In a word: Awful.
I can’t speak precisely for Augusta National, but I can report I’m having my worst azalea blooming period in over twenty years. It’s staggeringly bad.
I’m no expert on the topic, but I’ll do the best I can to describe what to expect. There are many types of azaleas, but I personally categorize them into two. Hedge-like plants with small blossoms (like, I think, those behind the No. 12 green), and bigger-leafed, and generally bigger, plants with big blossoms (like those behind No. 13 green). The little ones bloom first; it’s not unusual for my little ones to be gone come Masters Week. The big ones come later, and mine usually last just past Masters Sunday.
This year, my small ones already came and went, and have been gone for a while now. My big ones are in nice bloom — except… Only about ten percent of any given area has blooms, the others wiped out by the short cold snap. (It wasn’t really even a cold snap; it’s more that the plants bloomed particularly early this year.)
I had one area where I thought the blooming had been late enough to miss the cold spell. Now I think I lost those entire plants.
So here’s my prediction. No. 12 will be flowerless. No. 13 (and therefore most of the rest of the course, as I believe that is the predominant species at Augusta National) will have a few splashes of flowers amid 90-percent flowerless green leaves.
Again, I can’t speak specifically for the old Fruitland Nursery, but those are my expectations.
But, hey, the azaleas are just icing on the cake. What about the cake itself? In another word: Soggy. Rain expected on a couple of tournament days. Oh, well, they have missed weather forecasts in the past; maybe they’ll miss again this year. Plus, Rory’s known as a soft-course specialist…