Casper Out After 106

By Associated PressApril 7, 2005, 4:00 pm
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- The ashen sky loomed ominously overhead as Billy Casper lumbered slowly up the hill for the final tee shot of a long, long day.
Tilting over carefully, he stuck a tee in the luscious grass and struck the ball straight down the middle of the fairway at Augusta National.
'I always get this thing figured out along around dark,' the portly, 73-year-old Casper quipped, managing the slightest of smiles.
Not long after that, it was mercifully over - the highest-scoring round in Masters history, turned in by a once-great player who just wanted to play 18 more holes at Augusta National.
The numbers on the scorecard added up to a 106.
That's right, 106!
Down at the public muni, Casper would've fit right in - especially when he hit five straight shots in the water at the par-3 16th before finally getting one on the green. He three-putted, of course, and took a 14.
For those who might be unfamiliar with the term, that's known as a undecuple-bogey.
Not that this was a day for worrying about details like bogeys, double-bogeys and undecuple-bogeys. Casper just wanted to take another stroll through Amen Corner, hear the roar of the crowd and let the memories wash over him.
'I remember I used to run into Tennessee Ernie Ford down there all the time,' Casper said, referring to the '50s TV personality.
He was pushed aside three years ago, getting one of those infamous letters from Masters chairman Hootie Johnson, who asked three aging ex-champions to give up their automatic spots in the field.
Casper took the snub graciously, fully aware that he had not made the cut since 1987 and hadn't been a contender since the 1970s. But a few months ago, he got the urge to play again.
He had fully recovered from hip replacement surgery and wanted his grandchildren to see him play at Augusta. So, he sent in his entry form and waited nervously to see what the response would be from tournament officials.
Game on.
'I had no concern about my score,' Casper said. 'I just wanted to be back out there, experiencing so many of the memories I had in the past.'
He hit his first shot into the rough 'and it didn't get much better from there.' One triple-bogey. Then another. By the time he crossed the Hogan Bridge on his way to the 12th green - just his third hole of the day - Casper already was having second thoughts about taking on such a monstrous course.
'I don't have any business being out here,' he told his caddie, Brian Taylor.
Things really fell apart at No. 16, the scenic, 170-yard hole known as 'Redbud.' Casper started off with a 9-wood, hooking his ball into the water. He walked slowly to the drop area, pulled out a 7-iron and took another shot. Water again. And again. And again. And again.
'I was sort of stumbling around, looking for balls,' Taylor said. 'He kept saying, 'There's another one in there.''
Over on the adjacent 15th green, Jim Furyk and Tom Watson stopped what they were doing and watched the carnage, shouting a few encouraging words toward Casper.
After switching to a 6-iron, Casper finally cleared the water and sent the gallery into a frenzy when the ball came to a stop on the green. After three-putting, he wasn't really sure what his score was, so he turned to playing partners Tommy Aaron (who was keeping Casper's card) and Charles Coody.
'They both said it was a 14,' Casper said, 'so I guess it was a 14.'
At the turn, everyone thought he might walk away, especially when he headed for the clubhouse. But he knew play was backed up, so he was merely looking for a chair on the veranda and some much-needed rest.
'This is going to slow my momentum down,' he joked to a security guard.
Casper managed only three pars all day and the 34-over score was easily the worst in Masters' history, eclipsing Charles Kunkle's 95 in 1956.
'I've got all the sympathy in the world,' Coody said. 'It could have been me. It could have been Tommy. It could have been anyone.'
But the 106 won't go in the record books - Casper didn't bother turning in his scorecard, walking off the course with it tucked in a back pocket.
'That's going in the scrapbook,' Casper said proudly.
Officially, he was listed as 'W-D' - withdrawn, supposedly because of a hip that began hurting during the par-3 tournament the previous day. But everyone knew that was a ruse. No one wanted such a proud champion to have such a high number beside his name.
'I sort of figured before I played that I wasn't going to sign it,' Casper said. 'I only wanted to play 18 and get it out of my system.'
Come Friday, he'll be on hand to watch everyone else play. He's finished with the Masters - this time for good.
'I'll be around,' Casper said. 'If the weather's nice, you can probably find me right up there under the umbrellas.'
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  • If Park is nervous, she sure doesn't show it

    By Randall MellNovember 17, 2017, 11:24 pm

    NAPLES, Fla. – Sung Hyun Park says she can feel her heart pounding every time she steps to the first tee.

