Soggy Course Limits Tigers Challengers

By Golf Channel NewsroomApril 11, 2003, 4:00 pm
AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) -- Tiger Woods probably didn't need any help to win another green jacket.
 
He got it anyway, courtesy of Mother Nature.
 
The cold rain that pummeled Augusta National, washing out the first round on Thursday, likely also washed out the chances many players had of denying Woods a record third straight win in the Masters.
 
The credentials for winning a green jacket used to be a smooth putter and a deft touch around the greens.
 
Now the price for admittance in the exclusive club of winners is hitting it long and high.
 
A soggy, long course and the promise of a numbing 36-hole marathon Friday leaves the future of this Masters in the hands of a few young, long-hitting players.
 
Woods tops that group, of course, and there are a handful of other players who have the type of game it will take to win.
 
Davis Love III, Vijay Singh, Ernie Els and Phil Mickelson come to mind. Behind them, though, are players who can compete week in and week out on the PGA Tour, but aren't likely to make a charge among the Georgia pines.
 
Fred Funk could compete at the last major, the PGA Championship, but his straight and short game isn't ready for the rigors of a wet Augusta National.
 
'I always look forward to playing the Masters but playing this long a course under these conditions is no fun time,' Funk said.
 
Funk was 163rd on the PGA Tour in driving distance last year, but still managed to contend in the final round of the PGA Championship before finishing fourth.
 
That's not likely on a water-logged Augusta National.
 
'The problem with me is I can't hit it as far,' Funk said. 'I just have to find some part of my game that is working. Hopefully, it will be the chipping and putting.'
 
That's the hope of the 'Boss of the Moss,' too. Loren Roberts finished third three years ago, but that was a different course and very different conditions.
 
'If you're not under 32 and can hit the ball 280, you've got no chance,' said the 47-year-old Roberts, who averaged 254 yards off the tee here two years ago.
 
Roberts finds himself among a group of players who will tee it up Friday knowing they are good enough to be invited to the Masters but also knowing they have almost no chance on a 7,290-yard course that will seem like it's playing 8,000 yards.
 
'There's 10 guys who can win it now, you think?' Roberts said.
 
Maybe not even that.
 
Woods, of course, is the prohibitive favorite to win his third straight green jacket. Look at the other 92 players in the field, though, and most can be quickly eliminated as serious contenders.
 
The fairways will be soft from four days of rain that dumped nearly 4 inches of rain on the course. The rough will be wet and deep because it hasn't been cut since it started raining.
 
The combination will prove lethal to most players. Some seem almost to be dreading the thought of trying to compete on an uneven playing field.
 
In a Wednesday practice round, Scott Hoch hit what he called a 'killer drive' and still needed a 3-wood to reach the par-4 18th hole, which was stretched last year to 465 yards.
 
Weir also hit a 3-wood, to a hole that a few years ago was a driver and wedge for many players.
 
'So if all of a sudden a 460 hole is playing like 510, you're going uphill into the wind on a cold day,' Weir said. 'That's pretty close to 8,000.'
 
David Toms got in two practice rounds and only made one bogey in each. Still, he found himself gazing wistfully at places the tees used to be.
 
'I was hoping there would be some common sense and they would move some of the tees up so we can have a fair tournament, bring some more people into it,' Toms said.
 
Friday promises to be a long, cold, wet 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.'
 
A few players saw the unusual chance to play the first two rounds of a major on the same day as something positive.
 
Start making some birdies, and you never know where momentum might lead you.
 
'If you're stroking the ball well it's a blessing,' Tom Lehman said. 'You get on a roll and you can play half the tournament in one day and put yourself in good position.'
 
Start playing badly, though, and the tournament will be over the same day it began.
 
'That's the other side to it,' Lehman said.
 
Related Links:
  • Augusta, Ga., Weather
  • 2003 Masters Tournament Mini-Site
  • Tournament Coverage
  • The Augusta National Membership Debate: A Chronology
     
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    Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

    Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

    Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

    “I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”


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    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

    “The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

    Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.

