Like No Place on Earth

By Mike RitzApril 9, 2003, 4:00 pm
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Theres no place like it on earth. Its a tournament like no other. Augusta National and the Masters.
 
Even on a gray, rainy day the course sparkles. For golfers, Augusta National is nirvana. For players, for fans, for reporters.
 
Where else can you watch Davis Love and David Duval try to overpower a par-5, then turn around and immediately catch Gary Player and Seve Ballesteros ' two past champions and the two best sand players in the world ' practicing out of a greenside bunker?
 
And then theres Tiger. We all remember when young Mr. Woods played a practice round with Arnold Palmer (four Masters championships) and Jack Nicklaus (six Masters championships) a few years ago. Jacks comment to Arnold: This kids going to win more green jackets than the two of us have together.
 
Now, Tiger is on the verge of becoming the first man to win this august championship three years in a row. How could you bet against him?
 
Not since Nicklaus, has a player been this well suited for a green jacket. The Masters and Augusta National favor a powerful player who can boom drives and hit high, soft irons into the devilish greens.
 
But even more importantly, the Masters and Augusta National favor the smartest, shrewdest player who is a master at managing the course - knowing where to hit his drive on No. 10 so the ball catches just the right slope and bounds the maximum distance down the fairway; knowing when to play away from the pin on No. 12; understanding how ' and when ' to hit a cut driver to allow access to a back left pin.
 
This course has so many challenging subtleties that the player who has experienced them ' and overcome them ' has a huge advantage. Tiger fits the bill. It takes a few years to actually understand this golf course, he said. You just have to think your way around this golf course. You have to miss the golf ball in the correct spots.
 
Yes, the three-time Masters champion certainly knows what it takes to succeed here: You've just got to go out there and plodt your way along You can hit a good golf shot here and end up 50 feet away because it catches the wrong side of a slope.
 
Perhaps only Nicklaus and Palmer know those slopes as well as Woods. I feel as if I have a pretty good understanding of how to play each and every hole, Tiger said of Augusta National.
 
Then theres the other half of Tigers brain that allows him to handle the intense pressure of the back-nine of the Masters on Sunday. It actually goes beyond handling the pressure ; he thrives under it. I feel I can handle a lot, he understates.
 
We know Tiger has his eye on the records and the history of his game. They are a major part of what drives him. I really would like to win this week, he said. I think it would be huge to win three Masters (in a row). No ones ever done it before; and Ive been able to do certain things in golf that no ones ever done before.
 
Tiger is on the brink of setting yet another record. Do you doubt hes focused enough to gather it in? If youre ever in that position, you want to take advantage of it, because it doesnt happen all the time, he said.
 
To push the point to where its almost ludicrous: if Woods does win this week, then next year hell be in that position again and then again?
 
He could match Jacks six green jackets by the time hes 30. And dont you know that Tiger knows that very well?
 

Related Links:
  • 2003 Masters Tournament Mini-Site
  • Tournament Coverage
  • The Augusta National Membership Debate: A Chronology
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    Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 24, 2018, 12:27 am

    SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.

    Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.

    “It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

    Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.

    “What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”

    Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.

    “When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”

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    Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:07 am

    SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.

    Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.

    Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim. 

    Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.

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    Farmers inks 7-year extension through 2026

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:04 am

    SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance has signed a seven-year extension to serve as the title sponsor for the PGA Tour event at Torrey Pines, it was announced Tuesday. The deal will run through 2026.

    “Farmers Insurance has been incredibly supportive of the tournament and the Century Club’s charitable initiatives since first committing to become the title sponsor in 2010,” PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.


    Farmers Insurance Open: Articles, photos and videos


    “We are extremely grateful for the strong support of Farmers and its active role as title sponsor, and we are excited by the commitment Farmers has made to continue sponsorship of the Farmers Insurance Open for an additional seven years.

    In partnership with Farmers, the Century Club – the tournament’s host organization – has contributed more than $20 million to deserving organizations benefiting at-risk youth since 2010. 

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    Woods impresses DeChambeau, Day on Tuesday

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 23, 2018, 11:27 pm

    SAN DIEGO – Bryson DeChambeau played with Tiger Woods for the first time Tuesday morning, and the biggest surprise was that he wasn’t overcome by nerves.

    “That’s what I was concerned about,” DeChambeau said. “Am I just gonna be slapping it around off the tee? But I was able to play pretty well.”

    So was Woods.

    DeChambeau said that Woods looked “fantastic” as he prepares to make his first PGA Tour start in a year.

    “His game looks solid. His body doesn’t hurt. He’s just like, yeah, I’m playing golf again,” DeChambeau said. “And he’s having fun, too, which is a good thing.”

    Woods arrived at Torrey Pines before 7 a.m. local time Tuesday, when the temperature hadn’t yet crept above 50 degrees. He warmed up and played the back nine of Torrey Pines’ South Course with DeChambeau and Jason Day.

    “He looks impressive; it was good to see,” Day told PGATour.com afterward. “You take (Farmers) last year and the Dubai tournament out, and he hasn’t really played in two years. I think the biggest thing is to not get too far ahead, or think he’s going to come back and win straight away.


    Farmers Insurance Open: Articles, photos and videos


    “The other time he came back, I don’t think he was ready and he probably came back too soon. This time he definitely looks ready. I think his swing is really nice, he’s hitting the driver a long way and he looks like he’s got some speed, which is great.”

    Woods said that his caddie, Joe LaCava, spent four days with him in South Florida last week and that he’s ready to go.

    “Before the Hero I was basically given the OK probably about three or four weeks prior to the tournament, and I thought I did pretty good in that prep time,” Woods told ESPN.com, referring to his tie for ninth in the 18-man event.

    “Now I’ve had a little more time to get ready for this event. I’ve played a lot more golf, and overall I feel like I’ve made some nice changes. I feel good.”

    Woods is first off Torrey Pines’ North Course in Wednesday’s pro-am, scheduled for 6:40 a.m. local time.