A signature of the Augusta National Golf Club will be missing from the 2012 Masters Tournament. The red, pink and white azaleas have lost their bloom due to an early arrival of Spring, The Associated Press reports.
"I saw them, but it was last week," defending champion Charl Schwartzel said. "I was here a week ago last Thursday, and they were beautiful. But the first thing I thought was, 'They're all going to be gone.' I thought Augusta would be able to do something -- get the fans on them or something. It's weird."
The par 5 13th hole, named "Azalea" for the 1,600 azalea bushes that line the left side of the hole from tee to green, has only a dozen or so bushes in bloom behind the green. The lack of flowers for this year's tournament figures to dispel the myth that Augusta National packs the flowers in ice or keeps them in a greenhouse until Masters week, but they will be missed by fans and broadcast crews alike.
"Everybody would love to see the flowers, and we'd love to have them here," said Lance Barrow, the coordinating producer of CBS Sports, which is televising the Masters for the 57th year. "But we have no control over Mother Nature."