    She says she always gets nervous starting a round.

    You don’t believe it, though.

    She looks like she would be comfortable directing a sky full of Boeing 737s as an air traffic controller at Incheon International Airport . . .

    Or talking people off the ledges of skyscrapers . . .

    Or disarming ticking bombs . . .

    “In terms of golf, I always get nervous,” she insists.

    Everything about Park was at odds with that admission Friday, after she took control halfway through the CME Group Tour Championship.

    Her Korean nickname is “Dan Gong,” which means “Shut up and attack.” Now that sounds right. That’s what she looks like she is doing, trying to run roughshod through the Tour Championship in a historic sweep of all the LPGA’s most important awards and honors.

    Park got just one look at Tiburon Golf Club before this championship began, playing in Wednesday’s pro-am. Then she marched out Thursday and shot 67, then came out Friday and shot 65.

    At 12 under overall, Park has a three-shot lead on Caroline Masson and Sarah Jane Smith.

    She is six shots up on Lexi Thompson, who leads the CME Globe point standings in the race for the $1 million jackpot.

    She is 11 shots up on world No. 1 Shanshan Feng.

    And 11 shots up on So Yeon Ryu, who leads the Rolex Player of the Year point standings.

    CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship

    There’s a long way to go, but Park is in position to make an epic sweep, to win the Tour Championship, that CME Globe jackpot, the Rolex Player of the Year Award, the Rolex Rookie of the Year Award, the Vare Trophy for low scoring average, the LPGA money-winning title and the Rolex world No. 1 ranking.

    Nobody’s ever dominated a weekend like that in women’s golf.

    It’s all there for the taking now, if Park can keep this going.

    Park has another nickname back in South Korea. Her fans call her “Namdalla.” That means “I am different.” She’ll prove that if she owns this weekend.

    Park, 24, isn’t assuming anything. She’s humbly aware how much talent is flooding the LPGA, how the tour’s depth was underscored in a year where five different players have reigned as world No. 1, five different players won majors and 22 different winners stepped forward in 32 events.

    “I don’t think it’s quite that far a lead,” Park said of her three-shot advantage. “Two, three shots can change at any moment.”

    About those nerves that Park insists plague her, even Hall of Famer Judy Rankin can’t see it.

    Not when Park unsheathes a driver on a tee box.

    “She’s the most fearless driver of the ball out here,” Rankin said. “I would put Lexi a close second and everybody else a distant third. She hits drivers on holes where you shouldn’t, and she hits it long and she just throws it right down there between hazard stakes that are 10 yards apart, like it’s nothing. Now, that’s a little hyperbole, but she will hit driver almost everywhere.”

    David Jones, Park’s caddie, will attest to that. He was on Park’s bag when she won the U.S. Women’s Open in July and won the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open in August.

    “She reaches for driver a lot because she is a good driver,” Jones said. “She isn’t reckless. She’s as accurate with a driver as she is a 3-wood.”

    Park and Thompson played together in the first round. Park is eighth on tour in driving distance, averaging 270 yards per drive, and Thompson is third, averaging 274.

    Thompson loves to hit driver, too, but . . . 

    “Lexi hit a lot of 3-woods compared to us when we played together yesterday,” Jones said.

    Jones doesn’t find himself talking Park out of hitting driver much.

    “It’s really simple,” Jones said. “When you hit driver as straight as she does, why mess around?”

    Count Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee, a student of the swing, among admirers of Park’s abilities.

    “No other swing in the game comes close to her technical perfection and elegance in my opinion,” Chamblee tweeted Friday.

    Come Sunday, Park hopes to complete a perfect sweep of the LPGA’s most important awards.

    National champion Sooners meet with Trump in D.C.

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 17, 2017, 11:10 pm

    The national champion Oklahoma men's golf team visited Washington D.C. on Frday and met with President Donald Trump.

