Keep that card
Ernie Els: The Big Easy was all smiles with daughter Samantha on the bag for Wednesday’s par-3 contest, and the good vibes continued into Round 1 of the Masters. Els, twice a runner-up at Augusta, shot a 5-under 67 for his lowest opening round in a major since the 2012 British Open (he won). This is Els’ 21st Masters; he trails 21-year-old Jordan Spieth by three.
Toss that card
Miguel Angel Jimenez: One of the biggest stories of last year’s Masters after a career-best fourth-place finish closed the book on this year’s event quickly. Jimenez birdied the par-3 ninth hole and turned in even par but played holes 10-15 in 7 over. The 50-year-old hasn’t missed the cut at Augusta since 2003, but he’ll need a stellar Friday to keep that streak intact.
On the course with ...
Tiger Woods: While plenty of players went low, Woods struggled to a 1-over 73 on Thursday, failing to take advantage of the prime scoring conditions. There were plenty of promising shots — particularly in his short game — but a wild drive at No. 9 wound up in the adjacent first fairway, and he struck a pine tree with his second shot, leading to a bogey. “Two dumb mistakes,” Woods said.
There’s no running allowed at Augusta National Golf Club, but apparently barking is no problem. Those would actually be cheers for Russell Henley, who turned in a 4-under 68 Thursday. Henley is a native of Macon, Ga., about a two-hour drive from Augusta. He played his college golf at Georgia, where fans of the Bulldogs are known for barking and shouting, “How ‘Bout Them Dawgs!” Henley gave them plenty to cheer about with a round that included five birdies and only one slip-up, a bogey at the 11th.
• Two-time winner Ben Crenshaw, 63, struggled from his opening tee shot, capping off his round with a triple-bogey 7 on the last hole for a 91 that was one of the highest scores ever recorded in the Masters.
• Tom Watson, 65, tied defending champion Bubba Watson and world No. 1 Rory McIlroy with a 1-under 71.
• Spieth’s red-hot start is impresive, but keep this in mind: Not since Trevor Immelman in 2008 has the Round 1 leader gone on to wear the green jacket.
Par-5, 570-yard No. 8: Spieth got up-and-down from just off the green for a birdie, the start of a string of six birdies in seven holes on his way to an opening 64.
Quote of the day
“I hit it bad, I putted bad and I made bad decisions. Other than that, it was great.”
— 1987 Masters champion Larry Mize after his 6-over 78.
Tweet of the day
“Tiger has had a lot of 4-letter body language.”
— Augusta Chronicle sports columnist @ScottMichaux.
It’s cutdown day. The top 50 plus ties (and anyone within 10 shots of the lead) will stick around for the weekend. ESPN has coverage beginning at 2 p.m.