Waiting Out the Rain Under the Porch

By Associated PressApril 8, 2006, 4:00 pm
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- The long porch at the Augusta National clubhouse was filled with caddies, most of them sitting, some of them smoking, all of them with nothing to do but wait for someone in a green jacket to give them a weather update.
 
Rain at the Masters -- a tradition like no other.
 
Some scenes from the porch:
 
Rocco Mediate, three shots out of the lead and in the final group for the third round, was among the first to emerge from the clubhouse. He didn't get far when a cameraman for a local TV station asked him for a quick interview.
 
'What should I tell him?' Mediate asked the caddies, eyes bulging in mock confusion.
 
'Tell him it's raining,' a caddie replied.
 
Saturday was the fifth straight year a round at the Masters was interrupted by rain.
 
A peak through a window into the lounge outside the locker room looked like a snapshot of a family gathering at Christmas.
 
Stephen Ames shared a seat and a smile with his wife, Jodi, who is recovering from lung cancer. They had no plans to be at Augusta National until Ames buried the strongest field in golf to win The Players Championship two weeks ago.
 
Ben Curtis sat in a chair while his wife, Candace, who is four months pregnant, made herself comfortable on the carpeted floor, both listening to the chatter and stories coming from all directions.
 
Across the room, Retief Goosen sat impassively, like a wax figure in a museum.
 
Ricci Roberts leaned against the golf bag when his boss, Ernie Els, ambled out of the clubhouse and came by for an inspection.
 
He pulled out a rain suit so new it still had tissue paper under the creases. Els doesn't like playing in a full rain jacket, so he was happy to find zippers halfway up the sleeves. He removed them, converting the jacket into a vest.
 
'You don't learn how to play in the rain,' said Els, who grew up in Johannesburg. 'You learn to be organized with your bag. I didn't play much in the rain until I went to Europe.'
 
It has served him well at Augusta.
 
Ben Crenshaw stopped long enough to be surrounded by a dozen reporters who know him to speak eloquently on any subject. The topic -- his chances on a course that went from fast and firm to slow and soft because of the rain, which won't help.
 
The 54-year-old Crenshaw had not made the cut since he won his second Masters in 1995. He is last in driving distance. He needed the course to be dry, making it play shorter. 'I've been waiting for a dry year,' he said.
 
He was more interested in telling stories of his early years at Augusta National, recalling the first invitation that came in the mail -- understated, of course -- for the 1972 Masters.
 
'It's like an invitation to a nice party,' Crenshaw said. 'There's an RSVP at the bottom. And you had better RSVP.'
 
Crenshaw was at the University of Texas, and his blond hair was a full mop. One of the first people to notice it was Clifford Roberts, the iron-fisted chairman of Augusta National.
 
'There used to be a barber shop right over there,' Crenshaw said, pointing to the end of the porch. 'Mr. Roberts said, 'Ben, we're mighty happy to have you here. You're playing great golf. I've spent some time in Texas, and we've had a number of Texans do well here. By the way, do you know we have a barber shop on the grounds?''
 
Crenshaw paused to smile.
 
'I went right over,' he said.
 
Another peak inside the window: Goosen still hasn't moved.
 
Rich Beem stuck his head out the clubhouse door, spotted a reporter and waved him over.
 
'Have you seen this book?' Beem said.
 
Sitting in the lounge, he picked up a copy of 'The Wit & Wisdom of Bobby Jones,' a collection of sayings from the man behind Augusta National Golf Club and a tournament now called the Masters.
 
Beem pointed out one passage that appeared to go against lengthening the golf course, which club chairman Hootie Johnson has done twice in the last five years. The course now is 7,445 yards, the second-longest in major championship history.
 
'There was good reason to expect that improvements in the manufacture and the introduction of new methods and materials might make even our long courses look silly and make jokes of our championships,' the passage said. 'It was not practical to think of buying more and more expensive ground to keep increasing the length of holes to make them fit for championship play as the ball became more and more powerful, particularly when this increase in power carried no actual advantage to the game in any conceivable form.'
 
Beem turned the page to show another passage.
 
'American architecture allows practically no option as to where the drive shall go,' it said.
 
'What about No. 11? And (No.) 7?' Beem said.
 
He was referring to two holes that have been lengthened to 505 yards and 450 yards, respectively, both lined by trees that allow for a tight driving area and really no other option.
 
'Good stuff, huh?' Beem said, then went back inside.
 
