Masters Tradition Play Suspended

By Associated PressApril 8, 2006, 4:00 pm
AUGUSTA, Ga. --Rain returned to Augusta National, and so did the thrills.
 
On an abbreviated but action-packed Saturday at the Masters, Chad Campbell played four holes without making a par -- two birdies to expand his lead, two bogeys to nearly lose it -- and remained atop the leaderboard with a growing list of major champions right behind him.
 
Chad Campbell
Chad Campbell will play at least 32 holes on Sunday.
Storms softened the course and forced a four-hour delay in the third round, leaving Campbell only enough daylight to spend 40 minutes on a course that played nothing like the first two days.
 
It was just enough time to set the tone for a marathon Sunday that suddenly is loaded with possibilities.
 
He was at 6 under par, one shot ahead of Tim Clark and Rocco Mediate.
 
Right behind was a forceful presence -- defending champion Tiger Woods -- in a position all too familiar.
 
Woods hit a wedge that spun back to 2 inches from the hole for a tap-in birdie on the third, and he caused the gallery to gasp with a pitch over the mounds and spun sideways when it neared the cup, stopping 5 feet away for another birdie on No. 8. That put him at 3 under through nine holes, three shots behind.
 
'I'm right there in the ball game,' Woods said.
 
A year ago, Woods walked off the course four shots behind Chris DiMarco through nine holes, made four straight birdies Sunday morning and went into the final 18 holes with a three-shot lead.
 
This time, he has company.
 
Phil Mickelson birdied his first three holes, only to drop shots from the bunker on the next two to join Woods at 3 under, along with Padraig Harrington of Ireland. The other members of the 'Big Five' -- Vijay Singh, Ernie Els and Retief Goosen -- were at 2 under, along with Fred Couples and Players champion Stephen Ames.
 
And don't rule out two other major champions -- Mike Weir, at 1 under through 11 holes, or even Jim Furyk, one of only 11 players who managed to complete the third round.
 
Furyk got through 12 holes before thunder rumbled beyond the pines, suspending play for 4 hours, 5 minutes. He returned to a course that was softer, longer and more vulnerable to complete a 68 that put him at even-par 216.
 
Technically, that makes him the clubhouse leader.
 
'Depends what the other guys shoot,' Furyk said, dismissing the suggestion he was still in the hunt.
 
And much of that depends on the weather, which could make this Masters even more fickle. The forecast was for sunshine and wind in the morning, when the leaders had to finish the third round, followed by diminishing wind during the final round Sunday afternoon.
 
Endurance figures to play a big role, too. Campbell and Mediate will have to play 32 holes, while everyone else within four shots of the lead play at least 27 holes. The third round is to resume at 7:45 a.m., EDT, Sunday.
 
Then again, the fabled green jacket could make everyone forget about how much time they're on the course.
 
'You're talking about Sunday at the Masters,' said Stewart Cink, who was at even par through 12 holes. 'I think adrenaline will keep everybody going enough to get through it. If endurance comes into play, or maybe fatigue, it will be after the tournament is over.'
 
For most of Saturday, it was a matter of getting started.
 
Woods hit a few balls on the practice range before the sirens blared to halt play. Mickelson went through his drill of hitting 100 putts in a 3-foot circle. The leaders didn't tee off until just before 7 p.m.
 
'I wish we could have played 18 holes in these conditions,' Els said.
 
It was the fifth straight year rain has interrupted play and changed the nature of Augusta National, and this was especially drastic. Instead of firm, fast conditions that made it difficult to hold the greens, rain gave players the green light to go at the flags.
 
But while most players zipped along, trying to take advantage of benign conditions, Campbell couldn't get off the course soon enough. He opened with an 8-foot birdie putt and a two-putt birdie on the par-5 second, reaching 8 under par. But his wedge spun off the green at No. 3 leading to bogey, and he made bogey from the bunker on the fourth hole when his 6-foot par putt lipped out.
 
'We have our work cut out for us,' he said. 'It's where I want to be.'
 
Going for his third major in as many years, Mickelson came out firing with a shot from the fairway bunker into 10 feet, a nifty pitch to 4 feet on the second and a 15-foot birdie putt on the third hole that sent him soaring to the top of the leaderboard. But he dropped back down after missing a 4-foot par putt, followed by a drive into the trees on the fifth.
 
Mickelson didn't speak to reporters after his round, getting into his SUV and pulling away.
 
Mediate, playing in the final group with Campbell, made it a two-shot swing on the par-3 fourth with a rare birdie. Still, he couldn't help but notice Woods lurking behind them.
 
'As long as he's upright, he's close,' Mediate said.
 
Woods had to scramble for par twice, from well right of the first green and with a 10-foot par save on the seventh. He looked forward to playing 27 holes, as he did last year, especially on greens that allowed him to play more aggressively.
 
'I know I'm in condition. That's not a problem,' Woods said. 'It's a matter of execution. In soft conditions like this, you can make some birdies.'
 
Campbell won earlier this year at the Bob Hope Classic, and his two other PGA Tour titles -- the Tour Championship and the Bay Hill Invitational -- show he has the game.
 
Even so, his experience is lacking compared with those chasing him.
 
'Those guys do have more major championship experience with the winds,' Campbell said. 'I'd like to start somewhere.'
 
Couples got off to a rugged start with a bogey on the opening hole and failed to make birdie on the par-5 second. But the sentimental choice of this Masters -- Ben Crenshaw -- was fading fast.
 
The 54-year-old Masters champion, found trouble in the trees at No. 2 on his way to a double bogey and was 5 over for his round through eighth holes, 10 shots out of the lead.
 
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - 70th Masters Tournament
  • Full Coverage - 70th Masters Tournament
     
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    What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

    Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

    Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

    Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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    Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

    Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

    While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

    The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

    So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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    Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

    By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

    The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

    As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

    Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

    And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

    And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

    McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

    The Ryder Cup topped his list.

    Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

    When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

    “Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



    McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

    Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

    “The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

    European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

    And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

    The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

    Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

    And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

    Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

    The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

    The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

    More bulletin board material, too.

    Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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    Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

    Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

    The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

    It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

    The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

    “I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

    Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.