Masters Resumes With Weir in the Lead

By Golf Channel NewsroomApril 12, 2003, 4:00 pm
AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) -- Most of the 93-man field returned to Augusta Naitonal under clear, blue skies Saturday to finish up the second round of the rain-soaked Masters. Canada's Mike Weir led the field at 6 under, while Tiger Woods was trying to overcome a poor start to defend his title.
Mike WeirSeeking an unprecedented third straight Masters victory, Woods stumbled through the rain-delayed first round Friday. He finished with a 4-over-par 76 - his worst opening at a major since he was a 20-year-old amateur playing the U.S. Open in 1996.
When Woods arrived at the clubhouse for a brief layover before the second round, he had yet to make a birdie and was seven shots behind his amateur playing partner, Ricky Barnes.
Barnes thoroughly enjoyed his first trip to the Masters, opening with a 69 despite the toughest scoring conditions for a first round at Augusta National since 1988.
Asked whether he expected to be seven strokes ahead of the world's greatest player after 18 holes, Barnes deadpanned: 'You're kidding.'
When the horn sounded to end play for the day, the sun had already slipped behind the Georgia pines, and Woods was back on track. He played the first 10 holes of the second round at 2 under and was 2 over for the tournament.
Woods was still far off the pace being set by a left-hander seeking his first major - no, not Phil Mickelson but Weir, one of just four players in the red when darkness fell.
Only 18 players made it through 36 holes on Friday.
Ricky BarnesBarnes was in the exclusive below-par group, still holding on at 1 under when play stopped. First-round leader Darren Clarke, who opened with a 66, dropped two strokes in the second round but remained at 4 under.
Then there's Mickelson, still lugging around that dreaded title of Best Player Never To Win A Major. It looks as if Lefty will be in contention again, standing 2 under with seven holes left to play in the morning.
This one is a bit of a surprise. Mickelson took a month off for the birth of his third child and didn't feel as though his game was in peak condition for a major.
'I'm not going to look at my position until the end of the second round,' he said. 'I want to see how I play the last seven before I really try to find out where I stand.'
Woods got off to a dreadful start: four errant swings left him with a 40-foot chip for bogey. It dropped, a shot that might be worth remembering if he makes a charge on the weekend.
But Woods still has a lot of work to do.
Not only was it his highest first-round score in a major since turning pro, it was his worst start at any PGA Tour-sanctioned event since a 76 in the 1998 Western Open.
Even more ominous: No Masters champion has ever started with worse than a 75; no winner has ever been 10 strokes out of the lead after 18 holes; and Woods has never opened with worse than a 72 in any of his 37 career victories.
He was unfazed by the deficit.
'Obviously, I would like to be a little better than I am,' he said. 'But I'm on the right track. I don't have to play a great second round, just have to play a solid one. That's what I'm doing.'
Indeed, Woods got himself on track with a birdie on his 22nd hole. He unleashed a big smile, licked his finger and gave the sign that indicated, 'Put one on the board.'
He birdied two of the next three as well, but a bogey on his next-to-last hole put a bit of a damper on Tigermania.
'I'm right where I need to be,' Woods said. 'I've still got a chance at the tournament, and there's a long way to go. The leaders aren't going to run away and hide here with the way the conditions are.'
Weir bolstered his score by making a bunch of 5- and 6-foot comebackers after sliding putts past the hole. Those are the shots of a Masters champion-in-the-making.
'I have always felt like the next step for me is to try to contend in major championships,' Weir said. 'So far, I'm doing it. We'll see if I can do it all week.'
On Saturday, some of the attention at Augusta will be diverted to a grassy patch of land along Washington Road, a half-mile from the front gate to Magnolia lane.
Martha Burk and opponents of the club's all-male membership are scheduled to protest, along with those who support Augusta National's right to keep women out.
They won't be alone on the weedy 5.1-acre lot that Sheriff Ronald Strength picked a half-mile from Augusta National's main gate to keep the one-day protest from snarling Masters traffic.
Among the other groups planning to picket are the Rev. Jesse Jackson's Rainbow/PUSH Coalition; Todd Manzi of Tampa, Fla., Burk's self-appointed nemesis; and Joseph J. Harper of Cordele, Ga., the leader of a Ku Klux Klan splinter group.
Woods wasn't the only golfer with back-to-back Masters championships having a miserable day.
Jack Nicklaus opened with an 85 - his worst score in 2,235 career rounds on the tour. He had plenty of company, too, with 14 other players scoring 80 or higher.
Overall, the average first-round score - 76.2 - was the highest at the Masters since 1988.
Nicklaus preferred to blame himself. He repeatedly wound up on the wrong side of the flag. Even when he was in good position, the putts wouldn't drop.
'The course wasn't much of a problem,' he said. 'I was.'

Related Links:
  • 2003 Masters Tournament Mini-Site
  • Tournament Coverage
  • Photo Gallery
  • Augusta National Course Tour
  • The Augusta National Membership Debate: A Chronology
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    Ortiz takes Tour clubhouse lead in Bahamas

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

    Former 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 Tour victory. In 2014, the former University of North Texas standout earned a three-win promotion on his way to being voted 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.

