Notes Olazabal Right at Home

By Associated PressApril 9, 2004, 4:00 pm
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Something about the Masters brings out the best in Jose Maria Olazabal's game.
After missing the cut at The Players Championship two weeks ago, Olazabal said he was struggling. He didn't like his short game. He didn't like his long game. His work around the greens left something to be desired, too.
Yet here he is at Augusta National, two strokes behind leader Justin Rose at 4-under 140.
'It must be something with this place, I don't know,' the two-time winner said after shooting 69 on Friday, his second straight round under par. 'I don't feel much different to how I felt. But every time I come here, I try to do my best. I feel in a way a little bit at peace with myself.'
Olazabal has missed only one cut since winning his first green jacket in 1994. He came back from a devastating foot injury to win again in 1999 and has finished in the top 10 the past two years.
But Olazabal is at a loss to explain what it is about him and Augusta.
'I don't know if it fits my game,' he said. 'It is true that the knowledge of the golf course, it's a great point in the favor of the player that knows the course really well. It allows you to chip around the greens or putt around the greens.
'That's the only reason for it. The only reason I can see, anyway.'
After playing the front nine at even par, Olazabal found his rhythm on the back. He eagled the par-5 13th and followed with birdies on 14 and 15. He faltered at the end, though, bogeying the 18th.
'It's always nice to have two solid rounds,' he said. 'It's always nice to have a solid tournament. But I'm going to need a longer spell than just a week.'
No Relief
Talk about being in a rut.
Still angry after he didn't get a favorable ruling when his approach shot on 13 landed in a tire track, Jay Haas made a double-bogey on the next hole and finished with a 3-over 75 Friday. After being just two shots off the lead in the first round, he's now six strokes behind leader Justin Rose.
'I didn't shoot myself in the foot too badly. If I can shoot in the 60s ... I could be back in it,' Haas said.
Young Guns
When Brandt Snedeker's ball went into the water on the 15th hole, all he could think about was the cut.
Not to worry. Despite his splashdown Friday, the U.S. Amateur Public Links champion hung around for the weekend at the Masters. So did fellow amateur Casey Wittenberg, runner-up at the U.S. Amateur.
Both were at 4-over 148, 10 strokes behind leader Justin Rose.
'Relieved. Relieved is the best way to put it,' Snedeker said.
Snedeker got his first Masters off to a quick start Thursday with birdies on all three holes of the treacherous Amen Corner en route to a 1-over-par 73. He couldn't duplicate that Friday, but he did get a standing ovation.
Snedeker had to settle for a bogey after dunking his approach shot in the water on the par-5 15th. That would have unnerved some veterans, but Snedeker calmly rebounded, putting his tee shot within 5 feet on the par-3 16th and bringing the fans to their feet.
'That's something I'll definitely remember for the rest of my life,' Snedeker said, beaming. 'It gives me goosebumps just to think about it.'
Wittenberg had perhaps the toughest draw of any of the amateurs, playing his first two rounds with Tiger Woods. Hundreds, if not thousands of people were watching his every move.
Wittenberg did just fine, though, shooting an even-par 72 to make the cut.
'Tiger was tremendous to me. He couldn't have been any nicer,' Wittenberg said. 'It was a lifetime experience.'
Bob Estes set aside the distraction of playing with Arnold Palmer and shot a 33 on his back nine to make the cut on the number. ... Gary Player, normally dressed head-to-toe in black, mixed it up, wearing an all-white outfit. He shot 80. ... Sandy Lyle, the 1988 champion, finished at 2-over to make his first cut since 1999.
Related links:
  • Leaderboard - The Masters Tournament
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  • Arnold Palmers 50th Masters
    Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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    Watch: Tiger throws dart, pours in birdie at 8

    By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 18, 2018, 7:31 pm

    Starting Sunday five off the lead, Tiger Woods teed off his final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational with a laced 2-iron and a par at No. 1.

    Woods hit the green at the par-3 second but left himself a 50-foot birdie putt and a 6-footer to save par, which we walked in.

    A two-putt 4 at the par-5 fourth gave Woods his first birdie of the day and moved him to 8 under for the week. Apparently energized, Tiger pulled driver at the short par-4 fifth and unleashed this violent swing.

    A pitch from the thick rough hit a sprinkler head and stopped on the apron, leading to this birdie try, which fortunately hit the pin but unfortunately didn't fall.

