Clarke Leads Woods Struggles

By Golf Channel NewsroomApril 11, 2003, 4:00 pm
AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) -- Tiger Woods' pursuit of history at Augusta National got off to a shaky start Friday, opening the Masters with a 76 -- his worst first-round score in a major since turning pro.
Sunshine finally broke through after nearly a week of nastiness, but Woods and many others probably wished they could have stayed home another day.
Only seven of the 93 players broke par in the first round, which was delayed a day by rain. Jack Nicklaus shot a 13-over-par 85 -- his worst round ever at the Masters.
Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland wasn't bothered at all by the soggy course, grabbing the lead with a 66. And this was a stunner: U.S. Amateur champion Ricky Barnes was tied for second with Sergio Garcia after a 69.
The 22-year-old Barnes will always have something to tell his kids. Playing with Woods, the Masters rookie beat the two-time defending champion by seven strokes.
Woods struggled to his worst opening round in a tour event since a 76 to start the Western Open in 1998. The only time he opened with a round this poor at a major was the 1996 U.S. Open.
Something else to consider. The world's greatest golfer had a birdie-less round for the first time since the third day of the 1999 British Open.
At least Woods had a chance to quickly make up for his poor showing. Since Thursday's play was rained out, Augusta National scheduled 36 holes in an attempt to get the tournament back on track.
After a quick break, Woods and the others returned to the course for Round 2.
Starting on the back side, Clarke missed a 2-footer to save par at No. 11. That was about the only thing that went wrong. He got rolling with an eagle at 15 and was flawless the rest of the way, adding two more birdies and no bogeys.
Garcia birdied two of the last three holes to drop three strokes behind the leader, who had the largest 18-hole advantage at the Masters since Nicklaus was three-up in 1982.
The Spaniard was joined on the leaderboard by Barnes, a senior at Arizona and son of a former NFL player. The amateur looked a bit nervous on the first hole, taking a bogey, but he finished with one of the rare birdies on the brutal 18th.
Nick Price and Mike Weir were at 70. Toru Taniguchi and David Toms also broke par with 71s. That was it for players in the red.
Woods, trying to become the first golfer ever to win three straight green jackets, started his day with four ugly shots. As he walked off 18, his streak of 10 straight sub-par rounds at Augusta was over.
Last year, the world's best player started with a 2-under 70, leaving him three strokes off the lead. He went on to an easy three-stroke victory over Retief Goosen, joining Nicklaus and Nick Faldo as the only players to win two straight green jackets.
If Woods can win this week, he'll take home his fourth Masters championship. That would tie him with Arnold Palmer and leave Woods trailing only Nicklaus, who has six.
As Woods arrived at the first tee, the sun finally cut through the clouds for the first time since Sunday.
Waiters, busboys and cooks wandered out from the clubhouse to get a look at his opening shot.
It wasn't pretty. Woods appeared to mishit his drive, which didn't even make it to the bunker at the top of the hill. Playing from the edge of the rough, Woods knocked his second shot over the right side of the green.
He was too strong with his next shot, chipping past the flag and watching the ball catch a ridge and slide off the opposite side of the green. He was short with his next chip, the ball rolling back off the green as the gallery groaned and Woods stood with his hands on his hips, a look of disbelief on his face.
He quickly recovered, chipping in his fifth shot from about 40 feet for an improbable bogey.
Woods ran into more trouble at the par-3 fourth, where his tee shot went long and he failed to save par. At No. 5, Woods lost another stroke after driving into the 10-foot-deep bunker, which he had planned to avoid.
While 36 holes were scheduled Friday, it seemed likely only a handful of groups would get in both rounds before dark. The rest will have to return Saturday morning to finish the second round.
The course, stretched to 7,290 yards by changes last year, was playing even longer. The fairways were softened by persistent rain, which forced the first round to be called off for the first time in 64 years.
'It was so long. Wow!' said Gary Player, who shot 82. 'I'm hitting 3-wood and 5-wood on every hole. I need more strength.'
Sunny conditions were expected for the weekend and that was good news for Masters officials, who hoped to squeeze in enough play for the tournament to end on Sunday as usual.
Sandy Lyle hit the opening tee shot. Fanfare was minimal. Club chairman Hootie Johnson wasn't on the first tee since the Masters did not have honorary starters for the first time since 1982.
Johnson may have other things on his mind.
Martha Burk, head of the National Council of Women's Organizations, and the Rev. Jesse Jackson called on any Augusta National members who oppose the club's all-male policy to resign.
'If they do not agree with this policy, they must resign their memberships,' said Burk, who plans to lead protests on Saturday.
The 63-year-old Nicklaus, an Augusta National member, had seven bogeys and three double-bogeys for his worst Masters round ever. His previous low point: 81 on a wind-swept day in 2000.
'The course wasn't much of a problem,' he said. 'I was.'
Nicklaus rarely got his irons close to the hole. When he did, the putts wouldn't fall.
'I was horrible with the putts,' he said, 'and where I was putting from wasn't very good, either.'
Related Links:
  • 2003 Masters Tournament Mini-Site
  • Tournament Coverage
  • 2003 Masters 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.
  • Trump playing 'quickly' with Tiger, DJ

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 24, 2017, 1:33 pm

    Updated at 11:14 a.m. ET

    An Instagram user known as hwalks posted photos to her account that included images of Tiger Woods, President Trump and Dustin Johnson Friday at Trump National, as well as video of Woods' swing.

