THE MASTERS 2014

  10 - 13 April

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The Masters: Jamie Donaldson blown away by Augusta after first practice round

Last Updated: 10/04/13 5:28pm

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Jamie Donaldson (R) picks up some tips during Justin Rose during a practice round at Augusta

Jamie Donaldson (R) picks up some tips during Justin Rose during a practice round at Augusta

Until Monday, Jamie Donaldson's only experience of Augusta had been from watching on television or playing it on a video game.

But the Welshman now fully understands why the first major championship of the year inspires such a mixture of fear and devotion from the world's best players.

"It's incredible, better than what you can imagine. It's amazing," Donaldson said after his first practice round alongside Justin Rose and Ian Poulter. "It's a beautiful, stunning golf course.

"I was bending the ear of Ian and Justin because they've played here many times and there are some holes that are musts in terms of where to hit it, where not to hit it. I've got plenty of things written down.

"It's a tough golf course and the putting is brutal. You've got to be in the right places otherwise you have no chance. It's like putting on the roof of a house. They are really quick and the lads reckon they're not even up to speed yet."

The slopes and mounds of Augusta, which are flattened out on television, caught Donaldson's eye, but the Welshman reckons his home course of Macclesfield is hillier.

And winning on a tough golf course is nothing new to the 37-year-old world number 33, who won his second European Tour title in Abu Dhabi this year as Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy failed to make the halfway cut.

Up and down form

"My form has been up and down," continued Donaldson, who missed the cut at last week's Valero Texas Open.

"It's a tough golf course and the putting is brutal. You've got to be in the right places otherwise you have no chance. It's like putting on the roof of a house."
Jamie Donaldson

"I've won this year on a very difficult golf course but apart from that I've not really played that great, so we are due a good week and it would be very nice if it was here."

Donaldson lost his European Tour card in 2006 after discovering a bad back was in fact a broken vertebra caused by too much practice, so he has better reason than most for attempting to treat only his fifth ever major appearance as just another tournament.

"I arrived on Sunday night and will practice Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday," added Donaldson, who was seventh in the USPGA Championship last year.

"I won't be doing anything different from any other event. It's a massive golf tournament with incredible history but I won't be preparing any differently than I would for a standard event. I have my rules on prep and how I go about things and I'll be true to them.

"I used to practise until the cows came home and over the years it took its toll. With rest and rehab I'm in a different position. I don't practise as much these days, but get more out of it. It's knowing what to do through experience."

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