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April 05, 2011

Azinger won't be one-dimensional on Masters telecast

Posted at 2:19 PM by Gary Van Sickle | Categories: Augusta National, Masters, Paul Azinger

Augusta, Ga. -- Just sat next to Paul Azinger in the back of the interview room when Phil Mickelson came in. It's a rare sight to see TV folks doing their homework and mixing with us print scum. Azinger had a folder and tablet on which he took notes -- a whole page of them. Kudos to Golf Channel's Frank Nobilo, standing in the back, and Rich Lerner and Jennifer Mills, sitting mid-room. They're serious about this stuff.

Azinger is here to work as an analyst for ESPN's 3D channel. He'll be working all four days, plus the par-3 contest on Wednesday. He's paired with Terry Gannon the first two rounds and veteran Mike Tirico the last two -- "Because Mike doesn't have enough to do," Azinger said with a laugh.

The first thing he's going to do, Azinger joked, was throw a fist toward the camera to emphasize the 3D effect. Seriously, you've got to have 3D glasses just to watch this telecast.

"It's probably going to be a small audience," Azinger said. "I don't know, but I would think that's true because 3D is so new. But I don't care how big the audience is, I'm looking forward to working the last two hours on Saturday and Sunday. That's going to be exciting."

Mickelson, by the way, talked about visiting Augusta a few times for practice rounds in the past month. I asked him if he'd been coerced into trying his famous second shot from the pine needles at the 13th hole again.

"I didn't see any need," Mickelson said with a smile. "I've already done that."

He got a big laugh from the room. I whispered to Azinger, "Five bucks says he did hit it again."

Azinger turned his head and whispered back, "I guarantee it."

I gave him one last tip for 3D. When you first appear on camera for the opening shot, leave the 3D glasses on for effect. It'll be cool. He said he'd think about it.

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