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Tiger Woods (right) walks to the 13th green with Keegan Bradley during a practice round on Wednesday at the Masters.
Tiger Woods (right) walks to the 13th green with Keegan Bradley during a practice round on Wednesday at the Masters.

AUGUSTA, Ga. – I always enjoy looking at the practice-round pairings. They give you an insight into which players enjoy each other's company, which ones want to mentor their younger competitors and who likes to go it solo. Here's some observations from today's groupings:

• Bubba Watson, Rickie Fowler and Scott Piercy were first off the first tee, playing at 8 a.m. They were followed by a group we'd love to see on a Masters Thursday: Tiger Woods, Fred Couples and Keegan Bradley.

• U.S. Amateur runner-up Michael Weaver got quite the thrill Wednesday when he played ...

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The 2013 Champions Dinner menu set by Bubba Watson.
The 2013 Champions Dinner menu set by Bubba Watson.

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Well, we finally learned what Bubba Watson served at the Champions Dinner. Watson wouldn't disclose the menu in the weeks leading up to the Tuesday night tradition. Instead, he revealed his selections after the dinner by tweeting a photo of the menu signed by all the attendees.

Watson tweeted: "What a night! Dinner menu. #Blessed pic.twitter.com/GuiU40N3XI"

So what did Watson serve to some of the game's legends? The meal, seemingly in homage to Watson's Southern roots, started with Caesar salad, followed by grilled Chicken breast with sides of green beans, mashed potatoes ...

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Adam Schupak
Ian Poulter during Tuesday practice at the 2013 Masters in Augusta, Ga.
Ian Poulter during Tuesday practice at the 2013 Masters in Augusta, Ga.

— Ian Poulter shook his head from side to side. He recognized the question even before it was fully asked. Is it possible for him to get as fired up at the Masters as his possessed performance at the 2012 Ryder Cup?

“No is the simple answer,” said the European Ryder Cup hero. “But what will happen is on Sunday afternoon, when you’re coming down the stretch, you will be feeling the same kind of emotions.”

Poulter, 37, is confident he will be feeling those good vibes at crunch time, and proclaimed the Masters his best chance to ...

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Brandt Snedeker said he's "100 percent healthy" entering the Masters.
Brandt Snedeker said he's "100 percent healthy" entering the Masters.

AUGUSTA, Ga. –– Brandt Snedeker wants to make one thing clear.

“I’m 100 percent healthy, which is a nice thing,” he said. Snedeker’s health – specifically a strained intracostal muscle – has been a big topic because it interrupted his hot start to the season.

He had four top-3 finishes in five starts before his injury. He finished 2nd-2nd-1st in the last three starts before his absence. He missed his two cuts after his return, though, shooting 9 over in those four rounds.

“I was 90 percent healthy for Bay Hill probably and Houston I felt great,” Snedeker said. “And this ...

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Beth Ann Nichols
Steven Fox in Round 2 of the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Steven Fox in Round 2 of the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Steven Fox got a peek at Phil Mickelson’s little black book for Augusta and called it phenomenal. For an amateur who has seen the place a dozen times, having a three-time champion share his short-game secrets is sacred stuff.

“He would show me putts that nobody knows about really but Phil,” said Fox, the 2012 U.S. Amateur champion. Mickelson didn’t just tell Fox to “be smart,” he showed him how to be smart, explaining where to miss in his Augusta debut. Fox played a practice round with Mickelson, Keegan Bradley and Jason Dufner on Saturday ...

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T.J. Vogel
T.J. Vogel

AUGUSTA, Ga. – How does a player – especially an amateur making his Masters debut - arrange a practice round with Tiger Woods at Augusta National? Just ask. It worked for T.J. Vogel, the U.S. Amateur Public Links champion.

(Check out Vogel's Masters profile here)

Vogel set up the pairing with Woods when he saw him at Augusta National two weekends before the Masters began, scheduling it for the following weekend. When Vogel returned to Augusta National and saw Woods on the driving range, “I went up to him, introduced myself and was like, 'You ready?'

“He said, ‘Let’s ...

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Augusta National's 14th hole
Augusta National's 14th hole

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Change, especially to the golf course, usually comes clandestinely to Augusta National Golf Club. It's not until players start arriving for practice rounds that they see any changes made since the previous year's Masters.

The golf course is usually modified between Masters, though the scope of the changes can vary greatly. This year's changes were limited to the 14th hole, the only one on the course without a bunker. The oft-overlooked par 4 is sandwiched between the back nine's two dramatic par 5s.

"It's reasonably subtle," Luke Donald said of the change. "I ...

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Brentley Romine
Justin Rose during his practice round Monday at Augusta National.
Justin Rose during his practice round Monday at Augusta National.

In seven Masters starts, Justin Rose has never missed a weekend.

He’s a perfect 7-for-7 in making the cut at Augusta National, and since finishing T-39 in his Masters debut in 2003, he hasn’t placed worse than T-36 in six other starts. His best finish was a T-5 showing in 2007, and he was T-8 last year.

“I would say year on year, this is as good a chance as I get (to win a major),” Rose said.

Few players in this year’s field have had more success at Augusta than Rose, at least in terms of ...

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April 9, 2013 | 1:41 p.m.

