A Great Day for the English

By Brian HewittApril 10, 2008, 4:00 pm
All of the sudden, in the middle of the first round of The Masters Thursday a British Invasion broke out. America hadnt seen anything like this since the Beatles and the Rolling Stones commandeered their rock-and-roll beachhead on our musical shores way back in the early '60s.
 
For a while Nick Dougherty was atop the leaderboard at 2 under. Then he was replaced by Luke Donald, who was in turn supplanted by Ian Poulter who eventually gave way to Justin Rose. Englishman all of them.
 
Poulter carded a 2-under 70 and his 8-iron off the tee that found the bottom of the cup on the par-3 16th was one of only a handful of eagles on a day that saw the field post relatively high scores more fit for a U.S. Open.
 
Rose, who led this same tournament after one round last year, signed for 68. Donald shot 73. Daugherty slipped to 74. Brit Lee Westwood made it round in 69. Englishman Paul Casey needed 71 blows.
 
But this was tonic for all the Brits'and Euros-- who are acutely aware that no one from their continent has won a Masters'an event that used to be their province'since Jose Maria Olazabal way back in 1999. Worse, if Irelands Padraig Harrington hadnt broken through at last years Open Championship at Carnoustie in Scotland, European golfers would still be looking for their first major championship in the 21st century.
 
The accompanying story line of the day was the halting start of World No. 1 Tiger Woods. The four-time Masters champion and prohibitive favorite at Augusta National parred his first 12 holes and stumbled to bogeys on the 13th and 14th holes. He bounced back with a chip-in eagle on 15 and came home in 72. That left him four shots behind Rose and South African Trevor Immelman, the first round co-leaders.
 
Didnt really get anything goin my way today, Woods said afterward.
 
Zach Johnson, known more for his gritty but surprising Masters win last year than for his length off the tee, caught most people by surprise with an opening 70. He was 3 under at one point and tied for the lead which temporarily sent the headlines writers scurrying.
 
Johnson Magic, was one suggested 72-point banger head. And that was topped by the wag who suggested that, if Johnson found himself at the top of the leaderboard by nightfall Sunday, the headline should read: Johnson and Johnson.
 
But it was the boys from Old Blighty that stole the shoe in the Georgia Pines on Day 1.
 
I think we all know hes got the potential to play great golf on the main stage, Poulter said of Rose, who was 2 over after four holes.
 
But do any of the Brits have the potential to be their first among their countrymen to score a green jacket since Nick Faldo did so for the third time 12 years ago.
 
You still have to really manage your game around here, said Donald, cognizant that there are 54 holes remaining. And you have to have a very good short game.
 
Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - The Masters
  • Leaderboard - The Masters
  • Video: The Masters Tournament
  • Getty Images

    Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 8:57 pm

    Rain, lightning and hail pushed the Joburg Open to a Monday finish, with India’s Shubhankar Sharma holding a four-stroke lead with 11 holes to play in Johannesburg.

    Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. local time.

    South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen will have a 3-foot putt for birdie to move within three shots of Sharma wen play resumes at the Randpark Golf Club. Sarma is at 22 under par.

    Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland and James Morrison of England are tied for third at 14 under. Pulkkanen has 10 holes remaining, Morrison 11.

    The top three finishers who are not already exempt, will get spots in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.

     

     

    Stricker, O'Hair team to win QBE Shootout

    By Will GrayDecember 10, 2017, 8:55 pm

    It may not count in the official tally, but Steve Stricker is once again in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour.

    Stricker teamed with Sean O'Hair to win the two-person QBE Shootout, as the duo combined for a better-ball 64 in the final round to finish two shots clear of Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. It's the second win in this event for both men; Stricker won with Jerry Kelly back in 2009 while O'Hair lifted the trophy with Kenny Perry in 2012.

    Stricker and O'Hair led wire-to-wire in the 54-hole, unofficial event after posting a 15-under 57 during the opening-round scramble.

    "We just really gelled well together," Stricker said. "With his length the first day, getting some clubs into the greens, some short irons for me, we just fed off that first day quite a bit. We felt comfortable with one another."


    Full-field scores from the QBE Shootout


    Stricker won 12 times during his PGA Tour career, most recently at the 2012 Tournament of Champions. More recently the 50-year-old has been splitting his time on the PGA Tour Champions and captained the U.S. to a victory at the Presidents Cup in October. O'Hair has four official Tour wins, most recently at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.

    Pat Perez and Brian Harman finished alone in third, four shots behind Stricker and O'Hair. Lexi Thompson and Tony Finau, the lone co-ed pairing in the 12-team event, finished among a tie for fourth.

    Getty Images

    Wie takes shot at LPGA dress code in crop top

    By Grill Room TeamDecember 10, 2017, 5:33 pm

    The new LPGA dress code got mixed reviews when it was announced in July, and Michelle Wie is taking full advantage of her offseason with no restrictions.

    The 28-year-old former U.S. Women's Open champion is keeping her game sharp while back in her home state of Hawaii, but couldn't help taking a shot at the rules while doing it, posting a photo to Instagram of her playing golf in a crop top with the caption, "Offseason = No dress code fine."

    Offseason = No dress code fines #croptopdroptop

    A post shared by Michelle Wie (@themichellewie) on

    Wie isn't the first to voice her displeasure with the rules. Lexi Thompson posted a similar photo and caption to Instagram shortly after the policy was announced.

    Lexi, Finau 3 back going into final QBE round

    By Associated PressDecember 9, 2017, 11:58 pm

    NAPLES, Fla. - Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry shot an 8-under 64 in modified alternate shot and shared the lead Saturday with Steve Stricker and Sean O'Hair going into the final round of the QBE Shootout.

    McDowell (Northern Ireland) and Lowry (Ireland), the only international players among the 12 teams at Tiburon Golf Club, began to erase a five-shot deficit with an eagle and birdie on the opening two holes and they dropped only one shot all day in blustery conditions.

    Stricker and O'Hair started the back nine with a pair of bogeys, rallied with three straight birdies and then dropped one last shot from the bunker on the 17th.

    The teams were tied at 18-under 126.

    Lexi Thompson, the lone LPGA player in the field, teamed with Tony Finau for a 66 that put them in the hunt going into the final round. Thompson and Finau were three shots behind.

    McDowell and Lowry tied for ninth in the World Cup last year. They grew up playing Irish junior golf and appreciate the difficulty of alternate shot, even the modified version when both players hit tee shots.


    Full-field scores from the QBE Shootout


    ''To go out and shoot 8 under in that format in these conditions today, I think it speaks volumes about the fact we're both playing pretty well,'' McDowell said. ''We both had an opportunity to hit some good shots out there today and make some good putts, and it gives you a little bit of momentum going in there tomorrow.''

    The format for the final round is better ball.

    Stricker and O'Hair have each won the QBE Shootout, but not as partners.

    Stricker, captain of the winning American team at the Presidents Cup, said he couldn't get comfortable and put O'Hair in some tough spots.

    ''We should have probably been two or three shots better than what we were,'' Stricker said. ''Sean played another good round of golf and made some great putts in there to keep us going, but all in all, we're in good shape.''

    Keegan Bradley and Brendan Steele shot 70 and were two shots out of the lead.

    Defending champions Matt Kuchar and Harris English had a 72 and were tied for last place with Zach Johnson and Charley Hoffman, who shot 70. They were nine shots out of the lead.