All For One Green Jacket

By Golf Channel NewsroomApril 12, 2003, 4:00 pm
AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) -- The Masters roared to life Saturday behind an unlikely leader -- Jeff Maggert -- and a familiar charge by Tiger Woods, who was one putt away from going home and wound up in great position to make history. Maggert overcame a double bogey on No. 11 with five birdies over his final six holes for a 6-under 66, giving him a two-stroke lead over fast-fading Mike Weir.
 
'This is a position you dream about,' said Maggert, who has never held the 54-hole lead in a major championship.
 
Woods, fighting for the right to keep playing, made the cut on the number and then blitzed Augusta National for a bogey-free 66 that left him only four shots behind.
 
No one has ever won three straight Masters. No one has ever trailed by 11 shots after 36 holes and gone on to win at Augusta National.
 
None of this seemed plausible when Woods stood behind a small pine tree in the ninth fairway on his final hole of the second round. He managed to squeeze a shot under the shoulder-high branches and scratch out a par just to make the cut.
 
That was only the appetizer on a spectacular day of sunshine and golf, which proved to be far more appealing than a tepid protest against Augusta National's all-male membership that took place a half-mile down the road.
 
Sunday was shaping up to be even better.
 
Maggert has won only once in the previous nine times he has led going into the final round, and there were plenty of stars lurking behind.
 
Weir, who had a six-stroke lead at one point, staggered home with a 39 on the back for a 3-over 75 and was at 213.
 
Vijay Singh, who won the Masters three years ago, and former PGA champion David Toms each had 70 and were another stroke back.
 
Woods had some familiar company at 1-under 215 -- Phil Mickelson, who made crucial par putts on the final three holes, the last from 20 feet that suspended on the back lip of the cup before falling. That gave Lefty a 72 and another chance to win his first major.
 
Cheers crisscrossed Augusta National, but they were never far from Woods.
 
He started the third round at 5-over par with 42 players in front of him. When he played the last of his 26 holes Saturday, he was in a tie for fifth.
 
Woods proved to be a prophet.
 
'If I can be even par or under par, I'll be right where I need to be,' he said after walking off the ninth green, relieved to have made his 102nd consecutive cut.
 
He is right there, four strokes and four players separating him from slipping on the green jacket for the third straight year.
 
It was quite a show -- unlike the demonstrations down Washington Road.
 
Martha Burk had been pointing to Saturday of the Masters for her National Council of Women's Organizations' protest.
 
About 40 people joined the cause, a group that was outnumbered by police and media.
 
'You've got to make a choice -- is it discrimination or is it dollars,' Burk said, threatening to boycott companies whose executives belong to the club. 'Today we are protesters with placards. Tomorrow, women will protest with their pocketbooks.'
 
People will probably pay top dollar for a Masters ticket Sunday.
 
While Woods commanded most of the attention, he was among 16 players within six shots of the lead going into the final round.
 
Two-time Masters champion Jose Maria Olazabal, a forgotten man in golf this year, quietly crept into contention with a 71 and also was at 1-under 215.
 
Len Mattiace (69), Jim Furyk (71) and Jonathan Byrd (71), who grew up about 30 miles away in South Carolina and is playing his first Masters, were at 216.
 
As usual, Amen Corner was up to its old tricks.
 
Woods finally found some momentum at No. 11 by holing a 50-foot birdie putt that made a left turn as it got to the hole and dropped. On the par-5 13th, his second shot somehow stayed out of the water and he chipped close for birdie.
 
Others weren't so fortunate.
 
Former British Open champion Paul Lawrie was four strokes out of the lead until Amen Corner left him cursing -- a double bogey on No. 12, a triple bogey on the 13th.
 
U.S. Amateur champion Ricky Barnes, the first amateur in 42 years to play in the final two groups on the weekend at the Masters, was also at 2 under and zeroing in on the lead when he took double bogey on the 12th.
 
Barnes shot 40 on the back for a 75 and was at 2-over 218.
 
Weir paid a steep price. His approach into the 11th plugged into the side of the hill inside the hazard line, and he played a delicate shot to limit the damage to a bogey. Two holes later, he went for the 13th green and landed in Rae's Creek to make another bogey.
 
The tenacious Canadian is far from out of it. He has trailed going into the final round in all five of his PGA Tour victories, two of them earlier this year.
 
Maggert was a victim, too, when he took double bogey on No. 11. With quiet confidence, he struck back quietly.
 
His birdie blitz might have been a real show-stopper if Maggert had not three-putted for par on the 15th. Still, he hit his tee shot to five feet on the par-3 16th, made the first birdie of the round on No. 17 from 15 feet and closed out his 66 from 20 feet on the 18th.
 
