Players Prepare for Golf -- and Questions

By Golf Channel NewsroomApril 8, 2003, 4:00 pm
AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) -- Davis Love III has a plan for this year's Masters that begins as he drives through the gates of Augusta National and down Magnolia Lane.
At that moment, he pretends there is no controversy.
``I'm talking about playing golf this week,'' he said.
If only it was that easy.
The Masters begins Thursday, clouded by the issue of no woman members at Augusta National and the threat of protests outside one of golf's most hallowed courses.
Players preparing for the first major championship of the year were also preparing for outside distractions that have nothing to do with the speed of the greens or the modifications to the fifth hole.
They'll do their best to ignore them, judging from an informal survey by The Associated Press of about 18 players in the weeks before the Masters.
Among other things, players were asked their opinion of women membership at Augusta, whether the issue will taint this Masters and how they will handle any controversy once they get to the tournament.
While many players -- including Tiger Woods -- were in favor of women membership, they also said that as a private club, Augusta National has the right to invite whomever it wanted.
No golfer who spoke to The AP said he considered boycotting the event as a show of support.
``I don't think it would do any good for any player to boycott the Masters,'' Nick Price said.
``I'd like to see a woman member. I'd like to see a lot of them,'' Jeff Sluman said.
Asked how he would show his support for a woman member, Sluman said:
``I just did.''
To be sure, the war in Iraq has overshadowed a great many causes and concerns, and this one is no different.
``I just feel there are more important issues in the world right now than getting particular members in certain clubs,'' Ernie Els said.
A sampling of other comments:
--``It's become not just about a golf tournament anymore. It used to be the first major of the year, and everyone looked forward to that. Now, it's not that anymore, for a number of reasons.'' -- Tiger Woods.
-- ``I don't want anything to be a distraction. I'm there to play golf.'' -- Mike Weir.
-- ``Once you step inside Augusta National, you can't worry about what's going on outside the arena. If you do, you'll probably play horrendously.'' -- Jeff Sluman.
-- ``I have a vested interest in women being treated fairly and I don't think this is an important women's issue.'' -- Scott Verplank, father of two daughters.
-- ``I sit on the fence. I think they should have a woman member, they should have the right to do what they want. And you have the right to express your opinion.'' -- Jim Furyk.
--``All the peripheral stuff is going to detract a lot from the tournament. It's bad. Maybe Thursday, everything will be forgotten and we'll be on our way. But we're getting away from golf, and that's sad.'' -- Nick Price.
-- ``I just think there are a lot more issues out there that can help a lot more women and be beneficial to a lot more women than just letting a lady member in Augusta.'' -- Scott Hoch.
-- ``We don't have a say in what happens. Our only voice to effect any type of change is skipping the golf tournament, and that's not going to happen. The only time it would matter is if Tiger skipped it. That's the only way it would change. And I think that's entirely unfair to ask that of him, to have people put pressure on him to do that.'' -- David Duval.
-- ``I'm excited as hell to play and it won't bother me one single bit.'' -- Rich Beem.
-- ``If they host a world event and people have big-time problems with the membership, then they shouldn't go. For the last 50 years or so, to my knowledge, they've been going.'' -- Len Mattiace.
-- ``The Masters will be the Masters inside the gates. All that stuff is going to be in the newspapers, on television. But when we get inside the gates, it's going to be golf.'' -- Davis Love III.
Annika Sorenstam will be in Augusta on Wednesday to accept an award at the Golf Writers Association of America's annual dinner. She plans to leave as soon as she can because she wants nothing to do with the controversy.
``I want to get out of there. That's not something I like to be a part of,'' she said. ``I think it's bad for the game of golf. I hope we can find a solution to it and move on.''
Related Links:
  • 2003 Masters Tournament Mini-Site
  • Tournament Coverage
  • 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

    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.