It heats up on Day 3 at Augusta...

Blue skies, sunshine and I'm on cloud nine

The par-3 tournament brings a very different atmosphere to the previous two practice days, perhaps you see the players peel back a layer or two of their tournament toughness as you see them venture onto Augusta's par-3 course with their family and friends. The main stories on the caddying front was McIlroy's choice of One Direction star Niall Horan and Tiger Woods opting for a duo in Sam and Charlie, his children.

So, whilst I'm enjoying the Augusta sunshine, just trying to take in what an amazing place this is and how I need to wangle a trip back here next year with some friends (my Dad has already booked his trip for 2016 after my glowing reviews!), my day gets just a little bit better. Picture me if you will, the biggest golf fan you'll ever meet, sitting in Augusta National, finding it hard to believe my day could get much better when I hear a the roars at Augusta are a little different to a normal tournament, I can't explain how or why but the ampitheatres around the greens or the mature pines which frame many of the holes provide some sort of sound amplifier...this roar was of course the icing on the cake for me as 6-time Masters Champion Jack Nicklaus had claimed his first ever hole in one at Augusta, acing the par-3 (no surprise there on the par-3 course!) 4th hole. Whilst it wasn't even in the competitive tournament it was safe to say that memory is one that will live on with me for a golfing lifetime.

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Before Jack did all was my morning

Having bypassed the colossal queue to get into the merchandise store next to the clubhouse on arrival, I decided to try and get out onto the back nine and see some early action. And then I walked into another crowd of Masters patrons who were hushed with anticipation. Craning to see over the many Masters cap peaks and I saw the reason for the mini scrum: Tiger Walking down the 10th fairway alongside Jordan Spieth - a classic snapshot of old guard and new. And a little microcosm of the week, perhaps: can Tiger still be relevant, or will the likes of Spieth consign him to Major Championship history? I can't wait to find out.

Woods and the pretender were part of a three-ball rounded out by Ben Crenshaw. Gentle Ben, he of the famously smooth putting stroke, is a sentimental favourite here; who could forget his emotional 1995 victory? This, for me, was a super example of why the practice days can be so rewarding - what a unique and intriguing group to follow.

Impressive golf from every angle

Cutting around the back of the 10th green and skirting the penultimate putting surface, I happened upon Bjorn and Illonen launching a Nordic assault on the 15th green. What a frightening prospect that second shot is for an amateur but apparently not so for these two. I wouldn't be too surprised to see one or both of those in contention this week.

Next stop (via a ham and cheese on rye and an iced tea) was the corner of 2, 3 and 4, a slice of the course that isn't much seen in the TV coverage. The short 4th is a beautifully presented par-3, where I saw Charl Schwartzel very nearly hole-in-one.

My only fear with my commentary thus far is that I might not do this experience justice, perhaps at times like these it is best just to keep it simple and say I'll be back next year and for as many years as possible after that.

Jack Nicklaus at The Masters

  • 1 shot needed at the par-3 4th hole measuring 130 yards
  • Aged just 23 when he won his first Green Jacket (1963)
  • Whilst it wasn't a win, it is my favourite Masters moment for Jack. In 1998, aged 58, Nicklaus finished in a tie for 6th (beating defending champion Tiger Woods by 2 shots)