Augusta, Ga.

Good morning from Augusta National, where it’s cloudy and relatively cool.

Today, new Masters Chairman Fred Ridley will hold a press conference. Given that Billy Payne was vociferous and entertaining, we’re expecting a bland event, especially because The Masters is facing no current public-relations challenge.

The Par-3 Tournament will begin at 2 p.m. Central.

I’m planning a column on Justin Thomas and a sidebar on Jordan Spieth for the Thursday paper. For now, a few odds and ends:

-After a perfect, hot day on Tuesday, it’s 67 and overcast right now. Thursday and Friday are supposed to be clear with highs around 80. Rain is expected on Saturday, and the forecast if 65 and cloudy on Sunday.

-My friend Jeff Schultz, who writes a column for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, once did a piece noting that you almost never - maybe never, ever - see a squirrel or a bird at Augusta National. You hear birds, but you don’t see them. We wonder if there are just a lot of hidden speakers piping in the chirps. He quoted a few security guards (anonymously, so they wouldn’t lose their jobs) saying they couldn’t remember seeing squirrels, either.

-John Daly is still doing appearances at the Hooters down Washington Ave. during Masters week, selling memorabilia.

-Augusta National has renovated its golf shop. The products don’t seem to be much different, but the shop is prettier.

-Dustin Johnson can be a terrible interview, but did say this, a year after he was The Masters favorite and injured himself in a fall at his rental house on the eve of the tournament:

Last year, Johnson said his confidence level was at a ``10.’’ This year? ``9 ½,’’ he said. ``I’ve started to swing it a lot better.’’

He’s still ranked first in the world, and has three top-10s and one victory in his last five starts.

-Reminder: The Star Tribune is the only Minnesota media outlet that regularly covers The Masters, which has enabled me to cover the tournament 10 times, and to be here when Minnesota amateur Sammy Schmitz played here two years ago.

-You can find my podcasts, including my recent show with Ryan Shaver on The Masters, at mnspn.com, or on my social media feeds.

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