By Kit Alexander, Features Writer
Tuesday 5 April
I arrived late last night (Monday) and it was hard to really get a feel for the place in the dark, but just knowing you're in Augusta in Masters week is a very special feeling.
However, I didn't wake up to the clear blue skies and 30 degrees I was expecting. My first night in America was stormy. So stormy that I opened my eyes to a power cut and tree debris everywhere.
One of the 100-foot tall Magnolia trees on Magnolia Lane was even blown down, amongst a few other trees on the course itself, but in true Masters fashion, the repairs were quickly done and perfection was restored.
Most of this first day was spent attending press conferences. Tiger Woods, Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer and Graeme McDowell all came and went but it is Phil Mickelson's press conference that will stick in my mind.
He spoke with refreshing candour and inspiring passion about his "favourite week of the year". His revelations about carrying two drivers and sacrificing a 4-iron gave genuine insight into the mindset and thinking of one of the most likeable golfers on Tour.
In the 30 minutes between Phil and Tiger I took the opportunity to visit the clubhouse for the first time. I just strolled in and was immediately mingling with the players.
Ross Fisher, Dustin Johnson and Camilo Villegas were sat chatting to each other having a bite to eat, Edoardo Molinari and his coach Denis Pugh were hanging around, and I was right in the middle of it all.
That's one of the beautiful things I've noticed about this place. Whilst Augusta is one of the most exclusive golf clubs and the Masters one of the most exclusive tournaments on the planet, once you're inside there is a very relaxed and friendly feeling.
When I did venture out onto the course in the afternoon it was all a bit surreal. After watching and writing about these 18 iconic and hallowed holes for many years it was almost overwhelming to actually be on them.
I could talk about so much more but I've written too much already, so I'm off to the clubhouse for a swift drink before dinner. Bring on the Par 3 Tournament...
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