Ernie Els

For many, the first hole at the Masters is the greatest challenge

For many, the first hole at the Masters is the greatest challenge

It was a hole of misses, groans, more misses, more groans and eventually, as muttering players departed for the next tee, sympathetic clapping.

If the No. 1 hole at Augusta National Golf Club could talk, it would have chuckled, perhaps using a pun to declare: “I won.”

It played the toughest of the 18 Masters holes Friday, yielding a mere three birdies and averaging 4.634 strokes.

What made it so difficult?

“You should go out there and watch it,” snapped Ernie Els, normally jovial.

I did, the reporter replied.

Suffice to say, Els made a bogey five.

William McGirt could relate. The hole was at its most brutal early Friday morning, when a chilly wind...

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