Masters still a thrill

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    AUGUSTA, Georgia. — The rush that comes with a first-time appearance at the Masters remains sweet despite the COVID-19 pandemic altering just about everything about the major championship this year, players said on Monday.

    Amateur Andy Ogletree said he would savor the experience even in the absence of fans from the tournament, which was moved from April to November because of the pandemic and starts on Thursday.

    “It’s obviously been a crazy time,” the 22-year-old American told reporters on Monday.

    “A lot of people have lost a lot. I know my problems are a lot smaller than a lot of people’s problems.

    “I’m not going to take this week for granted.”

    To maintain social distancing, the tradition of amateurs like Ogletree staying at the famed Crow’s Nest in Augusta National’s clubhouse has been altered, with the players’ taking turns.

    “I am going to stay on Wednesday night after the amateur dinner,” he said.

    “I’ll stay up there before the first round, and if it’s opened another night, I might try to stay there again.”

    Ogletree, who won the 2019 US Amateur Championship, is aiming to become the first amateur to win the tournament.