Handing out Tuesday's Masters awards

Keegan Bradley on the first green during a practice round before the 2012 Masters Golf Tournament at Augusta National.

Because the festive par-3 tournament is held on Wednesday and the big course at Augusta National closes in the middle of Wednesday afternoon, Tuesday is the last totally serious practice day for the Masters.

This attitude seemed to translate Tuesday into a collection of revealing pre-tournament comments by players. Some were very serious, some were extremely witty.

In recognition of Terrific Tuesday, here are more Masters awards for 2012:

The brevity award: Phil Mickelson, when asked what it would mean to win his fourth Masters and match Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods, answered, “A lot.”

When pressed to elaborate, Mickelson smiled and said slowly, “It would mean an awful lot.”

The “what do you mean I made 7” award: Mickelson admitted he didn’t win the Masters until he changed his strategy on the par-5 15th hole.

“I played hole 15 in the past as a must-birdie, and I have made some epic numbers there that have just shot me right out of the tournament,” Mickelson said. “I look at 15 totally different now. I’ll accept par. I’ll take par there, and I’m not going to complain or try to force a 4.”

The “I respect No. 13” award: Shared by Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods.

McIlroy said, “13 is my favorite (par 5). I just love the tee shot, love the second shot into the corner. It’s probably one of the most beautiful holes in the world.”

Woods added, “As far as the most strategic (par 5), certainly 13. TV doesn’t do justice to how hooked that lie is on that second shot, and the green is set up for a fade for a righty.”

The yuk-yuk award: A relaxed Woods tried diligently to be funny.

“What’s the best way to handle the greens here at Augusta?” he was asked. “Generally if you hit it really close all the time you’re okay,” he answered.

The real man award: Lee Westwood, who was asked about “the gender issue thing” at Augusta, looked down at his trousers and said, “What gender issue? I’m a man.”

The “he drove it where?” award: World No. 1 Luke Donald revealed that he asked his caddie, during a practice round, where Rory McIlroy hit his drive on the 10th hole in the final round of the 2011 Masters.

“Obviously I was out on the course and never watched it and never saw him (hit his drive in between the cabins far to the left of the hole).”

The self-proclaimed favorite award: Keegan Bradley, who joked, “I’ve won every major I’ve ever played in.” That was the 2011 PGA Championship.

The no-sweat award: Defending champion Charl Schwartzel, debunking the theory that major champions have trouble dealing with their responsibilities, explained, “My time got less, but we scheduled everything well and it has not been a burden for me. It’s worked out well, and I’ve enjoyed every moment.”

The truth behind carry distance award: Woods said, “When I played back in 2000, the big carry was 280 (yards). That was a big carry over a corner. Now that’s been moved out to 315, 320. It’s just a different number now.”

The “what do you mean they play here on Saturday and Sunday” award: Former PGA champion Martin Kaymer has played in four Masters and never made the cut.

The best camera angle award: CBS has situated a new camera to provide close-up shots of balls rolling back into the water hazard in front of the 15th green.

The top dog award: Luke Donald, who says he would rather win a major championship than be No. 1 in the world, said, “I think there’s too many of you guys with your calculators out trying to figure out this stuff (who is No. 1).”

The green bean award: Because of unusually warm weather, the azalea blossoms have come and gone at Augusta National, leaving the golf course mostly a glorious green.

The “shoot the USGA and R & A” award: Hall of Famer Gary Player called in effect for bifurcation of the current rules, saying touring pros should not be allowed to anchor any golf club to their bodies.

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