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Players looking forward to ‘pure golf’

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They are just a couple of aspects which marks the Masters from the other majors or tournaments on the PGA or European Tours

Tiger Woods of the US says he enjoys playing at Augusta because there are so few distractions. Picture: EPA Tannen Maury

There will roars around the greens of the Augusta National when a golfer sinks a birdie or an eagle putt, but what there won’t be is the ringing of a cellphone or thousands of fans taking photos as a player makes a shot.

Cellphones and cameras are banned on the course at the prestigious club with its invited members. Oh, and don’t call those spectators fans. The tens of thousands who will be following the likes of Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy this week are officially known as patrons.

They are just a couple of aspects which marks the Masters from the other majors or tournaments on the PGA or European Tours.

There are one or two other rules and regulations to follow – no running, for example, and no “inside the ropes” procedure in which friends, family or media representatives can trail in the wake of a round of golfers.

And scoreboards which hark back to a time when golfers were wearing plus fours

The players like it that way for a change.

“It’s pure golf. It’s just player and caddie out there playing,” Tiger Woods said.

Last year’s winner Patrick Reed said of the club traditions: “I think for me, it’s a place that you feel you can get away.”

Everything’s “so much in the fast lane” it is good to “get back to what golf is,” he said.

“It’s the fans coming out and experiencing such a perfect golf course, being able to actually watch golf. Not sit there and try to take photos or video people as they are hitting golf shots.

“So they actually get to experience it,” he added.

Three-time major winner Brooks Koepka said the course allowed patrons to get close to the players and focus on the play, with the rule on cellphones a positive.

“I mean, no cellphones. I always like no cellphones. You don’t have to deal with text messages, nothing. It’s nice to put it away for a bit,” he said.

“It’s nice, isn’t it?” said Woods to the observation that the Masters could see the biggest gathering of people on earth with no phones.

And the lack of the distraction of having followers inside the ropes is also an additional plus point for the 14-time major winner. Some events like the Open Championship on older, smaller courses mean there is not a lot of room, with “sometimes 75 to 100 people inside the ropes following us.”

That “gets a little distracting and it gets a little difficult at times,” Woods said.

But at the Masters “it’s just us playing, and you see some of the greatest golf you’ve ever seen here. I think that’s one of the reasons why.”

dpa