No dal­ly­ing and cer­tainly no dil­ly­ing de­spite fans’ ef­forts

Irish Examiner - Sport - - THE MASTERS -

There is no dis­put­ing that many of the gen­tle­men and one or two of the hand­ful of lady mem­bers sport­ing the fa­mous green jack­ets on Mas­ters week are fair game to ac­cu­sa­tions of be­ing old fash­ioned snobs and just a lit­tle stuffy. How­ever, there are also oc­ca­sions when they echo the views of a mas­sive per­cent­age of golf lovers when pro­tect­ing the proud im­age of the game. Amer­i­can fans have an un­pleas­ant habit of shout­ing out at the most in­op­por­tune times highly an­noy­ing phrases such as “get in the hole”, “mashed pota­toes” and “baba booey”. If such out­bursts strike one as be­ing inane and ir­ri­tat­ing, the word is that an­other is on its way to Au­gusta in time for the week-end’s golf. It is “dilly dilly”, a slo­gan in­vented by Bud Light in a se­ries of TV com­mer­cials that be­gan air­ing last year and deemed by some ge­nius to be ap­pro­pri­ate when Rory Mcil­roy and com­pany play a par­tic­u­larly im­pres­sive shot. Fore­warned that this abom­i­na­tion and the oth­ers al­ready men­tioned might well ring out through Au­gusta’s fa­mous cathe­dral pines dur­ing the 82nd Mas­ters, the tour­na­ment’s se­cu­rity peo­ple have been in­structed to eject any­one guilty of such ac­tiv­ity. And even those who have lit­tle time for the green jack­ets will wish them well in throw­ing the cul­prits out on to Wash­ing­ton Road! The last cou­ple of days have been no­tice­ably suc­cess­ful for the older bri­gade, most of whom turned up at Au­gusta Na­tional hop­ing for lit­tle more than an­other en­joy­able week in one of golf’s most beau­ti­ful and en­joy­able lo­ca­tions. Lead­ing these il­lus­tri­ous gen­tle­men were three of the game’s great­est, Jack Nick­laus, Gary Player, and Tom Wat­son. The trio went out in Wed­nes­day’s Par 3 which Wat­son duly won with Nick­laus in 2nd place. How­ever, Player has al­ways been one of the game’s tough­est com­peti­tors and duly proved the point yes­ter­day when re­claim­ing brag­ging rights af­ter join­ing Nick­laus in get­ting the 82nd Mas­ters un­der way.

The pair con­tin­ued their role as hon­orary starters with a pair of tee shots on the first hole. And the 82 year-old South African hit a beauty that fin­ished five shots be­hind Nick­laus who is four years his ju­nior. It could be, of course, that Jack en­joyed an ex­tra glass of wine to cel­e­brate the hole in one of his grand­son, Gary Nick­laus, in the Par 3. Ei­ther way, that would have been a happy party — in con­trast to that in the home of an­other hole in one man, Amer­i­can pro­fes­sional Tony Finau, who over­did the cel­e­bra­tions af­ter his tee shot at the 7th fin­ished in the hole. He raced away off the tee and af­ter about 20 yards, turned back to­wards the tee only to keel over suf­fer­ing from a seem­ingly se­ri­ous an­kle in­jury. Although in ap­par­ent pain, Finau dis­played the skills of which any sur­geon could be proud in quickly slip­ping the dis­lo­ca­tion back into place and yes­ter­day drilled a per­fect drive off the first tee and joined the elite un­der par af­ter six holes. It has long been a tra­di­tion of the Golf­ing Union of Ire­land to send their pres­i­dent to rep­re­sent the coun­try’s golfers at the Mas­ters. This year, the man do­ing the hon­ours is Tip­per­ary’s John Molough­ney, who loves his sport like few oth­ers. A re­tired Garda from Tem­ple­more, John rarely misses a big match at Thomond Park and de­lighted in Mun­ster’s nail­bit­ing win over Toulon on Satur­day last to put him in the right frame of mind for Au­gusta. There is no wa­ter any­where near the open­ing hole at Au­gusta Na­tional but Ja­son Day found a way to get his ball wet af­ter send­ing a shot into a pa­tron’s cup of beer yes­ter­day.

The Aus­tralian world num­ber 11’s sec­ond shot hit some trees be­fore it bounced off a pa­tron’s shoul­der and into the cup of beer he was hold­ing.

Rather than reach into his bev­er­age the man chugged the rest of the beer and handed the golf ball back to Day, who en­tered the year’s first ma­jor as one of the favourites.

Day got a free drop as close to the in­ci­dent as pos­si­ble and went on to bo­gey the par-four first.

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