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Mickelson says firm Augusta layout will command players’ respect

The course set-up for this week’s Masters is shaping up to be fast and firm, a stark contrast from last November and one that three-times champion Phil Mickelson says will command respect. Much is often made of Augusta National’s fast, undulating greens, which during practice rounds this week have been much harder and faster than last year when soft conditions allowed players to fire at flagsticks without much fear of consequence. “I would say for the last decade, the greens here are in the top 25 percent of softest we play on tour, and the golf course’s only defence is the greens, right,” Mickelson said on Tuesday in his pre-tournament news conference.