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This year’s Masters is going to be decidedly less colorful than what we are used to and it will be the strongest evidence yet disproving what may be the strangest myth in golf.
According to John Strege of Golf Digest, the azaleas at Augusta National have already started to bloom thanks to an unusually warm spring.
This is going to be a problem for the Masters, which is still five weeks away.
The USA National Phenology Network says spring has arrived up to three weeks early in parts of the southeast, and according to one horticulturalist, that will mean fans won’t see the Masters’ famous azaleas during the tournament.
“They’re not going to have any color for the Masters,” Tom Rapp told Golf Digest.
— Chris Gay (@AUG_ChrisGay) February 20, 2017
The Masters usually gets lucky and almost always has the azaleas in bloom for the tournament. They have been so lucky in fact, that some believe the groundskeepers go to unusual lengths to make sure the flowers bloom at the right time each spring.
It is known as “The ice theory.”
According to John Boyette of the Augusta Chronicle, the ice theory has been around for decades. It says that the groundskeepers pack the azaleas with ice to trick them into not blooming early.
Boyette spoke with a local horticulturalist in 2012, who pointed out several big holes in the theory, not the least of which are that ice has a habit of melting when it is warm and that the golf course is really big and has a lot of azalea plants.
Still, sometimes people need to actually see evidence to the contrary. They might get it this year.