Fiery fairways at Augusta National to provide major test at Masters | Ewan Murray

Dustin Johnson sauntered to victory in November but the soft conditions are gone and the iconic course could show its teeth

A safe distance from the gates of Augusta National, badge selling appears slow. Parting with $600 would secure a practice-day ticket. A Thursday-Sunday package costs between $8,000 and $9,000, depending on the ability to barter. Prices are in tune with any “standard” Masters. If that seems curious given reduced capacity – only 8,000 spectators per day are expected – therein lies a nod to shortages of disposable income. Even ticket touts have to be aware of the economic impact of a pandemic.

Twenty quick weeks have passed since the 84th Masters concluded at a soft, eerie, empty Augusta. Much as those involved tried to deny it, this had the feel of a competition delivered through absolute necessity. It was joyful for Dustin Johnson, but joyless for onlookers.

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