    Looking to pick up another stroke - or two - at the par-5 sixth, Woods took his drive 317 yards over the water and hit this second shot from 227 yards to 13 feet, leading to another two-putt birdie when his eagle try burned the right edge.

    Returning to his trusty 2-iron, Tiger found the fairway at par-4 eighth and then threw this dart from 176 yards to 6 feet and rolled in his third birdie putt of the day to move to 10 under.

    (More coming...)

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    Tiger Tracker: Arnold Palmer Invitational

    By Tiger TrackerMarch 18, 2018, 5:00 pm

    Tiger Woods will start Sunday five off the lead at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. How will he follow up last week's runner-up? We're tracking him at Bay Hill.

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    McIlroy: Time for Tour to limit alcohol sales on course

    By Ryan LavnerMarch 18, 2018, 1:50 pm

    ORLANDO, Fla. – Rory McIlroy suggested Saturday that the PGA Tour might need to consider curbing alcohol sales to stop some of the abusive fan behavior that has become more prevalent at events.

    McIlroy said that a fan repeatedly yelled his wife’s name (Erica) during the third round at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

    “I was going to go over and have a chat with him,” McIlroy said. “I think it’s gotten a little much, to be honest. I think they need to limit the alcohol sales on the course, or they need to do something, because every week it seems like guys are complaining about it more and more.

    Full-field scores from the Arnold Palmer Invitational

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    “I know that people want to come and enjoy themselves, and I’m all for that, but sometimes when the comments get personal and people get a little bit rowdy, it can get a little much.”

    This isn’t the first time that McIlroy has voiced concerns about fan behavior on Tour. Last month at Riviera, he said the rowdy spectators probably cost Tiger Woods a half-shot a round, and after two days in his featured group he had a splitting headache.

    A week later, at the Honda Classic, Justin Thomas had a fan removed late in the final round.

    McIlroy believes the issue is part of a larger problem, as more events try to replicate the success of the Waste Management Phoenix Open, which has one of the liveliest atmospheres on Tour.

    “It’s great for that tournament, it’s great for us, but golf is different than a football game, and there’s etiquette involved and you don’t want people to be put off from bringing their kids when people are shouting stuff out,” he said. “You want people to enjoy themselves, have a good day.”

    As for a solution, well, McIlroy isn’t quite sure.

    “It used to be you bring beers onto the course or buy beers, but not liquor,” he said. “And now it seems like everyone’s walking around with a cocktail. I don’t know whether (the solution) is to go back to letting people walking around with beers in their hands. That’s fine, but I don’t know.”

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    Confident Lincicome lurking after 54 holes at Founders

    By Randy SmithMarch 18, 2018, 2:45 am

    PHOENIX – Brittany Lincicome is farther back than she wanted to be going into Sunday at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup, but she’s in a good place.

    She’s keeping the momentum of her season-opening Pure Silk Bahamas Classic victory going this year.

    Her confidence is high.

    “Last year, I won in the Bahamas, but then I didn't do anything after that,” Lincicome said. “I don't even know if I had a top 10 after my win in the Bahamas. Obviously, this year, I want to be more consistent.”

    Lincicome followed up her victory in the Bahamas this year with a tie for seventh in her next start at the Honda LPGA Thailand. And now she’s right back on another leaderboard with the year’s first major championship just two weeks away. She is, by the way, a two-time winner at the ANA Inspiration.

    Missy Pederson, Lincicome’s caddie, is helping her player keep that momentum going with more focus on honing in the scoring clubs.

    “One of our major goals is being more consistent,” Pederson said. “She’s so talented, a once in a generation talent. I’m just trying to help out in how to best approach every golf course.”

    Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

    Pederson has helped Lincicome identify the clubs they’re likely to attack most with on the particular course they are playing that week, to spend more time working with those clubs in practice. It’s building confidence.

    “I know the more greens we hit, and the more chances we give ourselves, the more our chances are to be in contention,” Pederson said. “Britt is not big into stats or details, so I have to figure out how to best consolidate that information, to get us exactly where we need to be.”

    Lincicome’s growing comfort with clubs she can attack with is helping her confidence through a round.

    “I’ve most noticed consistency in her mental game, being able to handle some of the hiccups that happen over the course of a round,” Pederson said. “Whereas before, something might get under her skin, where she might say, `That’s what always happens,’ now, it’s, `All right, I know I’m good enough to get this back.’ I try to get her in positions to hit the clubs we are really hitting well right now.”

    That’s leading to a lot more birdies, fewer bogeys and more appearances on leaderboards in the start to this year.