AUGUSTA, Ga. – Already seven months behind schedule because of the pandemic, the most unusual Masters was 30 minutes old Thursday when the silence was interrupted by a rumble down by Amen Corner.
No roars this week. Just thunder. And then a weather delay of nearly three hours.
All that, and it was still worth the wait.
Paul Casey matched his lowest score at the Masters with a 7-under 65, giving him a two-shot lead among half the field fortunate to play in perfect scoring conditions. Tiger Woods matched his lowest start, a 68, and kept a bogey-free card in a major for the first time in 11 years.
The course was different than what they expected, a result of the rain and the calendar. The silence was exactly what they expected because majors haven't had spectators in 16 months.
But it was still the Masters.
“So many people like myself are just excited to play this,” Casey said. “This is a treat. It always has been and always will be a real treat.”
No doubt, the absence of roars was as eerie as the sound of a drone that approached the first tee as Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player prepared to hit their ceremonial tee shots. The Masters is using two drones this year, a first.