The tone was set early, when 75 players returned to complete the second round under blazing blue skies.
 
For a while, it appeared as though history might be revisited.
 
A three-putt bogey from 25 feet on No. 8 put Woods on the verge of missing the cut, just as Jack Nicklaus did in 1967 when he was trying to win his third straight Masters.
 
Woods was 5 over -- right on the cut line -- when he sprayed his drive behind a pine tree that blocked his path to the green. He hit a waist-high shot that ran up the slope and dropped into a bunker, then calmly blasted out to three feet above the hole.
 
If he missed, his chances were over.
 
'That putt was either going in or going off the green,' Woods said.
 
He powered it in the right side for perhaps the most important par he has ever made at the Masters. Woods was still 11 strokes behind Weir, but still in the game.
 
Weir finished with a 68 and had a four-stroke lead after 36 holes, the first time a Canadian has been in the lead at the Masters since Stan Leonard in 1959.
 
The sun was out, big names lit up the scoreboard, and the Masters finally felt like its old self after a week of rain. Though the protest site was a short walk down the road from Magnolia Lane, it seemed so far away.
 
'Do you think any of these people care what's going on out there?' Nicklaus said. 'That's the bottom line. None of these people really care what's going on outside the gates of this club. Come on. It's a golf tournament.'
 
And by the look of it Saturday, not just any tournament.
 
Related Links:
  • 2003 Masters Tournament Mini-Site
  • Tournament Coverage
  • Photo Gallery
  • Augusta National Course Tour
  • The Augusta National Membership Debate: A Chronology
     
    Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
  • Watch: Pros try to hit 2-yard wide fairway in Dubai

    By Grill Room TeamNovember 18, 2017, 5:20 pm

    While in Dubai for the DP World Tour Championship, the European Tour prestented a little challenge to Ross Fisher, Richie Ramsay, Nicolas Colsaerts and Soren Kjeldsen. On a stretch of road outside of town, the four players had to try and hit a 2-yard wide fairway. Check out the results.

    Rose (65) leads Rahm, Frittelli in Dubai

    By Associated PressNovember 18, 2017, 3:24 pm

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Justin Rose will take a one-shot lead into the final day of the season-ending Tour Championship as he attempts to win a third straight title on the European Tour and a second career Race to Dubai crown.

    The 37-year-old Rose made a gutsy par save on the final hole after a bogey-free round for a 7-under 65 Saturday and overall 15-under 201.

    The Englishman leads South African Dylan Frittelli, who produced the day's best score of 63, and Spain's Jon Rahm, who played in the same group as Rose and matched his 65.

    Rose is looking to be Europe's season-ending No. 1 for the second time. His leading rival for the Race to Dubai title, Tommy Fleetwood, is only two shots behind here after a second straight 65 on the Earth course of Jumeirah Golf Estates.

    Fleetwood did his chances no harm by overcoming a stuttering start before making eight birdies in his final 11 holes to also post a 65. The 26-year-old Englishman was tied for fourth place at 13 under, alongside South African Dean Burmester (65) and Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat (67), who closed with five birdies in a row.

    ''So, last day of the season and I've got a chance to win the Race to Dubai,'' Fleetwood said. ''It's cool.''


    DP World Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the DP World Tour Championship


    Masters champion Sergio Garcia, the only other player with a chance to win the Race to Dubai title, is tied for 13th on 10 under after a 67.

    Fleetwood had a lead of 256,737 points going into the final tournament and needs to equal or better Rose's finishing position to claim the title. If Rose doesn't finish in the top five and Garcia doesn't win, Fleetwood will have done enough.

    Rose is hoping to win a third straight tournament after triumphs in China and Turkey.

    Rose, who made some long putts for birdies apart from chipping in on the 13th hole, looked to be throwing away his advantage on the par-5 18th, when his second shot fell agonizingly short of the green and into the water hazard. But with his short game in superb condition, the reigning Olympic champion made a difficult up-and-down shot to stay ahead.

    ''That putt at the last is a big confidence-builder. That broke about 18 inches right-to-left downhill. That's the kind of putt I've been hoping to make. That was a really committed stroke. Hopefully I can build on that tomorrow,'' said Rose. ''I know what I need to do to stay at the top of the leaderboard. If I slip up tomorrow, he's (Fleetwood) right there. He's done everything he needs to do on his end, so it's a lot of fun.''

    The last player to win three tournaments in a row on the European Tour was Rory McIlroy, when he won the Open Championship, the WGC-Bridgestone and the PGA Championship in 2014.

    Fleetwood was 1 over after seven holes but turned it on with a hat trick of birdies from the eighth, and then four in a row from No. 13.

