on Sunday.

Taxi Smith

April 4th, 2012
2:39 pm

Lift, Clean and Place is a game, but it ain’t golf. The BASIC tenet of the game is to play the ball as it lies. Bobby Jones would be horrified. The modern pro golfer is the biggest whiner in all professional sports.


April 4th, 2012
3:54 pm

True that Bobby Jones would not be in favor of Lift, Clean and Place. But in this day in age, people want to see good golf. They don’t care as much for the integrity, I mean they care to a degree, but not enough to be upset about LC&P. The biggest whiner still goes to soccer plays and their acting jobs. Golfers like Sergio Garcia come in a close second.


April 4th, 2012
3:58 pm

At least Tiger has his excuse ready, the soft turf aggravated some injury


April 4th, 2012
4:00 pm

Taxi – I’m old school, and agree that they (and all of us too) should play it as we find it.

BUT, to call pro golfers the biggest whiners in all of professional sports!!!??? Golfers are the LEAST likely to whine of ANY sport’s participants. Hell, even professional bowlers complain more about the oil on the lanes.

NBA ballers breaking every rule Naismith ever wrote, complaining after ANY foul call (or non-call), NFL’ers, tennis players, and yeah like Benito stated, soccer players… I need to go on. Pro golfers are by light-years the most professional, classy, educated, well spoken, considerate, fan friendly athletes on the planet.

Sorry, had to get that in. Taxi, you may need to watch a little more closely.


April 4th, 2012
4:59 pm

I do not know how this tournament will play out. I hope CBS/ESPN try to talk about some other golfers besides Tiger, Phil and Rory. If by chance all three golfers do not make the cut, will CBS cut their losses and show reruns of the “2 and Half Men” and the “Big Bang Theory”? I do not think Jim Nance and Nick Faldo know about any other golfers.

My balls itch

April 4th, 2012
6:11 pm

Enter your comments here

My balls itch

April 4th, 2012
6:12 pm

I’m for it. FOr lift clean and place.


April 4th, 2012
7:21 pm

No lift clean and place. That’s Ladys golf.


April 4th, 2012
10:28 pm

I’m only for it if they change it to LLP
Lift lick and place.


April 4th, 2012
10:29 pm

Btw my wife does LLP with me 4 nights a week!

White Trash Bill

April 4th, 2012
11:44 pm

I bet they get hot why don’t they wear cut off jeans and tank tops?


April 5th, 2012
8:55 am

OldTimer, your complaining certainly fits your description. Cheers.