Azaleas blooming early at Augusta ahead of Masters
Famous feature of year's first major could be absent
The azaleas at Augusta National are as much a part of the Masters as green jackets and Amen Corner.
Indeed it’s one of golf’s most glorious sights – great swathes of one of the world’s most famous courses bedecked in a dazzling array of colors.
But that beautiful backdrop to the year’s first major could look a little barren this time around, due to an unseasonal stint of warm weather in Georgia.
Spring’s early arrival has seen temperatures regularly peaking into the mid-80s Fahrenheit in Augusta, and the flowers have bloomed early.
A reporter at the local Augusta Chronicle offered up some pictorial evidence of this potential blow to Augusta’s aesthetics.
The tournament isn’t due to start for another six weeks, on April 6, but the warm weather is predicted to continue for the next 10 days at least.
All of which means there could be a little less color around the greens and fairways by the time defending champion Danny Willett, from England, tees it up.
And as for the rumors that Augusta National uses ice to try and delay the flowers’ blooming – that has been debunked more times than there are bunkers on the course.
But even if the azaleas aren’t at their best, the course will still be in pristine condition. As English golfer Ian Poulter once said: “It’s like being in the most perfect picture that has ever been painted.”