Fewer blooms doesn’t lessen Masters experience for patrons

An unseasonably warm winter and recent hard freeze means patrons aren’t seeing the wall of color sometimes associated with the Masters Tournament.

“We were way ahead of a typical winter transitioning into spring,” said Campbell Vaughn, the University of Georgia county extension agent for Augusta. “Everything was super early, then we just got a brutal cold.”

The unusual temperatures mean many azaleas and other flowering species have seen their flowers come and go, although some that were protected from the extreme temperatures still have blooms this week, he said.

PHOTOS: Augusta In Bloom - 2016

The cold snap didn’t affect many area dogwoods, which peaked a week and a half ago and continue to show blooms, Vaughn said.

The missing flowers didn’t lessen the Masters experience for patrons Monday.

“Having the flowers not bloom is not a game changer,” said Will Kelly, a project manager from Tuscaloosa, Ala. “If this place can’t get flowers to bloom, no one can.”

Rob Collins snapped photos of Amen Corner, where the usual sea of pinks, fuchsias and reds was replaced by intermittent spots of color. He took photos up close of azaleas lining an Augusta National walkway, where the blooms remained intact.

The missing blooms are “all part of the atmosphere and part of what makes this the holy ground,” but “it’s not going to dampen my experience here,” said Collins, of Kansas City, Mo.

An Augusta couple, Chap and Lindsey Sweat, felt similarly.

“It doesn’t look the same, but it’s still gorgeous,” Chap Sweat said.

“It’s still a good experience, but not the regular experience,” Lindsey Sweat said.

Will azaleas be in bloom during Masters Week?