Rain Postpones First Round of Masters

By Golf Channel NewsroomApril 10, 2003, 4:00 pm
AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) -- The first round of the Masters was called off Thursday because of a water-logged course and the threat of thunderstorms. Tiger Woods' quest for a third straight green jacket is now set to begin Friday at Augusta National Golf Club.
 
Officials hope to get in 36 holes Friday, though more rain was expected in the morning.
 
It was the first time since 1939 that the opening round was postponed because of rain.
 
Heavy showers have fallen on Augusta since Sunday. The course didn't open for practice Monday, and the popular par-3 contest was rained out Wednesday.
 
The club did its best to get the first round in. The scheduled 8:10 AM EDT start time was pushed back 30 minutes in an attempt to get the course in shape.
 
Weather WarningEarly Thursday, the start time was moved back again to 11 AM. About 10 minutes before play was to begin, officials announced that no golf would be played.
 
It was ugly out there - the course was too wet to play, more thunderstorms were expected and the temperature wasn't expected to crack 50 degrees
 
After the storm front moves through, warm, sunny days are expected this weekend.
 
But it figures to be a grueling tournament, and the best-conditioned players will certainly have an advantage on a 36-hole day.
 
'We're going to play about 15,000 yards and about 10,000 of it is going to be wet,' Rocco Mediate. 'Fitness is a good thing.'
 
Scott Hoch was strolling to the driving range when the announcement came.
 
'My approach stays the same, whether it's a regular PGA Tour, the Masters or the British Open. I just go out and play,' Hoch said. 'Thirty-six holes doesn't bother me. I'm old, but I'm in good shape.
 
Now, instead of working on his short game, Hoch had to decide what movie to see with his wife.
 
'I'm sure there are some things she wants to see,' He said. 'There's some things I want to see, too. I usually just have to work with her on that.'
 
It was the first time an entire round was postponed since 1983, when rain washed out Friday's play.
 
Rain now joins the list of other themes running concurrently at this year's Masters - Woods' pursuit of a third straight victory and Martha Burk's protest against the club's all-male membership.
 
The sun disappeared Sunday morning, replaced by persistent rain. The golf course was closed on Monday, and practice was limited the next two days.
 
Many fans were coated with mud on their way out of the course. Some cars struggled to escape the gooey parking lots.
 
The driving range remained open even after play was called. Players would hit a shot, then duck back under their umbrellas in a futile attempt to stay dry.
 
'If I can, I want to practice a little, hit a few balls, get used to the greens and go from there,' two-time Masters winner Bernhard Langer said.
 
With all the rain, Augusta National figures to play longer than ever - another advantage for Woods in his pursuit of history.
 
'It favors someone who is hitting the ball high and long and straight,' Woods said Wednesday. 'You've got to keep the ball in the fairway, but you've got to get it out there.'
 
The club already has said players won't be able to lift, clean and place their balls in the fairway. Mud on the ball makes it difficult to control where it's going, and control is everything at Augusta.
 
'Let's face it,' said Ernie Els, a four-time winner this year and expected to be one of the top contenders. 'Tiger's going to be there.'
 
Related Links:
  • Augusta, Ga., Weather
  • 2003 Masters Tournament Mini-Site
  • Tournament Coverage
  • The Augusta National Membership Debate: A Chronology
     

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  • Watch: Fleetwood gets emotional with family after Race to Dubai win

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 19, 2017, 5:30 pm

    Tommy Fleetwood took home the season-long Race to Dubai title on Sunday after a T-21 finish at the DP World Tour Championship.

    He was, understandably, emotional after learning his fate while sitting with his wife and baby following a career year in which he won the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship and the French Open and finished fourth at the U.S. Open.

    Luckily for us, cameras were rolling:

    Matsuyama after Koepka rout: 'Huge gap between us'

    By Will GrayNovember 19, 2017, 4:22 pm

    Hideki Matsuyama offered a blunt assessment after finishing 10 shots behind Brooks Koepka at the Japan Tour's Dunlop Phoenix event.

    Koepka waxed the field en route to successfully defending his title in Japan, shooting a 20-under par total that left him nine shots clear of a runner-up group that included PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Xander Schauffele. Koepka's score was one shot off the tournament record, and his margin for victory eclipsed Tiger Woods' eight-shot romp in 2004.

