No Masters heartbreak for Norman Hes gone

By Associated PressApril 11, 2009, 4:00 pm
Bookmark and Share
AUGUSTA, Ga. ' Greg Norman played better and fared worse.
The Shark said he thought he played better at the Masters than he did at last years British Open, where an age-defying performance earned him a tie for third and his first trip to Augusta National in seven years. But hes going home early, missing the cut by two shots.
The cut was 1-over 145, the lowest since 2001.
I played really well, Norman said after a 5-over 77 Friday left him at 3 over for the tournament. We got warned for slow play on the 13th hole and it kind of threw me out of rhythm a little bit, and then we had to wait two holes later. Its one of those things with the game of golf, and I didnt really recover from that.
Before Tiger Woods came along, Norman was the Masters rock star. With a big smile, flowing blond mane and long list of heartbreaking finishes, he was must-see-TV in April. He was second three times, third on three other occasions, and had nine top-10 finishes in all.
But it wasnt just the staggering number of close calls, it was how Norman lost. Jack Nicklaus shot a 30 on the back nine in 1986 to take the green jacket from him. The next year, Larry Mize chipped in from 140 feet during a playoff. And no one will ever forget 1996. Norman had a six-shot lead over Nick Faldo, only to gag it all away with a final-round 78.
Yet Norman relished the chance to come back to Augusta National, and the fans were just as happy to have him back.
Still the best tournament around, Norman said. Unfortunately, I wont be around on the weekend.
He will, however, be at the British Open. As a two-time champion, Norman is exempt until hes 65.
Turnberry is one of my favorite golf courses, so well see how the R&A has done it, said Norman, who won his first claret jug there in 1986. Im looking forward to it.
Norman isnt the only big name who will have more free time this weekend.
After tying Gary Players record of 23 consecutive cuts made at Augusta, Fred Couples has now missed two straight. The 1992 champion shot matching 73s, missing the cut by one shot.
Also among those missing the cut: former champions Jose Maria Olazabal, Zach Johnson, Mark OMeara, Billy Mayfair, Ben Crenshaw, Bernhard Langer and Tom Watson. Ernie Els and Retief Goosen, both U.S. Open winners, also failed to make it.
None of the amateurs did, either.
NICE MOVE: Sergio Garcia thought hed struggle to make the cut at this years Masters.
So much for that.
Garcia moved onto the leaderboard with a 5-under 67 on Friday. At 4-under 140, he is five strokes behind Chad Campbell and Kenny Perry.
Its been a long time coming, Garcia said. Its one of those things that you feel like youre doing well and nothing happens, and this week I came with no expectations. I thought I was going to have a hard time making the cut, and all of a sudden I shoot a good round like today and it puts you in good position.
At 0-for-38 in the majors, the Spaniard has inherited that dreaded title of best player never to win a major. Hes come close ' plenty of times. Hes had nine top-five finishes, including being runner-up at the 2007 British Open and last years PGA Championship.
But he hasnt had much luck recently at the Masters. This is the only major where he has never gone into the final round within five shots of the lead, and he missed the cut three of the last five years.
Garcia looked as if he was in for another rough time when he shot a 1-over 73 in the first round. But he rebounded quite nicely Friday, making just one bogey on a day the wind was gusting and the greens were lightning quick.
Asked to explain the turnaround, he said: Having no expectations, just going out there and playing and not care too much about where you hit it. I only worried about two or three holes. Other than that, I was just trying to be aggressive and see if things could happen my way.
It may be too early to start measuring him for a green jacket, however.
The weekend is going to be long, its going to be tough, Garcia said.
NO IRISH LUCK: Rory McIlroy wasnt the only player from the Emerald Isle who ran into a rules problem.
As tournament officials were reviewing whether McIlroy tested the conditions of a bunker on the 18th hole, Padraig Harrington was trying to move up the leaderboard when he stood over a 4-foot birdie on the 15th.
He took two practice strokes, stepped over the ball and grounded his putter, then backed away to review the line. As he moved back over the ball, a gust blew it about 3 feet away.
Harrington immediately called for a ruling, and ultimately was penalized one stroke and had to replace the ball. The Irishman asked for another opinion, because this wasnt the first time it has happened to him.
Happened to me in Houston a while ago, and at the time, the referee ruled that as I wasnt standing over it ' even though I had addressed it ' it wasnt a penalty, he said. I knew I had addressed it, and up to that point, I always knew it to be a penalty.
More important to him was that he eventually made the 4-foot putt, even though it was for par.
Harrington wound up with a 73 and was seven shots back in his quest for a third straight major. He was more bothered by four putts that spun around the lip of the cup.
I had a couple of horseshoes today, he said. The next few days, its important it doesnt happen again.
PERRYS TRAINING: Kenny Perry got his competitive edge from his father, who would beat him in golf or card games. So imagine how good the son felt when he finally beat the master.
Perry said he was 14 years old when he finally defeated his father in golf, and it wasnt easy.
The ninth hole at our course was a par 3, and hes 1 up on me, Perry said. He says, Ive got you again. I hit a 4-iron in the hole for a 1. He made par, and I finally beat him. And then it finally turned. I started beating him and it was regular.

Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Masters Tournament
  • Watch: Fleetwood gets emotional with family after Race to Dubai win

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 19, 2017, 5:30 pm

    Tommy Fleetwood took home the season-long Race to Dubai title on Sunday after a T-21 finish at the DP World Tour Championship.

    He was, understandably, emotional after learning his fate while sitting with his wife and baby following a career year in which he won the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship and the French Open and finished fourth at the U.S. Open.

    Luckily for us, cameras were rolling:

    Matsuyama after Koepka rout: 'Huge gap between us'

    By Will GrayNovember 19, 2017, 4:22 pm

    Hideki Matsuyama offered a blunt assessment after finishing 10 shots behind Brooks Koepka at the Japan Tour's Dunlop Phoenix event.

    Koepka waxed the field en route to successfully defending his title in Japan, shooting a 20-under par total that left him nine shots clear of a runner-up group that included PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Xander Schauffele. Koepka's score was one shot off the tournament record, and his margin for victory eclipsed Tiger Woods' eight-shot romp in 2004.

    Matsuyama appeared set to make a final-round charge after a birdie on No. 2 was followed by an ace on the par-3 third hole. But he played the next eight holes in 3 over and eventually finished alone in fifth place following a 2-under 69. Afterwards, he stacked his game up against that of Koepka in a telling comment to the Japan Times.

    "I feel there's a huge gap between us," Matsuyama said.

    The Japanese phenom entered the week ranked No. 4 in the world, though he will be passed in the next rankings by Jon Rahm following the Spaniard's win in Dubai. Matsuyama won twice this year on the PGA Tour, including the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, but he has largely struggled since missing out on a maiden major title at the PGA Championship, where he tied for fifth.

    Matsuyama was a runner-up to Koepka at the U.S. Open earlier this summer, and the 25-year-old seems headed back to the drawing board before defending his title at the Hero World Challenge in two weeks.

    "I don't know whether it's a lack of practice or whether I lack the strength to keep playing well," Matsuyama said. "It seems there are many issues to address."

    McCormick to caddie for Spieth at Aussie Open

    By Will GrayNovember 19, 2017, 2:21 pm

    When Jordan Spieth returns next week to defend his title at the Australian Open, he will do so without his regular caddie on the bag.

    Spieth and Michael Greller have combined to win 14 tournaments and three majors, including three events in 2017. But Greller's wife, Ellie, gave birth to the couple's first child on Oct. 13, and according to a report from the Australian Herald Sun he will not make the intercontinental trip to Sydney, where Spieth will look to win for the third time in the last four years.

    Instead, Spieth will have longtime swing coach and native Aussie Cameron McCormick on the bag at The Australian Golf Club. McCormick, who won PGA Teacher of the Year in 2015, is originally from Melbourne but now lives in Texas and has taught Spieth since he was a rising star among the junior golf ranks in Dallas.

    While Greller has missed rounds before, this will be the first time as a pro that Spieth has used a different caddie for an entire event. Greller was sidelined with an injury last year in Singapore when Spieth's agent, Jay Danzi, took the bag, and trainer Damon Goddard has subbed in twice when Greller was sick, including this year at the Dean & DeLuca Invitational.

    Spieth's torrid 2015 season traced back to his win at The Australian in 2014, and he returned to Oz last year where he won a playoff at Royal Sydney over Cameron Smith and Ashley Hall.

    Rahm wins finale, Fleetwood takes Race to Dubai

    By Will GrayNovember 19, 2017, 1:42 pm

    Jon Rahm captured the final tournament on the European Tour calendar, a result that helped Tommy Fleetwood take home the season-long Race to Dubai title.

    Rahm shot a final-round 67 to finish two shots clear of Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Shane Lowry at the DP World Tour Championship. It's the second European Tour win of the year for the Spaniard, who also captured the Irish Open and won on the PGA Tour in January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

    "I could not be more proud of what I've done this week," Rahm told reporters. "Having the weekend that I've had, actually shooting 12 under on the last 36 holes, bogey-free round today, it's really special."

    But the key finish came from Justin Rose, who held the 54-hole lead in Dubai but dropped back into a tie for fourth after closing with a 70. Rose entered the week as one of only three players who could win the Race to Dubai, along with Sergio Garcia and Fleetwood, who started with a lead of around 250,000 Euros.

    DP World Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the DP World Tour Championship

    With Fleetwood in the middle of the tournament pack, ultimately tying for 21st after a final-round 74, the door was open for Rose to capture the title thanks to a late charge despite playing in half the events that Fleetwood did. Rose captured both the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open, and was one round away from a two-trophy photo shoot in Dubai.

    Instead, his T-4 finish meant he came up just short, as Fleetwood won the season-long race by 58,821 Euros.

    The title caps a remarkable season for Fleetwood, who won the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship as well as the French Open to go along with a pair of runner-up finishes and a fourth-place showing at the U.S. Open.

    "I find it amazing, the season starts in November, December and you get to here and you're watching the last shot of the season to decide who wins the Race to Dubai," Fleetwood said at the trophy ceremony. "But yeah, very special and something we didn't really aim for at the start of the year, but it's happened."