Masters Mysteries

By Rich LernerApril 9, 2003, 4:00 pm
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Theres simply no truth to the rumor that Augusta employs thousands of elves underground to suck the water from its lush and emerald fairways. So mysterious is the Masters to some that it leads people to wonder.
 
Yes, it is wet here. Very wet. But its a sophisticated subterranean system and a dry weekend forecast which will have Jones cathedral ready and rolling, not minions of the miniature. And while there may be much we dont know about the inner workings of the private mens club, the aim is so much more simplistic than so many would have you believe.
 
They want to stage the best golf tournament in the world. And in the eyes of many, they succeed.
 
Its the history, said John Cook. You drive in the gates and you know whats happened here in the '30s and '40s and '50s, who won and who lost and how they did it.
 
Its awesome, marveled three- time Masters champ Gary Player, referring to the springtime splendor. Beautys a thing of joy forever.
 
Unfortunately, the azaleas have been shrouded in a gray, soupy sky. For the first time since 1983, the Monday practice round was cancelled. Long term, the consensus is that the softer the golf course is, the shorter the list of contenders becomes.
 
They already shortened the field by lengthening the course, reasoned Davis Love III.
 
I played it Sunday and its playing long.
 
Its very evident that you need to be able to hit the ball long, said Phil Mickelson.
 
So realistically, only Love, Els, Singh, Mickelson and a perhaps a few others have a chance to derail Tiger from yet another appointment with destiny.
 
I think it certainly favors someone who is hitting the ball high and long and straight, agreed Tiger.
 
Will he do it? Well, most every time we throw out the phrase, Nobodys ever, and then fill in the blank, or Not since, and fill in the blank, Tiger does what? He takes care of business the way Warren Buffet takes care of business.
 
If it happens, its just one more accomplishment which not even the great Jack Nicklaus can lay claim to. And that list is growing for Tiger.
 
Tiger captured three straight U.S. Amateurs. Jack won two but not in successive years. Tiger ripped off four consecutive professional major titles. Jacks high is three straight. Tiger conquered three majors in one calendar season, compared to two for Jack. Tiger at one point reeled off six straight PGA Tour victories, while Jacks high was three. In the debate as to whos the best ever, Tigers gaining ground. Quickly.
 
Jack, of course, slipped on the green jacket a record six times, and expects Tiger to surpass the mark someday.
 
Its a place that I feel very familiar with, Tiger said to a standing room only gathering of reporters. I feel as if I have a pretty good understanding of how to play each and every hole.
 
Woods also has given some thought as to how to play around the swirling gender controversy.
 
Asked if he was still passionate about breaking down barriers in the sport, Tiger replied rather succinctly, I am.
 
The reporter shot back, Its not been very evident.
 
Probably thats just your opinion, said Tiger.
 
Phil Mickelson declined to comment on the issue. Others, like Rich Beem, didnt hold back at all.
 
Hootie Johnsons position is right on, said the PGA champion.
 
On the subject of Hootie Johnson, the chairman rescinded the policy denying past champions a lifetime exemption.
 
Thats in the spirit of what Bob Jones and Cliff Roberts wanted, said Gary Player. But the player must use discretion.
 
Player first came to Augusta in 1957, and remembers seeing Hogan and Snead and Nelson. Jonathon Byrd arrived at his first Masters this year, and will someday tell his kids that he teed it up with Jack and Arnie and Gary. Thats tThe Masters.
 
Bob Jones tournament has been battered by the press over the last year. But it remains the favorite golf competition of so many players'those teeing it up this week, and those of you at home.
 
Elves or no elves, theres really no mystery in that.
 
Related Links:
  • 2003 Masters Tournament Mini-Site
  • Tournament Coverage
  • The Augusta National Membership Debate: A Chronology
  • 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.