Watson tops Oosthuizen in Masters playoff

By April 8, 2012, 10:26 pm

With a par on the second hole of sudden death, Bubba Watson won the 76th Masters, defeating Louis Oosthuizen. It is Watson's first major championship victory.

After halving the 18th in par for the second time on Sunday, both hit poor drives at the par-4 10th. Oosthuizen wound up shy of the green in two with a long iron. Seemingly without a shot in the pine straw on the right, Watson hit a 40-yard hook with a wedge from 176 yards to 10 feet. Oosthuizen could not get up-and-down from below the green, allowing Watson to cozy his birdie putt for the win.

Watson is a winner in the second major championship playoff of his career. He lost in a three-hole aggregate playoff to Martin Kaymer at the 2010 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits.

Both players finished 72 holes at 10 under par to force the 15th playoff in Masters history, as Oosthuizen closed with 3-under 69, while Watson was one better.

Oosthuizen made an albatross at the par-5 second hole - the first at that hole and the fourth in tournament history - to take the lead on 10 under. He would play even-par golf to the clubhouse.

At the par-3 16th hole, Watson capped a string of four consecutive birdies to tie Oosthuizen atop the leaderboard.

After the duo made a couple of all-world pars on the 17th hole, Watson and Oosthuizen smashed drives up the closing par-4. Both had a look at birdie to win the green jacket, but neither connected to force extra golf.

In 1935, Gene Sarazen made an albatross at the par-5 15th hole en route to forcing a 36-hole playoff with Craig Wood. Sarazen won the playoff by five for his lone Masters title.

Reminiscent of the 72nd hole at the 2006 U.S. Open at Winged Foot, Mickelson hit an errant tee shot at the par-3 fourth hole which ricocheted off of a grandstand and into bamboo. Having to turn his club over to play twice right-handed, Mickelson made triple-bogey six - a blow from which he would never recover. He shot even-par 72 to finish at 8 under and in a tie for third with playing partner Peter Hanson, Lee Westwood and Matt Kuchar.

Despite a birdie at the last hole, Westwood again fell short of a major championship. He closed with 4-under 68, finished at 8 under and a pair of shots out of the playoff. 

Kuchar left several changes on the edges of the cup, as he finished tied with Mickelson and Westwood at 8 under and in a tie for third place.

Hanson opened with a bogey, failed to make a birdie until the par-5 15th hole but made three at the last to join the group at 8 under.

Tiger Woods had his worst finish as a professional at the Masters, closing with 2-over 74 to finish at 5 over with Rory McIlroy. McIlroy improved on his final-round 80 from a year ago by four shots, but finished T-40 with Woods, Henrik Stenson (81) and Aaron Baddeley (74).

Luke Donald shot 4-under 68 to close out the tournament, maintaining the No. 1 spot in the Official World Golf Ranking while finishing at 3 over and tied for 32nd place.

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Watch: Tiger's Saturday birdies at Honda

By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 24, 2018, 8:07 pm

Tiger Woods looks in complete control of his iron play at PGA National.

Four back to start the day, Woods parred his first seven holes before pouring in his first Saturday birdie via this flagged iron from 139 at the par-4 eighth:

Woods hit three more quality approaches at 9, 10 and 11 but couldn't get a putt to drop.

The lid finally came off the hole at No. 12 when he holed a key 17-footer for par to keep his scorecard clean.

One hole later, Woods added a second circle to that card, converting this 14-footer for a birdie-3 that moved him back into red figures at 1 under par for the week.

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O. Fisher, Pepperell share lead at Qatar Masters

By Associated PressFebruary 24, 2018, 5:13 pm

DOHA, Qatar - Oliver Fisher birdied his last four holes in the Qatar Masters third round to share the lead at Doha Golf Club on Saturday.

The 29-year-old Englishman shot a 7-under 65 for an overall 16-under 200. Eddie Pepperell (66) picked up shots on the 16th and 18th to catch his compatriot and the pair enjoy a two-shot lead over American Sean Crocker (67) in third.

