New Course New Club Selections
'What club did you hit in there, David?' Broyles asked.
'A 7-iron,' Duval replied.
Duval straightened, looked up at Broyles and said with a smile, 'That's what you guys wanted, isn't it?'
That's what The Masters got, a major championship in which players have to drive the ball better than ever and hit longer clubs into the greens.
Duval played the front nine Saturday and the back nine Sunday, completing his first full round since Augusta National went through its biggest renovation by adding 285 yards, shifting tees, stretching bunkers and reducing some of the slope in the fairways.
How extensive are the changes?
His caddie, Mitch Knox, carried two yardage books.
For the first time in a major, Duval has a 7-wood in his bag. He plans to use it on the par-5 13th, which has been lengthened by 25 yards. The 7-wood gives him higher trajectory and will replace the 2-iron; in previous years, Duval had no more than 5-iron into the green.
Indeed, the biggest change for Duval was the numbers of the clubs he kept hitting.
Duval usually hits a 3-wood on the 14th hole and has nothing more than an 8-iron into a green that requires a nearly perfect shot to get close to the flag. Duval belted a driver and had a 7-iron in his hands -- until Knox gave him the yardage.
'Guess this isn't going to do me much good,' Duval said, taking out the 6-iron. It came up just short and rolled back down a massive slope.
He hit two balls for just about every shot, usually a driver off the tee. Duval used to pull driver from the bag only eight times during a round at Augusta. Now, he'll do it on four more holes, hitting less clubs on only two, not including the par-3s.
'They've made it much more difficult,' he said. 'You've got to hit more drivers, and you have to think a lot more about where it's going.'
The Masters has one of the most unusual traditions for a major championship. Even though the tournament starts in just four days, members are allowed to play the course on Sunday, just like any other weekend.
'That's the great thing about here,' Duval said. 'This is part of a tournament week, and I'm waiting on the 10th tee letting three or four groups of members play through. It's really cool to be out here with those folks. You get to know them.'
Of course, the members weren't playing the tees all the way back.
Duval predicted that Augusta National will use up to 70 percent of the additional length, although he played it as far back as possible to get an idea of what shots he'll have to play and, more importantly, what clubs he'll have to hit into the green.
'You can get away with a 9-iron or even an 8-iron that's a little squirrelly,' he said. 'But you're not going to get away with a squirrelly 6-iron. It puts more emphasis on driving. It puts a little more emphasis on your iron game.
'And as we all know, you have to putt well around here.'
Of the nine holes that were changed, Duval said the ones that got his attention were Nos. 7, 14 and 18, all par-4s.
The seventh hole has to be hit long and straight through a corridor lined with towering Georgia pines. The 14th has a heavily contoured green, so severe that Duval hit a shot that landed 10 feet left of the flag and wound up 30 feet to the right.
'That hole, if you make par for four days, you're going to be quite pleased,' he said.
The most drastic is No. 18, where the tees have been moved back 60 yards. A year ago, defending champion Tiger Woods blew it by the bunkers and had a lob wedge from 75 yards into the green. Duval hit a good drive that stopped 10 yards short of the bunker, then hit a 6-iron to the green.
It came up about 10 yards short.
More Masters News
Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son
ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.
Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.
''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''
They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.
''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''
Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.
''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''
Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.
Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.
Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.
Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?
Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.
Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”
Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.
Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.
The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.
Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters
JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.
Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.
Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.
Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational
Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.
The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.