1. The new chairman
Fred Ridley remains the last U.S. Amateur champion to never turn pro, so long before he became an Augusta National member there was an obvious fascination with the great amateur golfer, Bobby Jones.
Ridley never met Jones, but he did try to learn as much about him as possible, something that now serves him even better as this week he became the seventh chairman in Augusta National and Masters history.
Jones retired from competitive golf at age 28 not long after winning the Grand Slam in 1930. Soon after, the Atlanta lawyer founded Augusta National, along with its first chairman, Clifford Roberts. The club opened in 1932, the first Masters was played in 1934 and there remains a strong effort to run the club and the tournament with those two men in mind.
"I view my role as chairman as a custodian," Ridley said during a conference call in conjunction with him taking over from Billy Payne. "It's not something that I own. It's not something that I possess. And that's because the only legacy that matters here is the legacy of Mr. Jones and Mr. Roberts.
"They are the ones that established the mandate of constant improvement, which is going to drive me and my goals as chairman of the club, and I feel that if I follow that mandate, I'll be in a position when my time is over to pass this honor on to my successor even stronger than it is today. That's my goal, and that's what I think Mr. Jones and Mr. Roberts would expect."
Like Jones, Ridley played on the U.S. Walker Cup team and later became an attorney. He works for the law firm of Foley & Lardner in Tampa and at age 65 plays to a 3.4 handicap index out of the two clubs where he is listed, Palma Ceia and Old Memorial.
2. Augusta National, the course
As a former accomplished player -- and for 11 years heading up the Masters competition committees -- Ridley is viewed as a chairman who will take keen interest in the golf course with a nod toward the elite players who compete in the first major championship every year.
Not much occurred during the 11-year tenure of Payne as it related to the course itself; much of Payne's time was spent securing land around the property and opening a state-of-the-art driving range, among many other tasks.
So now it would seem to fall to Ridley to make any changes. And he will be keeping Jones in mind.
"As it relates to the golf course, what I think that means is to look at the design philosophy that I have come to understand from reading about the history of Augusta National and the design philosophy of Bobby Jones and (course designer) Alister MacKenzie, and that is that and Jones spoke mostly about this, but that he believed that strategy and skill were equal components in how the golf course should be played," Ridley said.
"What I think we should do, and what we have done over the years, is to go back to that philosophy and think about what do we need to do to make sure that we are true to the principles that Jones and MacKenzie established at the beginning."
3. Possible changes
There are a few obvious places where Augusta National might make changes to the 7,435-yard course. Land has been purchased behind the 12th green and 13th tee, which would allow for the lengthening of the 510-yard 13th. With the move of Berckmans Road, which bordered the property, there is more space to possibly make changes to the par-3 No. 4 or par-4 No. 5.
Ridley did not discuss any specifics, but it is obvious he won't be going back on some of the changes made under Hootie Johnson in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Among the controversial moves Johnson made were to plant numerous trees, specifically at the 11th and 15th holes.
"I think that time has proved that those were very wise decisions," Ridley said. "So, we do have some opportunities and some things we need to look at ... we haven't made any decisions by any means, and I don't know what those decisions are going to be right now. But I will tell you that we will take whatever action, whatever course of action is necessary to protect the integrity of Augusta National golf course."
4. Bad luck
New Zealander Ryan Fox had the unfortunate occurrence of someone running off with his ball at the Italian Open, leading to a penalty. Unfortunately, it could not be determined that it was the likely scenario, so his ball was treated as lost. He had to go back to the tee, taking a one-stroke penalty, and hit again.
Fox, obviously, was none too happy.
5. A different philosophy
Pat Perez has rebounded strongly from shoulder surgery that he felt might curtail his career. Now 41, Perez has won twice in the past year, including his victory Sunday at the CIMB Classic. Other than having to change his schedule to include the Tournament of Champions in Hawaii, Perez will stick with his plan.
"I'm not going to change anything," he said. "I'm still not going to work out. I'll still have a bad diet and I'm going to enjoy myself. I've got my group of friends and that kind of stuff. I'm really not going to change anything. ... I'm just taking it a day at a time, I really am. That's all I'm doing. I don't get ahead of myself; I don't look in the past. I'm just kind of doing it."
6. Sergio, now and then
7. Big money in South Korea
They are not messing around in South Korea. The inaugural CJ Cup @ Nine Bridges kicks off Thursday with a purse of $9.25 million -- which is $2.25 million more than last week's purse at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia. The winner will receive $1.665 million, which is more than any of the World Golf Championship events or FedEx Cup playoff events. Only the four majors and the Players Championship pay more.
8. But Kooch is in Japan
Matt Kuchar is skipping the CJ Cup to play in the Bridgestone Open on the Japan Golf Tour -- where there is a much smaller purse. The winner receives just $267,000. So it stands to reason that Kuchar is there as part of his Bridgestone endorsement deal or is getting a hefty appearance fee.
9. Tiger tweets
It was but a single golf swing -- with a driver -- but it sure got plenty of attention when Tiger Woods posted video Sunday after being cleared by his doctors last week to resume full golf activity.