    Oklahoma topped Oregon, 3 1/2 to 1 1/2, in last year's national final at Rich Harvest Farms to win their second national championship and first since 1989.

    These pictures from the team's trip to Washington popped up on social media late Friday afternoon:

    Rookie Cook (66-62) credits prior Tour experience

    By Rex HoggardNovember 17, 2017, 10:36 pm

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Austin Cook is a rookie only on paper. At least, that’s the way he’s played since joining the circuit this season.

    This week’s RSM Classic is Cook’s fourth start on Tour, and rounds of 66-62 secured his fourth made cut of the young season. More importantly, his 14-under total moved him into the lead at Sea Island Resort.

    “I really think that a couple years ago, the experience that I have had, I think I've played maybe 10 events, nine events before this season,” Cook said. “Being in contention a few times and making cuts, having my card has really prepared me for this.”

    RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the RSM Classic

    Cook has been perfect this week at the RSM Classic and moved into contention with four consecutive birdies starting at No. 13 (he began his round on the 10th hole of the Seaside course). A 6-footer for birdie at the last moved him one stroke clear of Brian Gay.

    In fact, Cook hasn’t come close to making a bogey this week thanks to an equally flawless ball-striking round that moved him to first in the field in strokes gained: tee to green.

    If Cook has played like a veteran this week, a portion of that credit goes to long-time Tour caddie Kip Henley, who began working for Cook during this year’s Tour finals.

    “He’s got a great golf brain,” Henley said. “That’s the most flawless round of golf I’ve ever seen.”

    Cook fires 62 for one-shot lead at RSM Classic

    By Associated PressNovember 17, 2017, 10:26 pm

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – PGA Tour rookie Austin Cook made a 6-foot birdie putt on his final hole for an 8-under 62 and a one-shot lead going into the weekend at the RSM Classic.

    Cook has gone 36 holes without a bogey on the Plantation and Seaside courses at Sea Island Golf Club. He played Seaside - the site of the final two rounds in the last PGA Tour event of the calendar year - on Friday and ran off four straight birdies on his opening nine holes.

    ''We've just been able to it hit the ball really well,'' Cook said. ''Speed on greens has been really good and getting up-and-down has been great. I've been able to hit it pretty close to the hole to make some pretty stress-free putts. But the couple putts that I have had of some length for par, I've been able to roll them in. Everything's going well.''

    The 26-year-old former Arkansas player was at 14-under 128 and had a one-stroke lead over Brian Gay, who shot 64 on Seaside. No one else was closer than five shots going into the final two rounds.

    The 45-year-old Gay won the last of his four PGA Tour titles in 2013.

    RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the RSM Classic

    ''I've hit a lot of greens and fairways,'' Gay said. ''I've hit the ball, kept it in front of me. There's a lot of trouble out here, especially with the wind blowing, so I haven't had to make too many saves the first couple days and I putted well.''

    Cook has made the weekend cuts in all four of his starts this season. He earned his PGA Tour card through the Tour, and has hired Gay's former caddie, Kip Henley.

    ''With him being out here so long, he knows everybody, so it's not like I'm completely the new kid on the block,'' Cook said. ''He's introduced me to a lot of people, so it's just making me feel comfortable out here. He knows his way around these golf courses. We're working really well together.''

    First-round leader Chris Kirk followed his opening 63 on the Plantation with a 70 on the Seaside to drop into a tie for third at 9 under with C.T. Pan (65) and Vaughn Taylor (66).

    Brandt Snedeker is looking strong in his first start in some five months because of a sternum injury. Snedeker shot a 67 on the Plantation course and was six shots back at 8 under.

    ''I was hitting the ball really well coming down here,'' Snedeker said. ''I was anxious to see how I would hold up under pressure. I haven't played a tournament in five months, so it's held up better than I thought it would. Ball-striking's been really good, mental capacity's been unbelievable.

    ''I think being so fresh, excited to be out there and thinking clearly. My short game, which has always been a strength of mine, I didn't know how sharp it was going to be. It's been really good so far.''