They said it: Best quotes from Masters Day 2

By Golf Channel DigitalApril 8, 2017, 12:35 am

It was another tough day at Augusta National, but there are plenty of big storylines heading into the weekend. Here are some of the best quotes from the second round of the Masters.

“It was a really good day today at Augusta National. I'm very pleased with the second round of this Masters and we're in a position now where we, I think, can go out there and win this thing and certainly make a run.” – Jordan Spieth

“Man, I fought hard today. It was a hard, difficult day. And I'm really tired. It was obvious there in the end. I played the last five holes very poorly after a really good round. But I'm even par through two rounds. I'm four back. I'm in a good spot heading into the weekend, just feel I should be a few more ahead.” – Phil Mickelson

“Last year in the finals it was conditions similar to this, more in defense mode rather than attack. That’s a completely different mindset, trying not to make bogeys instead of going out there to make birdies. I’ll approach tomorrow with a completely different mindset.” – Rory McIlroy

“It's a lot of fun to see your name up there. Hopefully, I can go ahead and keep it up on the big leaderboards," - Rickie Fowler

“I’m trying to change a little bit on that aspect, like I said before, on accepting things. Sometimes things are going to go great and sometimes they are not going to go great. So I still have to get so much better at it. But what that shows me is that I have a lot of room for improvement, so that is something very positive,” – Sergio Garcia

“I'm a competitor, so I like to believe in myself. I like to think that I've had a lot of good finishes here, and my goal is to keep fighting with these guys…I'm not thinking winning this tournament, but I'm thinking continuing to play well and see what happens.” – Fred Couples

“I did all the hard work, hanging in there all day, and then bogeying 17 and 18 is a little soft. But I'm around for the weekend and I think that – I'm not sure what's going to happen.” – Ernie Els

“It’s an incredible feeling coming back as a Masters champion here anyway. The reception on the weekend gets better. Of course, the crowds have their favorites, like Freddie’s and Tom Watson’s and Mickelson’s, but it’s definitely a feeling out there today when I got it going that they like seeing us past champions doing well. If I can get a couple birdies early tomorrow, feed off a bit of crowd momentum, it will be a fun day,” – Adam Scott

“I can remember when I was an amateur, I can remember playing, and I couldn’t believe that I would be done in the clubhouse having a cheeseburger. The round would go by so fast. Yesterday was just such a challenging day. I was exhausted by the time I was finished.” – Matt Kuchar

“Pretty cool to get to play the weekend in your first Masters. To be in a position to be able to make a run on the weekend makes it even more special,” – William McGirt

“It would be nice if we can get given a little bit today by the golfing gods. It’d just be nice to play the weekend again. It’s an amazing place to be, especially with the weather that’s coming in. And it really would be nice to kind of make it into the weekend. We had that in our own arms but we let it slip,” – Danny Willett

“I’ve been playing great, my ball striking is great, so if I can get myself more looks and make a couple of them, I can get some more, you know, the putter going a little hotter and maybe get a good round going. You never know,” – Jon Rahm

“It’s always great to play the weekend. And on the 30th anniversary (of his win in 1987), it would be very nice to play the weekend here 30 years later,” – Larry Mize

Getty Images

Langer not playing to pass Irwin, but he just might

By Tim RosaforteJanuary 16, 2018, 1:40 pm

Bernhard Langer goes back out on tour this week to chase down more than Hale Irwin’s PGA Tour Champions record of 45 career victories. His chase is against himself.

“I’m not playing to beat Hale Irwin’s record,” Langer told me before heading to Hawaii to defend his title at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai. “I play golf to play the best I can, to be a good role model, and to enjoy a few more years that are left.”

Langer turned 60 on Aug. 27 and was presented a massage chair by his family as a birthday gift. Instead of reclining (which he does to watch golf and football), he won three more times to close out a seven-win campaign that included three major championships. A year prior, coming off a four-victory season, Langer told me after winning his fourth Charles Schwab Cup that surpassing Irwin’s record was possible but not probable. With 36 career victories and 11 in his last two years, he has changed his tone to making up the nine-tournament difference as “probable.”

“If I could continue a few more years on that ratio, I could get close or pass him,” Langer told me from his home in Boca Raton, Fla. “It will get harder. I’m 60 now. It’s a big challenge but I don’t shy away from challenges.”


