The Masters You Dont See on TV

By Associated PressApril 11, 2008, 4:00 pm
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Turn on the TV and the first thing you see are the immaculate white bunkers surrounded by grass so green it looks painted. The azaleas are always in full bloom, the ponds are still as glass, and everything is framed by massive pine trees.
Hear the announcers talk, and everything is always perfect on the rolling acreage that is Americas most course. The wind freshens instead of howls, greens always roll fairly for any well struck putt and the ghost of Bobby Jones lives on everywhere.
Thats the Augusta National most of the world sees for four days every April. For all but the privileged few, the closest theyll get to Amen Corner is on a couch in front of the living room Sony.
But theres a lot the television cameras dont catch. So heres a look at what you didnt see Friday while watching Tiger Woods drop more f-bombs than putts in the second round of the Masters:
' Ian Poulters shoes. Jones was a bit of a fashion plate himself, but he would have probably drawn the line at pink and white footwear.
' Hank Haney as a spectator. Woods swing coach stood outside the ropes of the eighth fairway waiting for his famous client to hit and telling anyone who wanted to listen that a few bad breaks was all that was keeping Woods out of the lead.
' Planes. For some reason, corporate jets buzzed the course all day long from the nearby Augusta airport, while a small plane towed a banner advertising free admittance to a strip club for all patrons showing their badges. With the power of the green jacket around here, its surprising another plane wasnt ordered into the air to shoot it down.
' Lloyd Baker, who was manning the ropes on the 9th hole fairway crossing for the 14th year in a row. The retiree should be celebrating his wedding anniversary Saturday with his wife back in Houston, but she seems to be the understanding sort. Hes at the course before the gates open at 8 a.m., ready for a day of raising and lowering ropes, and answering questions from the patrons.
For most of them the first question is `Where is Tiger? Baker said. The second question they ask is how I got this job.
' A white man in his 20s walking along and holding hands with a black woman on the 17th hole. No big deal, but 20 years ago in this part of the world people would have been pointing fingers, and maybe more.
' Black fans in the crowd. Again, no big deal, but a Masters that used to be a lily-white affair now has a more integrated crowd than most major championships.
' Kids. Theyre being admitted free when accompanied by badge holders, and they dress the part. On some holes you saw three generations, with grandpa, dad and kid all decked up in the latest Masters attire.
' Six on a board. The majestic white scoreboards at Augusta National are manned by teams of six, who slide in names and numbers as easily as the crack crew at Wrigley Field. They havent sold out to electronic scoreboards flashing advertisements, and its not likely they ever will.
' Beer. At $2 a cup, its the last great buy in American sports, and the patrons seem to appreciate it. Two young women who work the concession stand near the 18th tee announced last call Friday afternoon, and quickly there were fans trying to juggle two or three cups of suds on their way back to their viewing positions.
' Roars. For the second straight day, there werent very many of them. Augusta National has been toughened up so much that even the hint of a good shot brings excitement, but there were no eagles on the par-5 15th and just a handful on the 13th despite a relatively easy pin placement.
' Bleacher madness. The sight and thundering sound of an entire bleacher emptying out after Woods finishes a hole is worth the price of admission. Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson and Toru Taniguchi had to feel unloved as they watched the bleachers on No. 8 suddenly clear out as they waited to play their second shots.
' Gloaming. Thats a word used a lot by golf writers who have run out of other words to describe scenes at Augusta National and want to impress readers with their wide range of vocabulary. Loosely translated, it means a time of day when it is getting dark but not so dark that you cant find your ball. Expect to read a lot of stories about Woods sinking a putt in the gloaming Friday to keep his hopes up.
' Attitude. There wasnt any among the players, at least publicly. This is the only tournament of the year where players are afraid to complain about anything, lest they risk the ire of the green jackets who run the place. Phil Mickelson thought the course setup at the U.S. Open last year was dangerous to his health and said so loudly, but they could put alligators in Raes Creek and he wouldnt say a word.
And, finally, whats a second round at the Masters without a little false bravado from the greatest player of his time. Woods hasnt sniffed the leaderboard since the tournament began, and needs a miraculous comeback that his game has shown no signs of giving him to erase a seven-shot deficit on the weekend.
Yet he stood in the gloaming off the 18th green and proclaimed himself in great shape for the second straight day.
This golf course, you can make up shots here quickly. Just got to hang in there.
For Woods legion of fans, that may have been the best sight of all on this day.
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    Fleetwood rallies to defend Abu Dhabi title

    By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 pm

    The 2018 European Tour season has begun just as the 2017 one ended: with Tommy Fleetwood's name atop the standings.

    Facing the most difficult conditions of the week, Fleetwood charged down the stretch to shoot a 7-under 65 in the final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, good enough for a two-shot win and a successful title defense.

    Abu Dhabi was the start of Fleetwood's resurgence a year ago, the first of two European Tour victories en route to the season-long Race to Dubai title. This time around the Englishman started the final round two shots off the lead but rallied with six birdies over his final nine holes to reclaim the trophy.

    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

    Fleetwood was five shots behind countryman Ross Fisher when he made the turn, but he birdied the par-5 10th and then added four birdies in a five-hole stretch from Nos. 12-16. The decisive shot came on the final hole, when his pitch from the left rough nestled within a few feet of the hole for a closing birdie.

    Fleetwood's 22-under total left him two shots ahead of Fisher and four shots clear of Rory McIlroy and Matthew Fitzpatrick. After entering the week ranked No. 18, Fleetwood is expected to move to at least No. 12 in the world when the new rankings are published.

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    Garcia cruises to five-shot win in Singapore

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:10 pm

    SINGAPORE - Sergio Garcia played 27 holes on the last day without dropping a shot to win the Singapore Open by five strokes Sunday in an ominous display of his newfound self-belief as he prepares to defend his Masters title.

    Still brimming with confidence after claiming his first major title at Augusta National last year, Garcia started his new season with a runaway victory at the Sentosa Golf Club, finishing at 14-under 270.

    Returning to the course just after dawn to complete his third round after play was suspended on Saturday because of lightning strikes, Garcia finished his last nine holes in 4 under for a round of 66 to take a one-shot lead into the final round.

    With organizers desperate to avert the constant threat of more bad weather and finish the tournament on time, Garcia promptly returned to the first tee shortly after and fired a flawless 3-under 68, cruising to victory with 10 straight pars as his rivals floundered in the stifling humidity.

    ''It may have looked easy, but it wasn't easy. You still have to hit a lot of good shots out there,'' Garcia said. ''It's always great to start with a win, to do it here at this golf course against a good field in Asia on conditions that weren't easy. Hopefully I can ride on this momentum.''

    Garcia's closest rivals at the end were Japan's Satoshi Kodaira (71) and South African Shaun Norris (70). Both birdied the last hole to share second spot but neither was ever close enough on the last day to challenge the leader.

    Full-field scores from the Singapore Open

    ''I could not reach Sergio. I was thinking, 12 or 13 under for the win, but he went beyond that,'' Kodaira said.

    Jazz Janewattananond (71) and his fellow Thai Danthai Bonnma (73) finished equal fourth at 8 under, earning themselves a spot in this year's British Open, while American Sean Crocker, who was given an invitation to the event after turning pro late last year, also won a place at Carnoustie by finishing in a tie for sixth.

    Garcia made just three bogeys in 72 holes and his victory provided the 38-year-old with the 33rd title of his professional career and his sixth on the Asian Tour.

    He has also won three titles in the last 12 months, including the Masters, and his game looks to be in better shape now than it was a year ago.

    He credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for Augusta National because of the steamy conditions and the testing stop-start nature of the tournament, which is regularly stopped because of inclement weather.

    Although he finished tied for 11th in Singapore a year ago, Garcia won the Dubai Desert Classic the next week and was in peak form when he won the Masters two months later.

    "I'm extremely happy with how the week went. It was a tough day and a tough week, with the stopping and going. Fortunately, the weather held on. Still, it was hard to play 27 holes under this heat and I can't wait to get a cold shower,'' Garcia said. ''I came with some good confidence and wishing that I will play well. I hit the ball solid the whole week and didn't miss many shots.''

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    Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 3:21 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie's approach went over the green and after Kelly converted his birdie, the 54-year-old Scot jammed his par putt well past the hole.

    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship

    It was the third win on the over-50 tour for the 51-year-old Kelly, who finished tied for 14th last week at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu. That gave him confidence as he hopped over to the Big Island for his tournament debut at Hualalai. The limited-field event includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-day total of 18-under 198. Montgomerie shot 69. David Toms shot 67 and finished two shots back, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was another stroke behind after a 66.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, closed with a 70 to finish at 10 under.

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    Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

    Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

    Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

    “I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

    “The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

    Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.