    Original story:

    Tiger Woods is scheduled to make his return to competition next week at his Hero World Challenge. But first, a (quick) round with the President.

    President Donald Trump tweeted on Friday that he was going to play at Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Fla., alongside Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

    Woods and President Trump previously played last December. Trump, who, according to has played 75 rounds since taking over the presidency, has also played over the last year with Rory McIlroy, Ernie Els and Hideki Matsuyama.

    Chawrasia leads major champs in Hong Kong

    By Associated PressNovember 24, 2017, 1:19 pm

    HONG KONG – S.S.P. Chawrasia extended his lead at the Hong Kong Open to two strokes Friday after a 4-under 66 in the second round.

    Chawrasia, who had led by one at the Hong Kong Golf Club, is at 9-under 131 overall and took as much as a five-stroke lead at one point.

    ''Yesterday I was putting very well, and today, also I make some up and downs. I saved a couple of short putts. That's why I think I'm leading by two shots most probably,'' the Indian said. ''The next two days, I'm just looking forward.''

    Full-field scores from the UBS Hong Kong Open

    Thomas Aiken (64) is second, followed by Alexander Bjork (66), Joakim Lagergren (66), Poom Saksansin (68) and Julian Suri (67) at 5 under 135.

    Aiken's round was the lowest of the tournament.

    ''It is tough out there. The greens are really firm. You've got to hit the fairway,'' Aiken said. ''If you get above the holes, putts can get away from you.''

    Justin Rose (69) had six birdies, but three bogeys and a double-bogey at the par 3 12th kept him at 3 under for the tournament.

    Masters champion Sergio Garcia (71), playing for the first time in Hong Kong, was at even par, as was defending champion Sam Brazel (71) and 2014 champion Scott Hend (67).

    ''I have to play better,'' Garcia said. ''The way I felt like I played, it's difficult. This kind of course, you need to play well to shoot a good score.''

    Day (68) just one back at Australian Open

    By Nick MentaNovember 24, 2017, 6:40 am

    Jason Day posted a second-round 68 to move himself just one off the lead held by Lucas Herbert through two rounds at the Emirates Australian Open. Here’s where things stand after 36 holes in Sydney.

    Leaderboard: Herbert (-9), Day (-8), Cameron Davis (-7), Anthony Quayle (-6), Matt Jones (-4), Cameron Smith (-4), Nick Cullen (-4), Richard Green (-4)

    What it means: Day is in search of his first worldwide victory of 2017. The former world No. 1 last visited the winner’s circle in May 2016, when he won The Players at TPC Sawgrass. A win this week would close out a difficult year for the Aussie who struggled with his game while also helping his mother in her battle with cancer. Day’s last victory on his native soil came in 2013, when he partnered with Adam Scott to win the World Cup of Golf for Australia at Royal Melbourne.

    Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open

    Round of the day: Herbert followed an opening 67 with a round of 66 to vault himself into the lead at The Australian Golf Club. He made six birdies, including four on his second nine, against a lone bogey to take the outright lead. The 22-year-old, who held the lead at this event last year and captured low-amateur honors in 2014, is coming off a runner-up finish at the NSW Open Championship, which boosted him from 714th to 429th in the Official World Golf Ranking. His 5-under score was matched by Dale Brandt-Richards and Josh Cabban.

    Best of the rest: Matt Jones, who won this event over Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott two years ago, turned in 4-under 67. Jones is best known to American audiences for his playoff victory at the 2014 Shell Houston Open and for holding the 36-hole lead at the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, which was eventually won by Day. Jones will start the weekend five shots off the lead, at 4 under par.

    Biggest disappointment: Spieth has a lot of work to do this weekend if he expects to be in the title picture for the fourth year in a row. Rounds of 70-71 have him eight shots behind the lead held by Herbert. Spieth made a birdie and a bogey on each side Friday to turn in level par. The reigning champion golfer of the year has finished first, second and first at this event over the last three years.

    Storyline to watch this weekend: The Australian Open is the first event of the 2018 Open Qualifying Series. The leading three players who finish in the top 10 and who are not otherwise exempt will receive invites into next summer’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.

    Ogilvy urges distance rollback of ball

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 8:49 pm

    Add Geoff Ogilvy to the chorus of voices calling for a distance rollback of the golf ball.

    In an interview before the start of the Emirates Australian Open, Ogilvy said a "time-out" is needed for governing bodies to deal with the issue.

    "It's complete nonsense," he said, according to an Australian website. "In my career, it’s gone from 300 yards was a massive hit to you’re a shorter hitter on tour now, legitimately short. It’s changed the way we play great golf courses and that is the crime. It isn’t that the ball goes 400, that’s neither here nor there. It’s the fact the ball going 400 doesn’t makes Augusta work properly, it functions completely wrong.’’

    Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open

    Ogilvy used an example from American baseball to help get his point across to an Australian audience.

    “Major League Baseball in America, they use wooden bats, and everywhere else in baseball they use aluminium bats,’’ he said. “And when the major leaguers use aluminium bats they don’t even have to touch it and it completely destroys their stadiums. It’s just comedy.

    “That’s kind of what’s happened to us at least with the drivers of these big hitters; We’ve completely outgrown the stadiums. So do you rebuild every stadium in the world? That’s expensive. Or make the ball go shorter? It seems relatively simple from that perspective.’’

    Ogilvy, an Australian who won the 2006 U.S. Open, said he believes there will be a rollback, but admitted it would be a "challenge" for manufacturers to produce a ball that flies shorter for pros but does not lose distance when struck by recreational players.