Bernhard Langer, Hale Irwin at the 1991 Ryder Cup (Getty Images)


Langer spent his off-season playing the PNC Father/Son, taking his family on a ski vacation at Big Sky in Yellowstone, Montana, and to New York for New Year’s. He ranks himself as a scratch skier, having skied since he was four years old in Germany. The risk of injury is worth it, considering how much he loves “the scenery, the gravity and the speed.”

Since returning from New York, Langer has immersed himself into preparing for the 2018 season. Swing coach Willy Hoffman, who he has worked with since his boyhood days as an as assistant pro in Germany, flew to Florida for their 43rd year of training.

“He’s a straight shooter,” Hoffman told me. “He says, 'Willy, every hour is an hour off my life and we have 24 hours every day.'"

As for Irwin, they have maintained a respectful relationship that goes back to their deciding singles match in the 1991 Ryder Cup. Last year they were brought back to Kiawah Island for a corporate appearance where they reminisced and shared the thought that nobody should ever have to bear what Langer went through, missing a 6-footer on the 18th green. That was 27 years ago. Both are in the Hall of Fame.

"I enjoy hanging out with Hale," Langer says.

Langer’s chase of Irwin’s record is not going to change their legacies. As Hoffman pointed out, “Yes, (Bernhard) is a rich man compared to his younger days. He had no money, no nothing. But today you don’t feel a difference when you talk to him. He’s always on the ground.”

Getty Images

McIlroy: Ryder Cup won't be as easy as USA thinks

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 16, 2018, 1:18 pm

The Americans have won their past two international team competitions by a combined score of 38-22, but Rory McIlroy isn’t expecting another pushover at the Ryder Cup in September.

McIlroy admitted that the U.S. team will be strong, and that its core of young players (including Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler) will be a force for the next decade. But he told reporters Tuesday at the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship that course setup will play a significant role.

“If you look at Hazeltine and how they set the course up – big, wide fairways, no rough, pins in the middle of greens – it wasn’t set up for the way the Europeans like to play,” McIlroy said, referring to the Americans’ 17-11 victory in 2016. “I think Paris will be a completely different kettle of fish, so different.”

At every Ryder Cup, the home team has the final say on course setup. Justin Rose was the most outspoken about the setup at Hazeltine, saying afterward that it was “incredibly weak” and had a “pro-am feel.” 

And so this year’s French Open figures to be a popular stop for European Tour players – it’s being held once again at Le Golf National, site of the matches in September. Tommy Fleetwood won last year’s event at 12 under.

“I’m confident,” McIlroy said. “Everything being all well and good, I’ll be on that team and I feel like we’ll have a really good chance.

“The Americans have obviously been buoyant about their chances, but it’s never as easy as that. The Ryder Cup is always close. It always comes down to a few key moments, and it will be no different in Paris. I think we’ll have a great team and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.” 

Getty Images

Floodlights may be used at Dubai Desert Classic

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 16, 2018, 12:44 pm

No round at next week’s Dubai Desert Classic will be suspended because of darkness.

Tournament officials have installed state-of-the-art floodlighting around the ninth and 18th greens to ensure that all 132 players can finish their round.

With the event being moved up a week in the schedule, the European Tour was initially concerned about the amount of daylight and trimmed the field to 126 players. Playing under the lights fixed that dilemma.

“This is a wonderful idea and fits perfectly with our desire to bring innovation to our sport,” European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley said. “No professional golfer ever wants to come back the following morning to complete a round due to lack of daylight, and this intervention, should it be required, will rule out that necessity.”

Next week’s headliners include Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia and Henrik Stenson. 

Getty Images

Ortiz takes Web.com Tour clubhouse lead in Bahamas

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:19 am

Former Web.com Tour Player of the Year Carlos Ortiz shot a bogey-free, 4-under-par 68 Monday to take the clubhouse lead in The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay.

Four other players - Lee McCoy, Brandon Matthews, Sung Jae Im and Mark Anderson - were still on the course and tied with Ortiz at 6-under 210 when third-round play was suspended by darkness at 5:32 p.m. local time. It is scheduled to resume at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday.

Ortiz, a 26-year-old from Guadalajara, Mexico, is in search of his fourth Web.com Tour victory. In 2014, the former University of North Texas standout earned a three-win promotion on his way to being voted Web.com Tour Player of the Year.

McCoy, a 23-year-old from Dunedin, Fla., is looking to become the first player to earn medalist honors at Q-School and then win the opening event of the season.