    Matsuyama appeared set to make a final-round charge after a birdie on No. 2 was followed by an ace on the par-3 third hole. But he played the next eight holes in 3 over and eventually finished alone in fifth place following a 2-under 69. Afterwards, he stacked his game up against that of Koepka in a telling comment to the Japan Times.

    "I feel there's a huge gap between us," Matsuyama said.

    The Japanese phenom entered the week ranked No. 4 in the world, though he will be passed in the next rankings by Jon Rahm following the Spaniard's win in Dubai. Matsuyama won twice this year on the PGA Tour, including the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, but he has largely struggled since missing out on a maiden major title at the PGA Championship, where he tied for fifth.

    Matsuyama was a runner-up to Koepka at the U.S. Open earlier this summer, and the 25-year-old seems headed back to the drawing board before defending his title at the Hero World Challenge in two weeks.

    "I don't know whether it's a lack of practice or whether I lack the strength to keep playing well," Matsuyama said. "It seems there are many issues to address."

    McCormick to caddie for Spieth at Aussie Open

    By Will GrayNovember 19, 2017, 2:21 pm

    When Jordan Spieth returns next week to defend his title at the Australian Open, he will do so without his regular caddie on the bag.

    Spieth and Michael Greller have combined to win 14 tournaments and three majors, including three events in 2017. But Greller's wife, Ellie, gave birth to the couple's first child on Oct. 13, and according to a report from the Australian Herald Sun he will not make the intercontinental trip to Sydney, where Spieth will look to win for the third time in the last four years.

    Instead, Spieth will have longtime swing coach and native Aussie Cameron McCormick on the bag at The Australian Golf Club. McCormick, who won PGA Teacher of the Year in 2015, is originally from Melbourne but now lives in Texas and has taught Spieth since he was a rising star among the junior golf ranks in Dallas.

    While Greller has missed rounds before, this will be the first time as a pro that Spieth has used a different caddie for an entire event. Greller was sidelined with an injury last year in Singapore when Spieth's agent, Jay Danzi, took the bag, and trainer Damon Goddard has subbed in twice when Greller was sick, including this year at the Dean & DeLuca Invitational.

    Spieth's torrid 2015 season traced back to his win at The Australian in 2014, and he returned to Oz last year where he won a playoff at Royal Sydney over Cameron Smith and Ashley Hall.

    Rahm wins finale, Fleetwood takes Race to Dubai

    By Will GrayNovember 19, 2017, 1:42 pm

    Jon Rahm captured the final tournament on the European Tour calendar, a result that helped Tommy Fleetwood take home the season-long Race to Dubai title.

    Rahm shot a final-round 67 to finish two shots clear of Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Shane Lowry at the DP World Tour Championship. It's the second European Tour win of the year for the Spaniard, who also captured the Irish Open and won on the PGA Tour in January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

    "I could not be more proud of what I've done this week," Rahm told reporters. "Having the weekend that I've had, actually shooting 12 under on the last 36 holes, bogey-free round today, it's really special."

    But the key finish came from Justin Rose, who held the 54-hole lead in Dubai but dropped back into a tie for fourth after closing with a 70. Rose entered the week as one of only three players who could win the Race to Dubai, along with Sergio Garcia and Fleetwood, who started with a lead of around 250,000 Euros.


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    With Fleetwood in the middle of the tournament pack, ultimately tying for 21st after a final-round 74, the door was open for Rose to capture the title thanks to a late charge despite playing in half the events that Fleetwood did. Rose captured both the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open, and was one round away from a two-trophy photo shoot in Dubai.

    Instead, his T-4 finish meant he came up just short, as Fleetwood won the season-long race by 58,821 Euros.

    The title caps a remarkable season for Fleetwood, who won the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship as well as the French Open to go along with a pair of runner-up finishes and a fourth-place showing at the U.S. Open.

    "I find it amazing, the season starts in November, December and you get to here and you're watching the last shot of the season to decide who wins the Race to Dubai," Fleetwood said at the trophy ceremony. "But yeah, very special and something we didn't really aim for at the start of the year, but it's happened."