Inside the lounge, Curtis switched chairs and was immersed in a coffee table book called 'The Greatest of Them All,' a biography of Jones. Chatter had quieted, replaced by boredom.
 
Tim Herron, affectionately known as 'Lumpy,' lumbered out of the dining room. The chef was right behind him.
 
Steve Williams was on the far end of the porch, closer to the locker room set aside for Masters champions. His boss, Tiger Woods, had been on the practice range when the siren sounded to suspend play. Woods' glove, crinkled from wear, was on top of his irons.
 
'It's too bad,' Williams said as a slow, steady rain began to fall. 'This course was getting unbelievably fast. I would've liked to have seen it that way on the weekend.'
 
Did he think something like 2 under par would have won?
 
'Very likely,' Williams said, without noting that Woods was at 1 under.
 
Goosen finally got up from his chair. The third round resumed at 5:20 p.m.
 
The porch was empty.
 
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    Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge

    By Associated PressDecember 17, 2017, 11:36 pm

    ORLANDO, Fla. - Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. closed with a 12-under 60 for a three-shot victory in their debut at the PNC Father/Son Challenge.

    The Cabreras opened with a 59 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and were challenged briefly by the defending champions, David Duval and Nick Karavites, in the scramble format Sunday. The Argentines went out in 30, and they had a two-shot lead with Cabrera's son came within an inch of chipping in for eagle on the final hole.

    They finished at 25-under 199 for a three-shot victory over Duval and Karavites, and Bernhard Langer and Jason Langer. The Langer team won in 2014.

    Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara tied for fourth at 21 under with Jerry Pate and Wesley Pate.

    Cabrera wasn't even in the field until two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange and his son, Tom Strange, had to withdraw.

    Duval and his stepson went out in 28, but the Cabreras regained control by starting the back nine with back-to-back birdies, and then making birdies on the 13th, 14th and 16th. The final birdie allowed them to tie the tournament scoring record.

    ''This is certain my best week of the year,'' said Cabrera, the 2009 Masters champion and 2007 U.S. Open champion at Oakmont. ''To play alongside all the legends ... as well as playing alongside my son, has been the greatest week of the year.''

    The popular event is for players who have won a major championship or The Players Championship. It is a scramble format both days.

    In some cases, the major champions lean on the power of their sons for the distance. O'Meara said Saturday that his ''little man'' hit it 58 yards by him on the 18th. And on Sunday, Stewart Cink said son Reagan told him after outdriving him on the opening four holes, ''In this tournament I may be your son, but right now I'm your Daddy!''

    Jack Nicklaus played with his grandson, G.T. They closed with a 64 and tied for 15th in the field of 20 teams.

    Rose wins; Aphibarnrat earns Masters bid in Indonesia

    By Will GrayDecember 17, 2017, 1:59 pm

    Justin Rose continued his recent run of dominance in Indonesia, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat snagged a Masters invite with some 72nd-hole dramatics.

    Rose cruised to an eight-shot victory at the Indonesian Masters, carding bookend rounds of 10-under 62 that featured a brief run at a 59 during the final round. The Englishman was the highest-ranked player in the field and he led wire-to-wire, with Thailand's Phachara Khongwatmai finishing second.

    Rose closes out the year as perhaps the hottest player in the world, with top-10 finishes in each of his final 10 worldwide starts. That stretch includes three victories, as Rose also won the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open. He hasn't finished outside the top 10 in a tournament since missing the cut at the PGA Championship.

    Meanwhile, it took until the final hole of the final tournament of 2017 for Aphibarnrat to secure a return to the Masters. The Thai entered the week ranked No. 56 in the world, with the top 50 in the year-end world rankings earning invites to Augusta National. Needing an eagle on the 72nd hole, Aphibarnrat got just that to snag solo fifth place.

    It means that he is projected to end the year ranked No. 49, while Japan's Yusaku Miyazato - who started the week ranked No. 58 and finished alone in fourth - is projected to finish No. 50. Aphibarnrat finished T-15 in his Masters debut in 2016, while Miyazato will make his first appearance in the spring.

    The results in Indonesia mean that American Peter Uihlein and South Africa's Dylan Frittelli are projected to barely miss the year-end, top-50 cutoff. Their options for Masters qualification will include winning a full-point PGA Tour event in early 2018 or cracking the top 50 by the final March 25 cutoff.

    Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

    By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

    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.

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    Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

    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.