There are only four competitive tournament days at the Masters, but the entire week at Augusta has become a spectacle. The pre-tournament traditions -- champions dinner, par-3 content, ceremonial tee shot -- get increased publicity and coverage each year. But another huge part of the practice round days is the traditional "skip it" routine at the par-3 16th, where players slam their tee shots off the pond and (hopefully) up onto the green.
We've still got a day to go, but the best shot I've seen so far was from Dustin Johnson, a member of that powerhouse foursome, which included Phil Mickelson, Rickie Fowler, and Jason Dufner, that went out on Tuesday. Here's a cool photo of the group at the 16th from Golf.com's Jeff Ritter:
Here's Mickelson skipping one across the pond today on 16 as Dufner, DJ and Fowler wait their turn. pic.twitter.com/CJuKZKFYsM— Jeff Ritter (@Jeff_Ritter) April 8, 2014
And here's a less cool vine of Johnson's shot up onto the putting surface:
That's not a bad attempt, but not nearly the best we've seen over the years during this game.
Jordan Spieth compared the practice rounds at Augusta to the "back nine" at a regular tournament, with galleries a couple rows deep. Most of those fans post up at the 16th, hoping for a hole-in-one and couple intrepid "patrons" have caught it on video. Here's an ace from Martin Kaymer, the German who can't figure out how to play Augusta normally, back in 2012:
And here's a view from behind the tee of Vijay Singh firing one off the water and into the hole in 2009. Singh, known as a frosty character, didn't exactly erupt in celebration, and just kept walking up to the green around the pond.
Again, just one of those things that makes the Masters cooler than any other event of the year, and that's before a tournament round is even played.
The only way this exercise could be better is if Verne Lundquist, whose traditional post is now up at the 16th green for CBS, were around to chortle and call out some of these attempts.