Wind Chill the Only Low Number at Augusta

By Associated PressApril 7, 2007, 4:00 pm
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Break out the Day-Glo golf balls, hand-warmers and the winter rules.
 
Chilly temperatures and a brisk north wind made the Masters feel more like it was transplanted to Augusta, Maine. Spectators bundled up in their winter finest Saturday, and players dug out every last bit of clothing they had stashed in their golf bags. Henrik Stenson even teed off in a stocking cap -- at 1 p.m., no less.
 
And he's Swedish.
 
'The only other time I remember the weather like this is when I'm here playing for Thanksgiving and Christmas,' said Charles Howell III, an Augusta native.
 
The temperature at the Masters was only 43 at noon, and it hovered around 50 degrees the rest of the afternoon. Overnight lows are expected to drop below 30. Add wind gusting to 23 mph and it felt like the upper-30s to low- to mid-40s at Augusta National.
 
That's a good 30 degrees below normal, and the cold took its toll on the golf as well as the golfers and the gallery. The field averaged 77.35 strokes, the highest-scoring round since Augusta switched to Bentgrass greens in 1981, and no one finished the day under par for the tournament. The leader was Stuart Appleby of Australia at 2 over par, one stroke better than Tiger Woods and Justin Rose of England.
 
The weather's not expected to be much better Sunday, with a high near 57 and more wind.
 
So much for warm Southern hospitality.
 
'We looked out this morning and thought it was going to be beautiful,' said Simon Burgess, an Englishman by way of Portugal who was shivering in shorts and a light sweater. 'It's bloody freezing.'
 
The Masters is normally spring break for the golfing set -- sun-splashed days that are warm, if not hot; a pleasant breeze that's the perfect complement to a pimento cheese sandwich.
 
Shirt-sleeves are the uniform for players, with maybe a light sweater vest for those trying to show a bit of style. Spectators wear shorts. The women come in skirts or show off their little sundresses. While the golf is the main attraction, getting an early start on the year's tan doesn't hurt.
 
Rain can put a damper on things -- the third round didn't finish until Sunday morning last year because of thunderstorms -- but it's one thing to have muddy shoes, another to not be able to feel your feet.
 
'This seems like another tournament altogether,' said Rich Cheney of Rocky Mount, N.C., who was at his fourth Masters. 'Kind of British Open conditions.'
 
Players were layered in sweaters, wind shirts and jackets. There was even a mock turtleneck or two. The wind played havoc with almost every shot and made Augusta's already quick greens even slicker.
 
'Do I look like I'm out in my shorts and T-shirt?' Englishman Lee Westwood asked. 'When I got out of the house this morning, I said to (his agent), 'It's like walking out of the Old Course Hotel at the Dunhill Links.' It was that cold.'
 
At least the players got to move around and keep the blood flowing. For the spectators, the chilly conditions called for more drastic measures.
 
Mike Misiak had on a T-shirt, turtleneck, sweater and a jacket. He wore black pants -- 'to soak in the sun' -- and tundra-worthy black gloves.
 
'This, I think, is a beautiful day,' Misiak said. 'My golfing weather is 40 degrees. I've golfed in snow six inches deep. I don't know what the temperature was, but probably below freezing.'
 
OK, but Misiak is from Tecumseh, Mich. He's a pro at this. Ditto for David Lewis, a high school golf teacher from Buffalo, N.Y., who was at his first Masters.
 
Lewis had shed his coat by midafternoon, though he did have on a sweater and turtleneck.
 
'I hang out at football games. I've been watching the Buffalo Bills for years,' Lewis said. 'I know better than to be cold. I can take stuff off. But if you don't have it, you don't have it.'
 
Which is why so many spectators looked as if they were wearing half the clothes in their closets.
 
More than a few people had on ear muffs and wool caps. One man had on a long, leather trench coat and a leather hat. A woman already wearing a sweater, heavy jacket, gloves and hat wrapped herself in a wool blanket.
 
One fan who had staked out a seat along the blustery No. 7 fairway was hunched over, a hood over his head and his windshirt pulled up over that.
 
'Temperature-wise, it's not too bad,' said Cheney, who traded the shorts and golf shirt he normally wears to Augusta for thick corduroys, gloves, a shirt, sweater vest and windbreaker. 'But when you throw in the wind, it makes it really tough.'
 
At least the sun was shining. When the wind would die down briefly, it wasn't that bad. Not ideal, but tolerable.
 
For those who weren't prepared for the elements, though, the entire day was brutal.
 
Burgess shivered and chattered for 3 1/2 hours as he followed Westwood. As soon as Westwood was done, so was Burgess. He and a buddy headed for a restaurant to get some hot wings and warm up.
 
'I bought $700 worth of clothes yesterday, and they're all back at the house,' Burgess said. 'I should have brought it all out.'
 
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    Monty grabs lead entering final round in season-opener

    By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 4:00 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Colin Montgomerie shot a second straight 7-under 65 to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 54-year-old Scot, a six-time winner on the over-50 tour, didn't miss a fairway on Friday and made five birdies on the back nine to reach 14 under at Hualalai.

    Montgomerie has made 17 birdies through 36 holes and said he will have to continue cashing in on his opportunities.

    ''We know that I've got to score something similar to what I've done – 66, 67, something like that, at least,'' Montgomerie said. ''You know the competition out here is so strong that if you do play away from the pins, you'll get run over. It's tough, but hey, it's great.''


    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship


    First-round co-leaders Gene Sauers and Jerry Kelly each shot 68 and were 12 under.

    ''I hit the ball really well. You know, all the putts that dropped yesterday didn't drop today,'' Kelly said. ''I was just short and burning edges. It was good putting again. They just didn't go in.''

