A Cruel and Beautiful Game

By Rich LernerApril 24, 2003, 4:00 pm
Hooks and Cuts on Golfs Winding Trail, Part Two
 
Editor's Note: This is the second of a special, three-part Lerner's Journal, as Rich recounts his recent road trip covering the Masters, the Hootie & the Blowfish tournament and the LPGA in Las Vegas. Read part one, 'The King and His Scribes', here.
 
I left the Golf Writers of America banquet in Myrtle Beach Sunday night at 11, drove two and a half hours to Columbia, rested for five, then slid into Augusta Nationals muddy parking lot off Washington Road at about 8:30 Monday morning.
 
Masters FansThe rain was pelting. The skies were different shades of dark'like all the smoke stacks had conspired to choke off any chance of sunlight. It was a no-hope-for-a-nice-day look. In the car, I took a few minutes to brace myself for the elements. I put the rain suit on.
 
I didnt take it off until Friday.
 
Black is in. Up and down the range all week at the Masters, I saw little but a phalanx of black rain suits, some of the models so tailored and slick you couldve worn them to a wedding at the Waldorf.
 
At last, we got our first look at Larry Mizes striped shirt on Saturday. The suits discarded, it was warm, sunny and it felt good to be alive. It felt good to be free of rain.
 
By Sunday, all focus shifted to two men, Len Mattiace and Mike Weir. All the talk of weather, Martha Burk, Hootie Johnson, even Tiger Woods, simply dissipated like the morning dew.
 
On a sunny and truly spectacular spring day, the Masters returned in all its splendor. There was a meaningful second nine eagle - Mattiaces at 13.
 
There was a clutch birdie at 16 - Mattiace again.
 
There was a gallant response to Mattiaces own heroics - by mighty Mike Weir.
 
His par putt at the 72nd was the definition of clutch - no time left, your teams down by two, youre at the line in front of 20,000 plus, millions more on TV, and anything less than both free throws and you lose.
 
Of course he poured it in. As he did pretty much everything he looked at all week. Weir going putt-for-putt with Mattiace on Augustas greens with the jacket on the line was like watching Greg Maddux in his prime tangle with Pedro Martinez in a 1-0, nine-inning, no-reliever pitchers duel. More fine art than raw power.
 
Now Weirs the early leader for Player of the Year, based on quality and quantity of wins. For sheer numbers hes tied with Davis and Tiger. But his 72nd-hole gut check at Augusta was the moment of the year.
 
Just as vivid as Weirs 72nd-hole putt is the image of Mattiace, crying before the cameras. The 2003 Masters that opened with the skies pouring closed with water of a more visceral nature, the tears of an emotionally exhausted professional.
 
Golf can be cruel sometimes. The man just shot 65, and on that course and under that kind of Sunday major championship pressure, that should be reason to rejoice. But when the game demands that you be better than 65 on Sunday at the Masters, and you do all you can to meet that brutally difficult standard and you fall just short, it must bewell something with which most of us just arent familiar. And so Len had himself a good cry. Rare when athletes open themselves up that honestly.
 
The lesson of Len Mattiace at the 2003 Masters is that golf asks much at that level. It gives much, too. I knew that when I saw Mike Weir several hours later, dressed in the green jacket inside the clubhouse, embracing his loved ones.
 
Tomorrow, Rich heads back to Myrtle Beach for some laughs at The Hootie and The Blowfish Celebrity Pro Am, then heads to Vegas with the LPGA
Getty Images

Rose leads halted Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters when bad weather stopped play Friday during the second round.

The Englishman, who shot a 10-under 62 on Thursday, had completed 13 holes and was 5 under on the day at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat (64) was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew wit on the 11th hole at 2 under for the day after shooting an opening 72.

There was no reason given for his withdrawal, but the American has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.


Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.


Playing with the pros

Tiger, DJ and Faxon

Article: Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump

Article: After DJ and Tiger, Trump plays golf with Jack

Rory faces criticism

Article: Rory: Round with Trump about respect for presidency

Article: Rory: Round with Trump not a 'political statement'


President at the Presidents Cup


Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

Article: President Trump presents trophy to U.S. team

Article: Stricker: 'Great thrill' to get trophy from Trump


Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73


Cart on the green


Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green


Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open


Article: Trump makes presidential history at Women's Open

Article: Trump supporters, protesters clash near Women's Open

Article: UltraViolet takes protest inside Trump National


Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open


Trump golf properties

Vandalism

Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses

Finances


Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

Reportedly fake TIME covers


Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover


Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

Report: Trump's voter fraud claim tied to Langer

Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up


Pros comment on the president

Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

Article: Trump congratulates Daly; Daly congratulates Trump

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm

Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.