This is no ordinary road to the Masters.
Instead of the tropical warmth of Florida in the spring, it starts in the hot desert air of Nevada in October.
Instead of a series of PGA Tour events some 500 miles south of Augusta National with an occasional detour into Texas, this road starts 2,000 to the west, heads out to the middle of the Atlantic Ocean and then back over to Houston.
It starts Thursday with the CJ Cup at Shadow Creek, typically held in South Korea and now part of an Asia swing that moved this year to the western US because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Four of the top five players in the world are at Shadow Creek, with top-ranked Dustin Johnson pulling out after his positive coronavirus test.
Rory McIlroy thinks Shadow Creek might be even better than what Florida offers because of the bentgrass greens that are fast with big slopes.
"Obviously, it's on the other side of the country. But when you think about the courses that we play leading up to Augusta, they're all Bermuda for the most part. It's Florida. It's a different test and a different setup.
"I think here this week and Sherwood next week, I think that's going to be a lot of guys' last event before Augusta."
The CJ Cup (South Korea) and the Zozo Championship (Japan) likely would not have attracted top players unwilling to travel that far during a pandemic, especially with the Masters having been pushed back to November.
Both tournaments have limited fields with no cuts and big money.
"I think here this week and Sherwood next week, I think that's going to be a lot of guys' last event before Augusta." – Rory McIlroy
Jason Day, Marc Leishman and Cameron Smith are the Australians in the CJ Cup field.
The Zozo Championship next week is at Sherwood Country Club in California. That will be followed by the Bermuda Championship and Houston Open ahead of the Masters on November 12-15.
"I think a lot of guys are really happy that they've got these two events to play and see where their game is," McIlroy said.
Shadow Creek is in mint condition. Justin Rose said they were the best greens he has played this side of Augusta National and Muirfield Village, home of the Memorial.
The CJ Cup marks the return of Brooks Koepka after two months off to heal a left hip injury. Several others, such as defending champion Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm and Xander Schauffele, have not played since the US Open.
Rose, Shane Lowry and Tommy Fleetwood are among those who were outside London last week for the European Tour flagship event, finding it well worth it to cross eight time zones to tee it up at Shadow Creek.
McIlroy arrived in Las Vegas talking about length – specifically Bryson DeChambeau's method of hitting it as far as he could on his way to winning the US Open.
DeChambeau is home in Dallas working on a 48-inch driver for the Masters. McIlroy is at Shadow Creek and Sherwood the next two weeks. Both are thinking about the Masters in their own way.
- Doug Ferguson, Associated Press