After a spectacular first day from the 79th Masters at Augusta National Golf Club, here are the five biggest surprises from Round 1:
5. Fred Couples
Why?: The 7-over 79 that Couples shot on Thursday was his worst opening round at the Masters since he shot a 78 in 1996. It should be noted, though, that the 1992 Masters champ bounced back to finish T15 in '96.
That said, rough starts aren't the norm for Couples -- even in his 50s.
The last time the 55-year-old was over par after the first round of the Masters was when he shot a 1-over 73 in 2009. That's also the last time he missed the cut -- one of just two missed cuts in his illustrious Masters career (he also missed in 2008).
4. Ernie Els
Why?: There are few people at Augusta National who have experienced that "bridesmaid" feeling more often than Els. Six top-10 finishes -- including runner-up twice -- and not a win to show for it for the four-time major winner. And he just wants it so bad.
This year, Els came in with pretty much nothing momentum-wise. Outside of a T13 in the Arnold Palmer Invitational, it's been a rough season for the Big Easy.
In his seven starts, he's missed the cut four times. But, Augusta National is one of those magical places that can bring out the best in certain players no matter the state of their game prior to arrival.
Els is one of those players.
The South African shot a splendid 5-under 67 with just two bogeys, including one on the last hole. Believe it or not, it was the first time Els has recorded a Masters opening round in the 60s in 21 starts. His previous low was a 2-under 70. He was three shots better on Thursday.
Els was a surprise winner at the 2012 Open Championship. It had been 10 years between major wins. Can he be a surprise winner again this week?
It sure would be special.
3. Charley Hoffman
Why?: Well, shooting anything under par during the Masters is fantastic, but Hoffman's 5-under 67 gave him the early lead (he would wind up three behind first-round leader Jordan Spieth). And that just capped off a great day. Hoffman was in the first group off Thursday morning with Brian Harman.
That means he was in just the right place at just the right time to watch three legends -- Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player -- hit the ceremonial opening tee shots. As Hoffman was hitting balls on the range alongside Nicklaus, he even got the Golden Bear and Palmer (he just missed Player) to sign a few Masters flags for his charitable foundation.
So, in short, Hoffman's day began by watching three Masters legends tee off and then he went out and played like one.
2. Jordan Spieth
Why?: Well, because his round Thursday -- until the bogey on No. 15 -- was as close to videogame-like as you can get. With his poise, confidence and tremendous ability lately, it's nearly impossible to belief that he's just 21 years old.
Spieth, one year removed from that runner-up finish in his Masters debut, fired an 8-under 64 -- one off the Augusta National course record -- to take the first-round lead by three shots.
Is it a surprise that he's in the lead? Not really. He's been the best player on Tour the last several weeks. His last three starts, in order, go: win, runner-up, runner-up. Spieth came into Augusta National red-hot. The surprise here is that not only did he live up to the expectations of a favorite, but he may have even exceeded them.
In five rounds in the Masters, all five have been sub-par for Spieth. Just so much precision and in such control at a place where he really shouldn't have any business feeling so comfortable just yet. He feels like he belongs and he's playing like it.
Still, there are 54 holes left to be played. Not since Trevor Immelman in 2008 has the player with the lead or share of the first-round lead gone on to win the Masters.
1. Tom Watson
Why?: The 65-year-old, two-time Masters champion, shot a 1-under 71 -- just the third time since finishing fourth in 1997 that Watson has broken par at Augusta National. And, even better, he made an 8-footer on the final hole to close it out.
Until Thursday's 71, Watson hadn't broken par at the Augusta National since a stunning 5-under 67 at age 60 in the opening round of the 2010 Masters.
Not surprisingly, Watson was pleased with his efforts: