Today, Augusta is the story

Jim Furyk tosses a ball to his caddie after hitting into Rae's Creek in front of the 13th green...

Jim Furyk tosses a ball to his caddie after hitting into Rae's Creek in front of the 13th green during a practice round at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Ga., April 2, 2012. (MIKE SEGAR/Reuters)

JON McCARTHY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:05 PM ET

AUGUSTA, GA. - I am standing behind the 16th green at Augusta. You know the hole.

Itís the site of Tigerís ďIN YOUR LIFEĒ chip.

Itís where Jack Nicklausís dream comeback became more than a dream.

Should I be here right now? Not a chance!

Itís 6:30 p.m. on Monday and I havenít written a single word. But I donít care.

Letís back it up a bit.

After a late night, an early flight, a car rental snafu, a drive to Augusta that included a traffic jam and a wardrobe change into golf-appropriate clothing in a waffle house restroom, I arrived at the course late afternoon and marched directly to the Press Room.

One of the sad realities of being a golf writer is you actually spend most of your time indoors in front of your computer. The free food is the saving grace.

Armed with transcripts from the dayís interviews and a media package, I had more than enough information at my disposal to write 10 columns.

But my attention kept getting drawn to the window. Because on the other side of the window it was 30 degrees and sunny. More importantly, on the other side of the window was Augusta National. So I decided to take a 10 minute stroll before getting started.

That was two hours ago.

Right now Iím still at the 16th hole trying to figure out how I could hit a sand shot out of this back bunker to a downhill green with the water on the other side. The two guys mowing the green remind me of the speed of the putting surface.

The shot seems nearly impossible; the nerves that would go with it if you had to hit it while in contention on Sunday seem unimaginable.

I turn and walk through the pine straw and trees back in the direction of the clubhouse. I take note that there is plenty of daylight here in the trees. This must be why after errant tee shots we have seen so many miracle recoveries. I remember Phil two years ago or replays of Seve 30 years ago.

The Masters has always seemed larger than life and Augusta National seems the same way.

Everything is big... bigger than you think.

The elevation changes are the most dramatic. Television commentators often point out that TV doesnít do the terrain justice and they are right. These arenít just undulations, they are hills ó big hills!

Itís easy to see how stamina can play a factor on Sunday afternoon. Practising for the extreme sidehill lies found at Augusta must be difficult unless you are practising at Augusta. There arenít many courses where you could find similar conditions.

When Bobby Jones envisioned Augusta National he saw players hitting drivers off the tee, so he and Alister MacKenzie made immense fairways.

Late Monday afternoon, with few fans and no players left on the golf course, Augusta seems massive. Most of the activity on the course is the grounds crew. The hum of mowers and tractors are constant.

Walking across the second fairway I stop and watch a procession of 11 mowers driving uphill from the green back toward the tee. With the sun shining through the trees behind them, they looked like a row of ducklings crossing the street. Who would have thought the noise from 11 engines could seem so peaceful.

Once they pass I continue on my way. To my left thereís a family posing for a photo, to my right is a man on the ground taking a close-up of the grass.

In the distance there is a gathering of fans at the practice green so I wander over.

Bernhard Langer and Mark Wilson are hard at work chipping and putting. I watch for a second but quickly move on.

As the week goes on there will be no shortage of golfers to write about.

The players will be the story soon enough. Today the golf course is the story, and what a story it is.


Photos