    ''I wanted to keep going. Let's bring the tee times forward for tomorrow,'' quipped Fleetwood after closing with a birdie on the 18th. ''Just one of them strange days where nothing was going at all. A couple sloppy pars on the par 5s, and a bad tee shot on fifth and I was 1-over through seven on a day where scoring has been really good ... Ninth and 10th, felt like we had something going ... it was a really good last 11 holes.''

    If Park is nervous, she sure doesn't show it

    By Randall MellNovember 17, 2017, 11:24 pm

    NAPLES, Fla. – Sung Hyun Park says she can feel her heart pounding every time she steps to the first tee.

    She says she always gets nervous starting a round.

    You don’t believe it, though.

    She looks like she would be comfortable directing a sky full of Boeing 737s as an air traffic controller at Incheon International Airport . . .

    Or talking people off the ledges of skyscrapers . . .

    Or disarming ticking bombs . . .

    “In terms of golf, I always get nervous,” she insists.

    Everything about Park was at odds with that admission Friday, after she took control halfway through the CME Group Tour Championship.

    Her Korean nickname is “Dan Gong,” which means “Shut up and attack.” Now that sounds right. That’s what she looks like she is doing, trying to run roughshod through the Tour Championship in a historic sweep of all the LPGA’s most important awards and honors.

    Park got just one look at Tiburon Golf Club before this championship began, playing in Wednesday’s pro-am. Then she marched out Thursday and shot 67, then came out Friday and shot 65.

    At 12 under overall, Park has a three-shot lead on Caroline Masson and Sarah Jane Smith.

    She is six shots up on Lexi Thompson, who leads the CME Globe point standings in the race for the $1 million jackpot.

    She is 11 shots up on world No. 1 Shanshan Feng.

    And 11 shots up on So Yeon Ryu, who leads the Rolex Player of the Year point standings.


    CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship


    There’s a long way to go, but Park is in position to make an epic sweep, to win the Tour Championship, that CME Globe jackpot, the Rolex Player of the Year Award, the Rolex Rookie of the Year Award, the Vare Trophy for low scoring average, the LPGA money-winning title and the Rolex world No. 1 ranking.

    Nobody’s ever dominated a weekend like that in women’s golf.

    It’s all there for the taking now, if Park can keep this going.

    Park has another nickname back in South Korea. Her fans call her “Namdalla.” That means “I am different.” She’ll prove that if she owns this weekend.

    Park, 24, isn’t assuming anything. She’s humbly aware how much talent is flooding the LPGA, how the tour’s depth was underscored in a year where five different players have reigned as world No. 1, five different players won majors and 22 different winners stepped forward in 32 events.

    “I don’t think it’s quite that far a lead,” Park said of her three-shot advantage. “Two, three shots can change at any moment.”

    About those nerves that Park insists plague her, even Hall of Famer Judy Rankin can’t see it.

    Not when Park unsheathes a driver on a tee box.

    “She’s the most fearless driver of the ball out here,” Rankin said. “I would put Lexi a close second and everybody else a distant third. She hits drivers on holes where you shouldn’t, and she hits it long and she just throws it right down there between hazard stakes that are 10 yards apart, like it’s nothing. Now, that’s a little hyperbole, but she will hit driver almost everywhere.”

    David Jones, Park’s caddie, will attest to that. He was on Park’s bag when she won the U.S. Women’s Open in July and won the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open in August.

    “She reaches for driver a lot because she is a good driver,” Jones said. “She isn’t reckless. She’s as accurate with a driver as she is a 3-wood.”

    Park and Thompson played together in the first round. Park is eighth on tour in driving distance, averaging 270 yards per drive, and Thompson is third, averaging 274.

    Thompson loves to hit driver, too, but . . . 

    “Lexi hit a lot of 3-woods compared to us when we played together yesterday,” Jones said.

    Jones doesn’t find himself talking Park out of hitting driver much.

    “It’s really simple,” Jones said. “When you hit driver as straight as she does, why mess around?”

    Count Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee, a student of the swing, among admirers of Park’s abilities.

    “No other swing in the game comes close to her technical perfection and elegance in my opinion,” Chamblee tweeted Friday.

    Come Sunday, Park hopes to complete a perfect sweep of the LPGA’s most important awards.

    National champion Sooners meet with Trump in D.C.

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 17, 2017, 11:10 pm

    The national champion Oklahoma men's golf team visited Washington D.C. on Frday and met with President Donald Trump.

    Oklahoma topped Oregon, 3 1/2 to 1 1/2, in last year's national final at Rich Harvest Farms to win their second national championship and first since 1989.

    These pictures from the team's trip to Washington popped up on social media late Friday afternoon: