Rose Keeps Lead Palmer Steps Aside

By Associated PressApril 9, 2004, 4:00 pm
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- The King said goodbye. The Masters is now in the hands of a kid.
 
Arnold Palmer walked up the 18th fairway one last time Friday to an ovation longer and louder than any other in his 50 years at Augusta National, unable to hold back tears as he reflected on a career built on Sunday charges, green jackets and an army of fans.
 
'It's not fun sometimes to know it's over,' Palmer said.
 
For 23-year-old Justin Rose, the fun might just be starting.
 
Rose, the youngest professional in the field, played a steady hand under an increasing spotlight with a 1-under 71, including a superb bunker shot to save par on the final hole for a two-shot lead.
 
'Playing under pressure for the right reasons is fun,' said Rose, who missed his first 21 cuts after turning pro. 'Playing under pressure for the wrong reasons, that's awful. This is much, much better.'
 
On a wild day of charges and collapses, the Englishman rarely got into trouble and finished at 6-under 138 to lead Jose Maria Olazabal of Spain and Alex Cejka of Germany.
 
Olazabal, a two-time Masters champion, quickly renewed his hopes with an eagle-birdie-birdie stretch on the back nine and a 3-under 69. He and Cejka (70) each bogeyed the 18th hole and were at 140. Phil Mickelson got into the mix for his first major, getting a huge break on the par-5 13th when his ball stopped short of going into Rae's Creek. He turned a bogey into a birdie and shot 69, three shots out of the lead.
 
And don't count out Tiger Woods just yet. Instead of throwing his clubs, he threw his fist into the air with a 40-foot birdie putt on the 16th for a 69 that left him six shots behind.
 
Still, the day belonged to a 74-year-old man who missed a 4-foot putt on the final hole for an 84.
 
Then again, no one cares what Palmer shoots, they just love to see him play.
 
The gallery was 10-deep before the King even arrived on the 18th tee, and it seemed as though everyone on the course -- players, caddies and dozens of Augusta National members in green jackets -- were there for the end.
 
'When I look out into the galleries and I see them wishing me good luck, and I think how much I owe them ...' Palmer said, his voice cracking.
 
He couldn't go on, bowing and wiping tears from his eyes.
 
'I guess it's more difficult for me because I'm sort of a sentimental slob,' he said.
 
The stage now shifts to a younger generation that reflects the global state of golf.
 
Three Europeans were at the top of the board. K.J. Choi of South Korea tied a Masters record with a 30 on the front nine, only to follow that with a 40. Still, he was at 3-under 141 with Mickelson.
 
Charles Howell III, who grew up five minutes from the course, had a second straight 71 and was in a large group at 142 that included Ernie Els (72), Fred Couples (69) and Davis Love III, who charged into contention with a 67, matching Steve Flesch for the best round of the week.
 
It all starts Saturday with Rose, who lacks major championship experience but certainly not the scrutiny.
 
It all starts Saturday with Rose, who lacks major championship experience but certainly not the real-life variety.
 
Along with missing the cut in his first 21 tournaments as a pro, Rose's father and coach, Ken Rose, died in September 2002 of leukemia just one month after watching his son play his first major in the United States.
 
'Not to say that leading a major is easy, but I think I am lucky in a lot of ways in terms of, at the age of 23, I feel like I can draw on a couple of things that have happened to me,' Rose said.
 
Rose has felt plenty of pressure before.
 
He finished fourth at the '98 British Open when he was 17, and he became Britain's rising star when he decided to turn professional a week later. Then, Rose went 21 consecutive tournaments before he finally cashed a check.
 
'Trying to make my first cut, I was putting a lot of pressure on myself,' Rose said. 'And when I finally did, it was like winning a tournament. Those sorts of experiences will be what I draw from.'
 
Rose said he never looked at a leaderboard in the second round, relying on the vibes from the gallery to let him know he was the guy everyone was chasing.
 
He might not have that luxury on the weekend.
 
'As you get close to the finish line, you know what's up for grabs,' Rose said. 'And I'm sure it will get tougher.'
 
Only 13 players were under par as Augusta National began to dry out under a steamy sun, and six of those guys have won major championships.
 
Twenty players were within seven shots of the lead.
 
'Anyone in the red has a chance on the weekend,' said Mark O'Meara, who had a 70 and was in the red at 1-under 141.
 
His buddy Woods might take exception to that.
 
Woods dragged himself back into contention with a 69 that left him at even par, only six shots out of the lead and one good round Saturday from being a legitimate threat.
 
'I'm still here,' Woods said, a subtle dig at those who suggested he might not extend his record cut streak to 121. 'You have to take baby steps. I got back to even, and that's viable.'
 
The cut was at 4-over 148.
 
Because anyone within 10 shots of the lead makes the cut, Rose knocked out several players with his par save from the bunker on the final hole.
 
Among them was Mike Weir. He made three straight bogeys in the morning to finish his rain-delayed first round at 79, the highest ever by a defending champion. The Canadian still had a chance to get to the weekend, but bogeyed the 18th when his approach sailed over the green.
 
John Daly also bogeyed the last hole to miss the cut by one shot.
 
Rose knows how they feel, but that now seems so long ago. The kid is after a green jacket this weekend.
 
Related links:
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    Perez skips Torrey, 'upset' with Ryder Cup standings

    By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 2:19 am

    Pat Perez is unhappy about his standing on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list, and his situation won't improve this week.

    Perez won the CIMB Classic during the fall portion of this season, and he followed that with a T-5 finish at the inaugural CJ Cup. But he didn't receive any Ryder Cup points for either result because of a rule enacted by the American task force prior to the 2014 Ryder Cup which only awards points during the calendar year of the biennial matches as well as select events like majors and WGCs during the prior year.

    As a result, Perez is currently 17th in the American points race - behind players like Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Bill Haas and James Hahn, none of whom have won a tournament since the 2016 Ryder Cup - as he looks to make a U.S. squad for the first time at age 42.

    "That kind of upset me a little bit, the fact that I'm (17) on the list, but I should probably be (No.) 3 or 4," Perez told Golf Digest. "So it kind of put a bitter taste in my mouth. The fact that you win on the PGA Tour and you beat some good players, yet you don't get any points because of what our committee has decided to do."

    Perez won't be earning any points this week because he has opted to tee it up at the European Tour's Omega Dubai Desert Classic. The decision comes after Perez finished T-21 last week at the Singapore Open, and it means that the veteran is missing the Farmers Insurance Open in his former hometown of San Diego for the first time since 2001.

    Perez went to high school a few minutes from Torrey Pines, and he defeated a field that included Tiger Woods to win the junior world title on the South Course in 1993. His father, Tony, has been a longtime starter on the tournament's opening hole, and Perez was a runner-up in 2014 and tied for fourth last year.

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    Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut

    By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 1:54 am

    If the Las Vegas bookmakers are to be believed, folks in the San Diego area hoping to see Tiger Woods this week might want to head to Torrey Pines early.

    Woods is making his first competitive start of the year this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and it will be his first official start on the PGA Tour since last year's event. He missed nearly all of 2017 because of a back injury before returning with a T-9 finish last month at the Hero World Challenge.

    But the South Course at Torrey Pines is a far different test than Albany, and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists Woods as a -180 favorite to miss the 36-hole cut. It means bettors must wager $180 to win $100, while his +150 odds to make the cut mean a bettor can win $150 with a $100 wager.

    Woods is listed at 25/1 to win. He won the tournament for the seventh time in 2013, but in three appearances since he has missed the 36-hole cut, missed the 54-hole cut and withdrawn after 12 holes.

    Here's a look at the various Woods-related prop bets available at the Westgate:

    Will Woods make the 36-hole cut? Yes +150, No -180

    Lowest single-round score (both courses par 72): Over/Under 70

    Highest single-round score: Over/Under 74.5

    Will Woods finish inside the top 10? Yes +350, No -450

    Will Woods finish inside the top 20? Yes +170, No -200

    Will Woods withdraw during the tournament? Yes +650, No -1000

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    Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 24, 2018, 12:27 am

    SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.

    Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.

    “It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

    Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.

    “What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”

    Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.

    “When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”

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    Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:07 am

    SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.

    Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.

    Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim. 

    Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.