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    Randall's Rant: Can we please have some rivalries?

    By Randall MellJanuary 16, 2018, 12:00 am

    Memo to the golf gods:

    If you haven’t finalized the fates of today’s stars for the new year, could we get you to deliver what the game has lacked for so long?

    Can we get a real, honest-to-goodness rivalry?

    It’s been more than two decades since the sport has been witness to one.

    With world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this week, an early-season showdown would percolate hope that this year might be all about rivalries.

    It seems as if the stars are finally aligned to make up for our long drought of rivalries, of the recurring clashes you have so sparingly granted through the game’s history.

    We’re blessed in a new era of plenty, with so many young stars blossoming, and with Tiger Woods offering hope he may be poised for a comeback. With Johnson, McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler among today’s dynamic cast, the possibility these titans will time their runs together on the back nine of Sundays in majors excites.

    We haven’t seen a real rivalry since Greg Norman and Nick Faldo sparred in the late '80s and early '90s.

    Woods vs. Phil Mickelson didn’t really count. While Lefty will be remembered for carving out a Hall of Fame career in the Tiger era, with 33 victories, 16 of them with Tiger in the field, five of them major championships, we get that Tiger had no rival, not in the most historic sense.

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    Phil never reached No. 1, was never named PGA Tour Player of the Year, never won a money title and never dueled with Woods on Sunday on the back nine of a major with the title on the line.  Still, it doesn’t diminish his standing as the best player not named Tiger Woods over the last 20 years. It’s a feat so noteworthy it makes him one of the game’s all-time greats.

    We’ve been waiting for an honest-to-goodness rivalry since Faldo and Norman took turns ruling at world No. 1 and dueling in big events, including the back nine of multiple majors. 

    In the '70s, we had Nicklaus-Watson. In the '60s, it was Nicklaus-Palmer. In the '40s and '50s, it was Hogan, Snead and Nelson in a triumvirate mix, and in the '20s and '30s we had Hagen and Sarazen.

    While dominance is the magic ingredient that can break a sport out of its niche, a dynamic rivalry is the next best elixir.

    Dustin Johnson looks capable of dominating today’s game, but there’s so much proven major championship talent on his heels. It’s hard to imagine him consistently fending off all these challengers, but it’s the fending that would captivate us.

    Johnson vs. McIlroy would be a fireworks show. So would Johnson vs. Thomas, or Thomas vs. Day or McIlroy vs. Rahm or Fowler vs. Koepka ... or any of those combinations.

    Spieth is a wild card that intrigues.

    While he’s not a short hitter, he isn’t the power player these other guys are, but his iron game, short game, putter and moxie combine to make him the most compelling challenger of all. His resolve, resilience and resourcefulness in the final round of his British Open victory at Royal Birkdale make him the most interesting amalgam of skill since Lee Trevino.

    Woods vs. any of them? Well, if we get that, we promise never to ask for anything more.

    So, if that cosmic calendar up there isn’t filled, how about it? How about a year of rivalries to remember?

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    McIlroy: 2018 may be my busiest season ever

    By Will GrayJanuary 15, 2018, 6:28 pm

    With his return to competition just days away, Rory McIlroy believes that the 2018 season may be the most action packed of his pro career.

    The 28-year-old has not teed it up since the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in early October, a hiatus he will end at this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. It will be the start of a busy spring for the Ulsterman, who will also play next week in Dubai before a run of six PGA Tour events leading up to the Masters.

    Speaking to the U.K.'s Telegraph, McIlroy confirmed that he will also make a return trip to the British Masters in October and plans to remain busy over the next 12 months.

    "I might play more times this year than any before. I played 28 times in 2008 and I'm on track to beat that," McIlroy said. "I could get to 30 (events), depending on where I'm placed in the Race to Dubai. But I'll see."

    McIlroy's ambitious plan comes in the wake of a frustrating 2017 campaign, when he injured his ribs in his first start and twice missed chunks of time in an effort to recover. He failed to win a worldwide event and finished the year ranked outside the top 10, both of which had not happened since 2008.

    But having had more than three months to get his body and swing in shape, McIlroy is optimistic heading into the first of what he hopes will be eight starts in the 12 weeks before he drives down Magnolia Lane.

    "I've worked hard on my short game and I'm probably feeling better with the putter than I ever have," McIlroy said. "I've had a lot of time to concentrate on everything and it all feels very good and a long way down the road."

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    What's in the Bag: Sony Open winner Kizzire

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 15, 2018, 6:05 pm

    Patton Kizzire earned his second PGA Tour victory by winning a six-hole playoff at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Take a look inside his bag.

    Driver: Titleist 917D3 (10.5 degrees), with Fujikura Atmos Black 6 X shaft

    Fairway Wood: Titleist 917F2 (16.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Blue 95 TX shaft

    Hybrid: Titleist 913H (19 degrees), with UST Mamiya AXIV Core 100 Hybrid shaft

    Irons: Titleist 718 T-MB (4), 718 CB (5-6), 718 MB (7-9), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

    Wedges: Titleist SM7 prototype (47, 52, 56, 60 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

    Putter: Scotty Cameron GoLo Tour prototype

    Ball: Titleist Pro V1x