AUGUSTA, Ga. -- I hate hot Masters. Those were the words of one colleague as we chased around Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy on the second nine Monday afternoon. A thick morning fog gave way to a steamy day as the one-week veil lifted on Augusta National once again. 

The weather certainly didn't deter anyone from coming out. Groups of McIlroy-Johnson and Tiger Woods, Justin Thomas and Fred Couples had everybody buzzing early and often before the course was closed up to patrons in the afternoon on account of weather.

The highlight of the day for me was probably not the same for most others. I loved the crush of people because it's an annual reminder of just how high-strung the tension is the week. When you think you can't take any more of it, it just keeps building to a crescendo until you think you'll buckle under its weight.

We won't know for another week who's going to take this Masters, but that's often not even the fun part. The fun part is the lead into that moment and everything that makes up what should be another awesome 83rd Masters. Here are a few notes and thoughts from Monday.

  • D.J. made an albatross on No. 15 right after I walked away from his pairing. It was on his second ball, but it was louder than probably 75 percent of roars I've heard during actual competition at other tournaments.
  • The D.J.-McIlroy pairing was intriguing, wasn't it? I haven't known them to play a lot of practice rounds together, but they are arguably the two best golfers on the planet right now. McIlroy (2.7) and Johnson (2.5) make up two of the three golfers on the PGA Tour gaining two or more strokes per round against the field (Justin Thomas at 2.0 is the other).
  • Rory was bouncing around pretty hard. That's all I'll say.
  • This is remarkable.
  • I loved this thread from Kevin Van Valkenburg. Not having my phone on the course is one of my favorite parts of the tournament every year. I'm reading a book right now called Digital Minimalism, and it talks a lot about the mental health benefits from not being tuned into a screen for eight hours a day. Being forced into it is not the worst thing in the world.
  • Bryson DeChambeau's quotes in his press conference on Monday did not disappoint. They were actually downright delightful.
  • Other interesting practice round pairings included Larry Mize-Devon Bling (!) and Sergio Garcia-Viktor Hovland. Also Brooks Koepka, Bubba Watson and J.B. Holmes (?) all played together.
  • Here is a take I've been cooking up: A lot of my friends think we're due for a "bad" Masters winner, but I think the exact opposite is true. Look at the last dozen years of champs. They've all been good players -- only two have ranked outside the top 40 in the world in the last 33 years -- but they haven't necessarily been great names. Danny Willett? Patrick Reed? Zach Johnson? Charl Schwartzel? Again, all strong players and worthy champs, but it feels like we're due for a monster name and a history-altering Masters (although I've been very, very wrong about this before).
  • A lot of the chatter on the grounds is about Jordan Spieth. Nobody knows what to expect. Are we getting the flagstick-torching wunderkind who lit the world on fire in 2015 and 2016, or are we getting the dude who can't get out of his own head and break par on a PGA Tour weekend this season? Nobody -- maybe not even Spieth -- knows.
  • Speaking of Spieth, this is the best thing I've read on him (or anyone) this week.