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Former Georgia Bulldogs ready for some home-cooking at Masters

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AUGUSTA, Ga. – For most golfers in the 2021 Masters field, the inclusion of fans this April signifies a return of roars. For Bubba Watson, however, he’s anticipating a more specific applause.

“With the fans here it’s going to be a different feel, more excitement, more energy,” said the 2012 and 2014 champion. “We’re going to hear a lot more ‘Go Dawgs.’ ”

Watson is one of six former University of Georgia golfers in the field, joining Kevin KisnerBrendon ToddBrian HarmanHudson Swafford and Harris English.

Watson played a practice round Sunday with Bryson DeChambeau and Augusta National Golf Club member Condoleezza Rice, and noted the firmness of the course. Bubba singled out the 17th hole, saying, “Gosh, 17 right now, a couple chip shots that were just – you can hear it.  The ball just doesn’t have the check that we’re used to.”

For Todd, the former UGA standout began Monday by pushing his three children on a swing at their Augusta rental home before playing a practice round with Danny Willett. Todd was the final player to leave the 18th green Monday afternoon.

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“I was pushing my kids on the swing and I looked up at those Georgia pines and thought, ‘Man, this feels like home,’ ” Todd said.

This is Todd’s third appearance at Augusta National. After failing to make the cut in 2015 and 2020, he is confident in his form this April.

“I’m definitely getting more comfortable around here,” Todd said. “No question. This course is playing fast right now, which is different than my first two times. In (2015 and 2020) we got some rain, so this year could be different.”

Kisner echoed Todd’s statement.

“This is my first time over here since January and it’s a lot different than November,” the Aiken, South Carolina, native said. “It’s going to be pretty spicy. If they keep progressing the conditions, I think we’re in for a big weekend.”

Kisner missed the cut in November, and in five previous trips to Augusta National, he has never cracked the top 20. When asked about his chances this week, Kisner said, “I’d love it if that thunderstorm stays away. And if they start mowing down towards the green, that would be a lot easier. The greens are pure. They’re as fast and as firm as I’ve seen them in a long time.”

Kisner teamed up with Harman on Monday for a friendly round against Swafford and English. Kisner and Harman lost the match 1 down.

For Kisner, the round was largely spent assisting his former mates on the ins and outs of Augusta National. This marks Harman’s first Masters invite since 2018, while Swafford and English haven’t competed since 2017 and 2016, respectively.

“I hadn’t realized a lot of those guys hadn’t been here in a number of years,” Kisner said. “They were picking my brain pretty good. I was the elder statesman out there, which was a little bit weird.”

original article link https://golfweek.usatoday.com/2021/04/07/six-former-georgia-bulldogs-masters/

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