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    Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

    LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook hit a hybrid into the fairway bunker on the par-4 18th on a breezy Saturday afternoon at La Quinta Country Club, then chunked a wedge and raced a chip 20 feet past the hole.

    Kip Henley, the longtime PGA Tour caddie who guided Cook to a breakthrough victory at Sea Island in November, stepped in to give the 26-year-old former Arkansas star a quick pep talk.

    ''Kip said, 'Let's finish this like we did on the first day at the Nicklaus Course.' We made a big par putt on 18 there and he said, 'Let's just do the same thing. Let's get this line right and if you get the line right it's going in.'''

    It did, giving Cook an 8-under 64 and a one-stroke lead in the CareerBuilder Challenge going into the final round on the Stadium Course at PGA West. Fellow former Razorback Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were tied for second, and Jon Rahm and Scott Piercy were a another stroke back after a tricky day in wind that didn't get close to the predicted gusts of 40 mph.


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    ''I know that I wouldn't have wanted to play the Stadium today,'' Cook said. ''I think we got a great draw with the courses that we got to play on the days that we got to play them.''

    Cook played the final six holes on the front nine in 6 under with an eagle and four birdies.

    ''Starting on my fourth hole, I was able to make a birdie and kind of get the ball rolling and it never really stopped rolling,'' Cook said. ''Kip and I were doing really good at seeing the line on the greens.''

    After a bogey on 10, he birdied 11, 12 and 15 and parred the final three to get to 19-under 197.

    ''I think that tonight the nerves, the butterflies, all that will kind of be a little less,'' Cook said. ''I've been in the situation before and I was able to finish the job on Sunday. I think it would be a little different if I didn't play like I did on Sunday at Sea Island.''

    He's making his first start in the event.

    ''I came in from Hawaii on Monday, so I only had two days to prepare for three courses,'' Cook said.

    Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 at the Stadium. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. Winless on the PGA Tour, they will join Cook in the final threesome.

    ''Piller's a good guy and we have played a lot together and same with Cookie,'' said Landry, the only player without a bogey after 54 holes. ''Hope the Hogs are going to come out on top.''

    Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium to reach 17 under. The third-ranked Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.

    ''A little bit of a survival day,'' Rahm said.

    The wind was more of a factor on the more exposed and tighter Stadium Course.

    ''The course is firming up,'' Rahm said. ''I know if we have similar wind to today, if we shoot something under par, you'll be way up there contesting it over the last few holes.''

    Piercy had a 66 at the Stadium.

    ''I controlled my ball really well today,'' he said.

    Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on the Nicklaus Course, and Harkins shot 68 at the Stadium.

    Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time. The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.

    Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. He had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over.

    John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine - and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.

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    Phil misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

    Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.

    He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.

    How rare is his missing the cut there?

    The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.


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    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.

    The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.

    Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.

    Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.

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    Defending champ Gana co-leads Latin America Amateur

    By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 11:20 pm

    Toto Gana moved into early position to try to win a return trip to the Masters Saturday by grabbing a share of the first-round lead at the Latin America Amateur Championship.

    The defending champ posted a 3-under-par 68 at Prince of Wales Country Club in his native Chile, equaling the rounds of Argentina’s Mark Montenegro and Colombia’s Pablo Torres.

    They are one shot ahead of Mexico’s Alvaro Ortiz and Mario Carmona, Argentina’s Horacio Carbonetti and Jaime Lopez Rivarola and the Dominican Republic’s Rhadames Pena.

    It’s a bunched leaderboard, with 19 players within three shots of each at the top of the board in the 72-hole event.

    “I think I have my game under control,” said Gana, 20, a freshman at Lynn University. “I hit the ball very well, and I also putted very well. So, I am confident about tomorrow.”

    The LAAC’s champion will get more than a Masters invitation. He also will be exempt into the The Amateur, the U.S. Amateur and any other USGA event he is eligible to play this year. The champion and players who finish runner-up are also exempt into the final stages of qualifying for The Open and the U.S. Open.

    The LAAC was founded by the Masters, the R&A and the USGA, with the purpose of further developing amateur golf in South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.