Fans Try to Get the Most Out of Washout

By Golf Channel NewsroomApril 11, 2003, 4:00 pm
AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) -- Wet, tired and muddy, Steve Jennings and Paul Jaycox tromped toward the exit and back to the car.
They drove 14 hours from upstate New York to make it to The Masters by Thursday morning. They saw no golf.
After four days of drenching rain in Augusta, the place the two club pros came to see looked a lot like the place they left.
Up there, they call it Woodstock.
'I'm happy to be here, but it's kind of a bad day for us,' Jennings said, after The Masters was called because of rain.
They weren't alone.
Masters FansWith a light, steady rain falling, thousands of patrons waded through Augusta National, the famed golf course-now-turned-mud bog. They were caked in mud, holding umbrellas, walking through waterlogged grass and trying to salvage something from the first-day washout.
Several went souvenir shopping. One fan said it took him 30 minutes to wind his way through the lines simply to get into the main gift shop near the entrance to the course.
Others stood out in the rain, determined to see golf balls struck, even if it was just for practice.
They queued up four and five deep behind the ropes at the putting green, watching Jay Haas, Gary Player and others monotonously roll balls down the slick surface.
The scene was the same at the driving range, and at the short-game practice area, where Toshi Izawa flipped ball after ball out of the sand, all of them coming within inches of the hole he was aiming at.
'Wouldn't that be great if he was doing that on the course?' one fan said.
After the first opening-round rainout in 64 years, play was scheduled to begin at 7:30 a.m. ET Friday. Masters officials said they hoped to get through 36 holes. With as much as an inch of rain expected Thursday and into Friday morning, though, some players thought they were only dreaming.
'I'm not even going to worry about getting up at 5:30 tomorrow,' Chris DiMarco said. 'They're just not going to be able to play.'
This is the second straight year rain has wreaked havoc with this pristine course, a place so worried about its appearance that it has been known to ice down the azaleas so they'll bloom during Masters week.
When downpours came last year, groundskeepers spread thousands of pounds of pine straw in an attempt to sop up the moisture. But that plan failed when the straw was wetted down by more rain, turning the course into a smelly, muddy mess.
This year, the pine straw is gone. And, of course, the course hasn't been trampled as badly because there has been no action.
'It's a shame, because people come from all over the world to watch this,' 1986 champion Raymond Floyd said. 'I know the decision not to play was tough, but what else can you do?'
Wendell Pittenger, who owns golf courses in Minnesota, brought his fiancee here for the first time.
'We walked down to Amen Corner, came here to the driving range and now we're leaving,' Pittenger said. 'Maybe tomorrow.'
Groundskeeper Squeegee 2When they return, they will see a course made vastly more difficult. During practice rounds, some players were already complaining that rain has waterlogged the fairways so badly that the balls weren't rolling. It gives a big advantage to those who can hit the ball high and long.
Also, The Masters insists on not allowing players to lift and clean balls that get muddy in the fairway. It can make for some very interesting shots.
'If it's just a little water and mud, you can work with that,' Scott Hoch said. 'But if it's big globs, there's really not much you can do but hope.'
Being well prepared is key. Mike Weir came to Augusta without appropriate gear for the rain and temperatures in the 50s. He stopped at a local sporting goods store to buy some.
He wasn't the only one in the market for new duds.
'There's a lot of muck and slop out there,' said one mud-caked fan, who didn't want to give his name. 'Of course, if you say that here, you'll be banned from the course.'
Related Links:
  • 2003 Masters Tournament Mini-Site
  • Tournament Coverage
  • 2003 Masters Tournament Photo Gallery
  • The Augusta National Membership Debate: A Chronology

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    Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 24, 2018, 12:27 am

    SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.

    Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.

    “It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

    Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.

    “What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”

    Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.

    “When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”

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    Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:07 am

    SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.

    Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.

    Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim. 

    Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.

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    Farmers inks 7-year extension through 2026

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:04 am

    SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance has signed a seven-year extension to serve as the title sponsor for the PGA Tour event at Torrey Pines, it was announced Tuesday. The deal will run through 2026.

    “Farmers Insurance has been incredibly supportive of the tournament and the Century Club’s charitable initiatives since first committing to become the title sponsor in 2010,” PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

    Farmers Insurance Open: Articles, photos and videos

    “We are extremely grateful for the strong support of Farmers and its active role as title sponsor, and we are excited by the commitment Farmers has made to continue sponsorship of the Farmers Insurance Open for an additional seven years.

    In partnership with Farmers, the Century Club – the tournament’s host organization – has contributed more than $20 million to deserving organizations benefiting at-risk youth since 2010. 

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    Woods impresses DeChambeau, Day on Tuesday

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 23, 2018, 11:27 pm

    SAN DIEGO – Bryson DeChambeau played with Tiger Woods for the first time Tuesday morning, and the biggest surprise was that he wasn’t overcome by nerves.

    “That’s what I was concerned about,” DeChambeau said. “Am I just gonna be slapping it around off the tee? But I was able to play pretty well.”

    So was Woods.

    DeChambeau said that Woods looked “fantastic” as he prepares to make his first PGA Tour start in a year.

    “His game looks solid. His body doesn’t hurt. He’s just like, yeah, I’m playing golf again,” DeChambeau said. “And he’s having fun, too, which is a good thing.”

    Woods arrived at Torrey Pines before 7 a.m. local time Tuesday, when the temperature hadn’t yet crept above 50 degrees. He warmed up and played the back nine of Torrey Pines’ South Course with DeChambeau and Jason Day.

    “He looks impressive; it was good to see,” Day told afterward. “You take (Farmers) last year and the Dubai tournament out, and he hasn’t really played in two years. I think the biggest thing is to not get too far ahead, or think he’s going to come back and win straight away.

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    “The other time he came back, I don’t think he was ready and he probably came back too soon. This time he definitely looks ready. I think his swing is really nice, he’s hitting the driver a long way and he looks like he’s got some speed, which is great.”

    Woods said that his caddie, Joe LaCava, spent four days with him in South Florida last week and that he’s ready to go.

    “Before the Hero I was basically given the OK probably about three or four weeks prior to the tournament, and I thought I did pretty good in that prep time,” Woods told, referring to his tie for ninth in the 18-man event.

    “Now I’ve had a little more time to get ready for this event. I’ve played a lot more golf, and overall I feel like I’ve made some nice changes. I feel good.”

    Woods is first off Torrey Pines’ North Course in Wednesday’s pro-am, scheduled for 6:40 a.m. local time.