Luke Donald glad to study Augusta National

Golfweek Staff
Luke Donald and caddie John McLaren during Tuesday practice round for the 2013 Masters in Augusta, Ga.
Luke Donald and caddie John McLaren during Tuesday practice round for the 2013 Masters in Augusta, Ga.

— World No. 4 Luke Donald says he's focusing on – what else at Augusta – his work with the putter.

"What's held me back a little bit this year has been the ability to get the ball in the hole on the greens," said Donald, who has finished among the top 10 in three of his nine Masters. "I've been working hard on that the last couple weeks working on speed, little adjustments in setup, but I think that's a big focus for this week."

Work beside the green also has been a priority.

"I think ...

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Adam Scott talks to the media during a press conference prior to the start of the 2013 Masters.
Adam Scott talks to the media during a press conference prior to the start of the 2013 Masters.

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Adam Scott's struggles in majors were inexplicable considering his standing as a world-class player. He's starting to become a consistent contender in golf's Grand Slam events, though.

"The last couple years have certainly showed dramatic improvement in my results in majors," said Scott, the world's No. 7 player. "I feel like I've got all the boxes ticked and it's down to execution. ... I'd like to think I'm doing the right things and I'm going to get myself in that position again a couple times this year in the big ...

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Rory McIlroy, right, with girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki.
Rory McIlroy, right, with girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki.

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Rory McIlroy played last week's Valero Texas Open to find more competitive "reps" before the year's first major. He'll enter one more competition before the Masters: the Par-3 Contest. Most Masters participants take part in the light-hearted affair on the tournament's eve – even Tiger Woods played the event earlier in his career – so it is not McIlroy's participation, but his caddie selection that will draw attention.

His girlfriend, tennis pro Caroline Wozniacki, will carry the handful of clubs necessary to navigate Augusta National's par-3 course.

Loved ones are usually the loopers on ...

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Jim McCabe
Bubba Watson hits a gap wedge from just over 160 yards out of the straw during the second hole of a sudden-death playoff. Watson would land the improbable shot on the green and he two-putted to win the Masters.
Bubba Watson hits a gap wedge from just over 160 yards out of the straw during the second hole of a sudden-death playoff. Watson would land the improbable shot on the green and he two-putted to win the Masters.

— Yet another example that the Masters is unlike any other tournament: Many players make sure they try and duplicate memorable shots from previous tournaments.

And, yes, you can add Bubba Watson’s unforgettable playoff shot to the very top of the list.

“I’ll look at a new shot on the right-hand trees of 10,” Padraig Harrington said, referencing the area from where Watson hooked a wedged shot some 40 yards to set up his winning play on the second extra hole.

“That’s what you do (when you arrive at Augusta). The first thing you do is ...

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Jim McCabe
Jack Nicklaus speaks to the media during a press conference held during a practice round prior to the 2011 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 5, 2011 in Augusta, Georgia.
Jack Nicklaus speaks to the media during a press conference held during a practice round prior to the 2011 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 5, 2011 in Augusta, Georgia.

— In honor of Azalea, the grandest par 5 of all, an offering of five thoughts, observations, and curiosities:

• It’s becoming an annual affair, these international players having lunch to pick Jack Nicklaus’ brain before the Masters. Charl Schwartzel in 2011, Rory McIlroy last year, Nicolas Colsaerts this year. “We went fast, believe me,” Colsaerts said. Hey, what’s he expect? Free advice shouldn’t be a slow endeavor.

• Hate to break the news to Charlie Beljan and Matt Every, but there’s not much of a demand with anyone, anywhere for their thoughts on how the Masters ...

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Nick Masuda
Forecasts call for clear skies on four of the six days this week, but thunderstorms on Thursday and Friday could wreak havoc at Augusta National.
Forecasts call for clear skies on four of the six days this week, but thunderstorms on Thursday and Friday could wreak havoc at Augusta National.

While successfully predicting the weather even more than 24 hours ahead can be like the odds of winning Powerball, it still won't stop us from looking ahead at the forecasted week at Augusta National.

While the next two days and the weekend look beautiful according to weather.com, we might run into some problems during Rounds 1 and 2. A closer look:

Tuesday: The forecast calls for a high of 83 degrees with light winds of up to 8 mph, with only a 10 percent chance of rain.

Wednesday: Similar to Tuesday, the high will be 84 degrees; winds ...

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Cassie Stein
Charlie Beljan and Mickey Mouse on the 18th green of Magnolia Course after he won the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic.
Charlie Beljan and Mickey Mouse on the 18th green of Magnolia Course after he won the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic.

Six amateurs ranging from 14-year-old Asian Amateur champion Tianlang Guan to 34-year-old U.S. Mid-Amateur champion Nathan Smith, are teeing it up at Augusta this week. Five of the six – Guan, Alan Dunbar (British Amateur champion), Steven Fox (U.S. Amateur champion), T.J. Vogel (U.S. Amateur Public Links champion) and Michael Weaver (U.S. Amateur runner-up) – will be playing for the first time at Augusta National.

On Monday, PGA Tour players Matt Every and Charlie Beljan took to Twitter to express their position on whether amateurs should get to play in the Masters.

“Masters should have one amateur ...

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