    David Toms was three shots back after a 66. Woody Austin, Mark Calcavecchia and Doug Garwood each shot 67 and were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was six shots back after a 67.

    The limited-field tournament on Hawaii's Big Island includes last season's winners, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    ''We've enjoyed ourselves thoroughly here,'' Montgomerie said. ''It's just a dramatic spot, isn't it? If you don't like this, well, I'm sorry, take a good look in the mirror, you know?''

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    The missing link: Advice from successful tour pros

    By Phil BlackmarJanuary 20, 2018, 1:24 am

    Today’s topic is significant in that it underscores the direction golf is headed, a direction that has me a little concerned.

    Now, more than ever, it has become the norm for PGA Tour players to put together a team to assist in all aspects of their career. These teams can typically include the player’s swing coach, mental coach, manager, workout specialist, dietician, physical therapist, short-game guru, doctor, accountant, nanny and wife. Though it often concerns me the player may be missing out when others are making decisions for them, that is not the topic.

    I want to talk about what most players seem to be inexplicably leaving off their teams.

    One of the things that separates great players from the rest of the pack – other than talent – is the great player’s ability to routinely stay comfortable and play with focus and clarity in all situations. Though innate to many, this skill is trainable and can be learned. Don’t get too excited, the details of such a plan are too long and more suited for a book than the short confines of this article.

    So, if that aspect of the game is so important, where is the representative on the player’s team who has stood on the 18th tee with everything on the line? Where is the representative on the team who has experienced, over and over, what the player will be experiencing? In other words, where is the successful former tour player on the team?

    You look to tennis and many players have such a person on their team. These teacher/mentors include the likes of Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Brad Gilbert. Why is it not the norm in golf?

    Sure, a few players have sought out the advice of Jack Nicklaus, but he’s not part of a team. The teaching ranks also include some former players like Butch Harmon and a few others. But how many teams include a player who has contended in a major, let alone won one or more?

    I’m not here to argue the value and knowledge of all the other coaches who make up a player’s team. But how can the value of a successful tour professional be overlooked? If I’m going to ask someone what I should do in various situations on the course, I would prefer to include the experienced knowledge of players who have been there themselves.

    This leads me to the second part of today’s message. Is there a need for the professional players to mix with professional teachers to deliver the best and most comprehensive teaching philosophy to average players? I feel there is.

    Most lessons are concerned with changing the student’s swing. Often, this is done with little regard for how it feels to the student because the teacher believes the information is correct and more important than the “feels” of the student. “Stick with it until it’s comfortable” is often the message. This directive methodology was put on Twitter for public consumption a short time back:

    On the other hand, the professional player is an expert at making a score and understands the intangible side of the game. The intangible side says: “Mechanics cannot stand alone in making a good player.” The intangible side understands “people feel things differently”; ask Jim Furyk to swing like Dustin Johnson, or vice versa. This means something that looks good to us may not feel right to someone else.

    The intangible side lets us know that mechanics and feels must walk together in order for the player to succeed. From Ben Hogan’s book:

    “What I have learned I have learned by laborious trial and error, watching a good player do something that looked right to me, stumbling across something that felt right to me, experimenting with that something to see if it helped or hindered, adopting it if it helped, refining it sometimes, discarding it if it didn’t help, sometimes discarding it later if it proved undependable in competition, experimenting continually with new ideas and old ideas and all manner of variations until I arrived at a set of fundamentals that appeared to me to be right because they accomplished a very definite purpose, a set of fundamentals which proved to me they were right because they stood up and produced under all kinds of pressure.”

    Hogan beautifully described the learning process that could develop the swings of great players like DJ, Furyk, Lee Trevino, Jordan Spieth, Nicklaus, etc.

    Bob Toski is still teaching. Steve Elkington is helping to bring us the insight of Jackie Burke. Hal Sutton has a beautiful teaching facility outside of Houston. And so on. Just like mechanics and feels, it’s not either-or – the best message comes from both teachers and players.

    Lately, it seems the scale has swung more to one side; let us not forget the value of insights brought to us by the players who have best mastered the game.

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    Woods, Rahm, Rickie, J-Day headline Torrey field

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 20, 2018, 12:47 am

    Tiger Woods is set to make his 2018 debut.

    Woods is still part of the final field list for next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, the headliner of a tournament that includes defending champion Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.

    In all, 12 of the top 26 players in the world are teeing it up at Torrey Pines.

    Though Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines, he hasn’t broken 71 in his past seven rounds there and hasn’t played all four rounds since 2013, when he won. Last year he missed the cut after rounds of 76-72, then lasted just one round in Dubai before he withdrew with back spasms.

    After a fourth back surgery, Woods didn’t return to competition until last month’s Hero World Challenge, where he tied for ninth. 

    Woods has committed to play both the Farmers Insurance Open and next month's Genesis Open at Riviera, which benefits his foundation. 

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    Even on 'off' day, Rahm shoots 67 at CareerBuilder

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 20, 2018, 12:36 am

    Jon Rahm didn’t strike the ball as purely Friday as he did during his opening round at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    He still managed a 5-under 67 that put him just one shot off the lead heading into the weekend.

    “I expected myself to go to the range (this morning) and keep flushing everything like I did yesterday,” said Rahm, who shot a career-low 62 at La Quinta on Thursday. “Everything was just a little bit off. It was just one of those days.”


    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    After going bogey-free on Thursday, Rahm mixed four birdies and two bogeys over his opening six holes. He managed to settle down around the turn, then made two birdies on his final three holes to move within one shot of Andrew Landry (65).

    Rahm has missed only five greens through two rounds and sits at 15-under 129. 

    The 23-year-old Spaniard won in Dubai to end the year and opened 2018 with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He needs a top-6 finish or better this week to supplant Jordan Spieth as the No. 2 player in the world.