Golfweek.com asked players at the Arnold Palmer Invitational a series of questions about Augusta National and the Masters:
• Mike Weir. Weir, the 2003 champion, has finished in the top 20 for four consecutive years.
• Paul Goydos. He isn’t in this year’s field, but is one of the best quotes in golf. Goydos missed the cut in his two appearances.
• Nick Watney. Watney could be a good sleeper pick this year. He won this year’s Buick Invitational and is one of the hottest players on Tour. Watney finished T-11 last year in his Masters debut.
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Who’s favored at Augusta, Tiger or Phil?
Goydos: You always have to give the edge to Tiger until someone beats him. You have to.
Watney: Tiger, because I think he always has the edge around there.
Who’s the favorite, not named Tiger or Phil?
Goydos: I’d have to say probably Sergio.
Weir: I don’t know. Goosen’s been playing pretty well, so I say Goosen.
Watney: Probably Ernie. I think he plays that place well, and he kind of seems like he’s rounding into form.
What’s your favorite hole out there?
Goydos: Probably 12. It’s the best hole you’ll ever play. It’s the same for everybody. 13 or 15, …. I can’t reach, but 12, everyone’s up there pretty equal.
Weir: 12. It’s just the most intriguing. It could be a low 7-iron, could be a high 9-iron, depending on what the wind’s doing. Within 10 minutes, it could be either-or. It’s just one of the great holes in golf.
Watney: 15. There’s so many different options. I just think it’s a great hole.
What’s your favorite Masters tradition?
Goydos: I’ve only played it twice, so just breaking 80 right now (Goydos shot 79-79 in his last appearance in ‘07).
Weir: Just the dinner, the Champions Dinner.
Are there any stories from there that are printable?
Weir: No, those are secretive (laughs).
Who’s the best storyteller?
Weir: Arnold’s pretty good, but Jackie Burke’s good when he’s there.
What’s the best meal you’ve had at the Champions Dinner?
Weir: Probably the elk that I had. A buddy of mine who’s a chef in Canada came in to cook it, and he did a great job, but they’ve all been good.
What’s one thing you would change about the Masters if you could?
Goydos: I’d bring the fun back in it. The golf course has gotten too long and it’s lost all of it’s fun. I can’t reach any of the par-5s in two, so it’s turned into a battle of attrition. They have to get it back to this battle of wits, but now it’s more like a U.S. Open. Like I said, if you’ve got a two-shot lead going into the back nine and you shoot even par, you’re going to win the tournament. That needs to go away.
What’s your personal favorite Masters memory?
Watney: I think holing out on 14 (for eagle in the final round in 2008). It was 118 yards with a sand wedge, and it found the hole.