Notes Garcia Makes Double Eagle

By Associated PressApril 6, 2005, 4:00 pm
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Sergio Garcia would have liked it during the tournament itself. Still, it was hard to be unhappy about making the first double eagle of his life Tuesday during a practice round for the Masters.
 
Garcia knocked his second shot into the cup on the par-5 second hole to give both himself and the fans who crowd Augusta National for practice rounds a thrill.
 
Its a shame it wasnt in the tournament, but still nice, Garcia said.
 
Sergio Garcia
Sergio Garcia reacts to his double eagle at the par-5 second hole in Tuesday's prectice round.
>Garcia hit driver off the tee on the hole and had 253 yards left to the pin. He took out a 2-iron and hit a shot he thought was just right of the hole.
 
All of a sudden the people went crazy on the green and they said, well, you made it, Garcia said. So I raised my hands for just a couple high-fives.
 
It didnt have the drama of Gene Sarazens double eagle on the 15th hole 70 years ago that led to his win, but the shot left Garcia feeling good about his chances this week.
 
He shot a 66 in the final round last year to tie for fourth place.
 
It was an amazing thing, he said. I played pretty well. It was a nice day out there.
 
MICKELSONS MENU
Phil Mickelson was hosting his first champions dinner Tuesday night, but he wasnt in Augusta to talk about cuisine.
 
Mickelson planned to serve lobster ravioli, but said the best thing about the dinner is he could mingle with so many former champions.
 
Im going to enjoy the fact that I can hang around with some of the Masters greats, Mickelson said.
 
Mickelson, who won the rain-delayed BellSouth in Atlanta on Monday, was more concerned with making sure his game was ready for Augusta National on Thursday than on the menu for the dinner, which is selected by the defending champion.
 
My mind-set is more concerned about trying to defend this championship and trying to win than it is to have dinner, he said. As much fun as it will be, I want to get ready for the tournament.
 
TIGERS DINNER
Tiger Woods got more out of his first champions dinner than he thought after winning the Masters for the first time in 1997.
 
Woods was seated next to Byron Nelson with Ben Crenshaw on his other side. The three had knives in hand and were explaining grips to each other.
 
Mr. Nelson is telling me how he changed his grip back in 1933, Woods said. Im saying, my dad was just born.
 
Woods has been to every champions dinner since, but the memory of the first one lingers.
 
Thats one of the coolest sights, coolest memories, he said. Ill never forget that.
 
JACK AND THE BALL
Ask Jack Nicklaus about golf balls, and be prepared for a long answer. On the eve of his 45th Masters, he bemoaned the fact that golf courses should have to spend millions to change every time the ball gets better.
 
Nicklaus said he wasnt suggesting that the Masters implement a universal ball as has been suggested, but that manufacturers dial back on some of the distance gains of recent years.
 
Just have a golf ball go 10 percent shorter or 12 percent or whatever it might be, Nicklaus said. You could do that and everybody will still have the same characteristics.
 
Nicklaus said course owners and designers are always having to adjust to new technology, especially when it comes to golf balls that go longer and straighter and still spin more.
 
They went from making an average golf ball or a better golf ball or longer golf ball, they could certainly take it back the other way very easily without very much cost, Nicklaus said.
 
Nicklaus often talks about the golf balls he played during his prime, some of which he said werent even totally round. He was one of the proponents of the Cayman ball years ago that went a limited distance to allow golfers to play shorter courses.
 
Today, Nicklaus said the golf ball has gotten beyond the ability of golf courses to adjust. That includes Augusta National, which he said is always in danger of being overpowered by new balls.
 
If the ball has the same characteristics to it then we can bring thousands of golf courses back into play as championship golf courses without change, Nicklaus said. What difference does it make if a guy hits it 330 or 290 if everybody has the same relative distances?
 
WEIRS SUNDAY
Mike Weirs last two Sundays at Augusta National couldnt have been more dramatically different.
 
Two years ago, Weir won a playoff with Len Mattiace to become the first Canadian and the first left-hander to win the Masters.
 
Last year, he missed the cut and then had to wait around Augusta for two days to put the green jacket on new champion Phil Mickelson.
 
It wasnt very much fun, Weir said. Saturday I dont think I did much. Sunday I came out and practiced a little bit and then just hung out with my family and watched it on TV.
 
Weir would have rather been playing, but at least Mickelsons dramatic win did capture his attention.
 
It was exciting golf to watch, he said.
 
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    Watch: Daly makes birdie from 18-foot-deep bunker

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 11:14 pm

    John Daly on Friday somehow got up and down for birdie from the deepest bunker on the PGA Tour.

    The sand to the left of the green on the 16th hole at the Stadium Course at PGA West sits 18 feet below the surface of the green.

    That proved no problem for Daly, who cleared the lip three times taller than he is and then rolled in a 26-footer.

    He fared just slightly better than former Speaker of the House, Tip O'Neill.