David Horsey (65) was the biggest mover of the day with the Englishman improving 31 places for a share of fourth place at 12 under with, among others, Frenchman Gregory Havret and Italian Andrea Pavan.

Fisher, winner of the 2011 Czech Open, made some stunning putts on his way in. After an eight-footer on the par-4 15th, he then drove the green on the short par-4 16th for an easy birdie, before making a 12-footer on the 17th and a 15-footer on the 18th.

Like Pepperell, Fisher also had just one bogey to show on his card, also on the 12th hole.

Full-field scores from the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters

''I gave myself some chances coming in and thankfully I made them,'' said Fisher, who has dropped to 369th in the world rankings.

''You can quite easily make a few bogeys without doing that much wrong here, so it's important to be patient and keep giving yourself chances.''

Pepperell, ranked 154th in the world after a strong finish to his 2017 season, has been a picture of consistency in the tournament. He was once again rock-solid throughout the day, except one bad hole - the par-4 12th. His approach shot came up short and landed in the rocks, the third ricocheted back off the rocks, and he duffed his fourth shot to stay in the waste area.

But just when a double bogey or worse looked imminent, Pepperell holed his fifth shot for what was a remarkable bogey. And he celebrated that escape with a 40-feet birdie putt on the 13th.

''I maybe lost a little feeling through the turn, but I bounced back nicely and I didn't let it bother me,'' said the 27-year-old Pepperell, who hit his third shot to within four feet on the par-5 18th to join Fisher on top.

The long-hitting Crocker is playing on invites on the European Tour. He made a third eagle in three days - on the par-4 16th for the second successive round.

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Tiger Tracker: Honda Classic

By Tiger TrackerFebruary 24, 2018, 4:45 pm

Tiger Woods is making his third start of the year at the Honda Classic. We're tracking him at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

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Uihlein fires back at Jack in ongoing distance debate

By Randall MellFebruary 24, 2018, 4:32 pm

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Wally Uihlein challenged Jack Nicklaus’ assault this week on the golf ball.

Uihlein, an industry force as president and CEO of Titleist and FootJoy parent company Acushnet for almost 20 years, retired at year’s start but remains an adviser.

In an interview with ScoreGolf on Friday, Uihlein reacted to Nicklaus’ assertions that the ball is responsible for contributing to a lot of the troubles the game faces today, from slow play and sagging participation to the soaring cost to play.

Uihlein also took the USGA and The R&A to task.

The ball became a topic when Nicklaus met with reporters Tuesday at the Honda Classic and was asked about slow play. Nicklaus said the ball was “the biggest culprit” of that.

“It appears from the press conference that Mr. Nicklaus was blaming slow play on technology and the golf ball in particular,” Uihlein said. “I don’t think anyone in the world believes that the golf ball has contributed to the game’s pace of play issues.”

Nicklaus told reporters that USGA executive director Mike Davis pledged over dinner with him to address the distance the golf ball is flying and the problems Nicklaus believes the distance explosion is creating in the game.

“Mike Davis has not told us that he is close, and he has not asked us for help if and when he gets there,” Uihlein said.

ScoreGolf pointed out that the Vancouver Protocol of 2011 was created after a closed-door meeting among the USGA, The R&A and equipment manufacturers, with the intent to make any proposed changes to equipment rules or testing procedures more transparent and to allow participation in the process.

“There are no golf courses being closed due to the advent of evolving technology,” Uihlein said. “There is no talk from the PGA Tour and its players about technology making their commercial product less attractive. Quite the opposite, the PGA Tour revenues are at record levels. The PGA of America is not asking for a roll back of technology. The game’s everyday player is not advocating a roll back of technology.”

ScoreGolf said Uihlein questioned why the USGA and The R&A choose courses that “supposedly” can no longer challenge the game’s best players as preferred venues for the U.S. Open, The Open and other high-profile events.

“It seems to me at some point in time that the media should be asking about the conflict of interest between the ruling bodies while at the same time conducting major championships on venues that maybe both the athletes and the technology have outgrown,” he said. “Because it is the potential obsolescence of some of these championship venues which is really at the core of this discussion.”