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    Koepka (wrist) likely out until the Masters

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 9:08 pm

    Defending U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka is expected to miss at least the next two months because of a torn tendon in his left wrist.

    Koepka, who suffered a partially torn Extensor Carpi Ulnaris (ECU), is hoping to return in time for the Masters.

    In a statement released by his management company, Koepka said that doctors are unsure when the injury occurred but that he first felt discomfort at the Hero World Challenge, where he finished last in the 18-man event. Playing through pain, he also finished last at the Tournament of Champions, after which he underwent a second MRI that revealed the tear.

    Koepka is expected to miss the next eight to 12 weeks.

    “I am frustrated that I will now not be able to play my intended schedule,” Koepka said. “But I am confident in my doctors and in the treatment they have prescribed, and I look forward to teeing it up at the Masters. … I look forward to a quick and successful recovery.”

    Prior to the injury, Koepka won the Dunlop Phoenix and cracked the top 10 in the world ranking. 

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    Cut Line: Color Rory unafraid of the Ryder Cup

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 19, 2018, 7:09 pm

    In this week’s edition, Rory McIlroy gets things rolling with some early Ryder Cup banter, Dustin Johnson changes his tune on a possible golf ball roll-back, and the PGA Tour rolls ahead with integrity training.


    Made Cut

    Paris or bust. Rory McIlroy, who made his 2018 debut this week on the European Tour, can be one of the game’s most affable athletes. He can also be pointed, particularly when discussing the Ryder Cup.

    Asked this week in Abu Dhabi about the U.S. team, which won the last Ryder Cup and appears to be rejuvenated by a collection of new players, McIlroy didn’t disappoint.

    “If you look at Hazeltine and how they set the course up – big, wide fairways, no rough, pins in the middle of greens – it wasn’t set up for the way the Europeans like to play,” McIlroy said. “I think Paris will be a completely different kettle of fish, so different.”

    McIlroy has come by his confidence honestly, having won three of the four Ryder Cups he’s played, so it’s understandable if he doesn't feel like an underdog heaidng to Paris.

    “The Americans have obviously been buoyant about their chances, but it’s never as easy as that,” he said. “The Ryder Cup is always close. It always comes down to a few key moments, and it will be no different in Paris. I think we’ll have a great team and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

    September can’t get here quick enough.

    Mr. Spieth goes to Ponte Vedra Beach. The Tour announced this year’s player advisory council, the 16-member group that works with the circuit’s policy board to govern.

    There were no real surprises to the PAC, but news that Jordan Spieth had been selected to run for council chair is interesting. Spieth, who is running against Billy Hurley III and would ascend to the policy board next year if he wins the election, served on the PAC last year and would make a fine addition to the policy board, but it is somewhat out of character for a marquee player.

    In recent years, top players like Spieth have largely avoided the distractions that come with the PAC and policy board. Of course, we’ve also learned in recent years that Spieth is not your typical superstar.


    Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

    On second thought. In December at the Hero World Challenge, Dustin Johnson was asked about a possible golf ball roll-back, which has become an increasingly popular notion in recent years.

    “I don't mind seeing every other professional sport. They play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball,” he said in the Bahamas. “I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage.”

    The world No. 1 appeared to dial back that take this week in Abu Dhabi, telling BBC Sport, “It's not like we are dominating golf courses. When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy?”

    Maybe it didn’t feel that way, but DJ’s eight-stroke romp two weeks ago at the Sentry Tournament of Champions certainly looked pretty easy.

    Long odds. I had a chance to watch the Tour’s 15-minute integrity training video that players have been required view and came away with a mixture of confusion and concern.

    The majority of the video, which includes a Q&A element, focuses on how to avoid match fixing. Although the circuit has made it clear there is no indication of current match fixing, it’s obviously something to keep an eye on.

    The other element that’s worth pointing out is that although the Tour may be taking the new program seriously, some players are not.

    “My agent watched [the training video] for me,” said one Tour pro last week at the Sony Open.


    Missed Cut

    Groundhog Day. To be fair, no one expected Patton Kizzire and James Hahn to need six playoff holes to decide last week’s Sony Open, but the episode does show why variety is the spice of life.

    After finishing 72 holes tied at 17 under, Kizzire and Hahn played the 18th hole again and again and again and again. In total, the duo played the par-5 closing hole at Waialae Country Club five times (including in regulation play) on Sunday.

    It’s worth noting that the playoff finally ended with Kizzire’s par at the sixth extra hole, which was the par-3 17th. Waialae’s 18th is a fine golf hole, but in this case familiarity really did breed contempt.

    Tweet of the week:

    It was a common theme last Saturday on Oahu after an island-wide text alert was issued warning of an inbound ballistic missile and advising citizens to “seek immediate shelter.”

    The alert turned out to be a mistake, someone pushed the wrong button during a shift change, but for many, like Peterson, it was a serious lesson in perspective.

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    Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 2:58 pm

    Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.

    While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.

    “I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.

    Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.