Augusta Scouting Report


PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. ' Earlier this week, it was reported on that world No. 4 Geoff Ogilvy had this to say about the severity of the greens and the green complexes at Augusta National:
You couldnt design Augusta right now..We would all say, I cant play this. Its ridiculous.
Wednesday, at PGA National, Honda Classic defending champion Ernie Els was asked for his take on Ogilvys take.
Well, I wouldnt go that far, Els said, with respectful smile. .He (Ogilvy) is right in the fact that he says that if they kept on, how shall I say, massaging the golf course to the point where, yes, at times, when the weather turns, and flag positions are in certain parts, it becomes very much on edge.
In some cases, yeah, some of the years, some of the rounds weve played there, its been almost to the point where its laughable. But, hey, we play a major there. Its still a very good layout and they just try and test the players. At times, they have gone maybe past the point.
Spokesmen for the late Alister MacKenzie, the man who designed Augusta National, were not immediately available for comment. But golf course architecture cognoscenti are in general agreement that MacKenzie never built Augusta Nationals greens to run at the speeds the players get at the Masters.
Interestingly, the general consensus is the last time the Masters produced its famous Sunday roars was 2004 when Phil Mickelson birdied the 72nd hole to edge Els.
I think youre right, Els said. 2004 was the last time there was a really nice shootout.

DOS AMIGOS: Early last season Camilo Villegas gave his close friend Sergio Garcia a self-described figurative kick in the butt.
Listen, man, Villegas told him, youre better than youre playing. He kindve looked at me and said, You know, youre right.
Not long after that Garcia won The Players and finished the year ranked No. 2 in the world. Villegas wont take full credit for the turnaround. But, clearly, somebody needed to say something to Garcia, and Villegas said it.
What was it that caused Villegas to give his friend the advice?
I just said, Listen, buddy, come on, just forget about all the little things (outside of golf) that are happening,''Villegas said. Just stop complaining and crying for little things and play golf. I think he took it the right way and played great from there on.

MORE CAMILO: Next week for Villegas is the WGC-CA Championship at Doral where he was a rock star his rookie season en route to a second place 2006 finish. Does he look forward to all the attention he will get next week in Miami, where the Spanish-speaking population turns out in large numbers to see him play?
The media and the fans have been very, very good to me and thats nice, he said. It feels good.Do you really enjoy signing 200 autographs? Let me tell you, it can get to you, but its part of the job. The fans have been good to me. The media has been great. I try to be good to them.
In other words, Villegas gets it.

A LIST BARBECUE: The place to be for dinner Tuesday night was the home of Aussie Robert Allenby, who fired up the grill for friends and sponsors at his U.S. digs, which are just 10 minutes from PGA National.
Among those attending were reps from Srixon, Cleveland and TaylorMade. But, alas, there were no shrimp on the barbie.
I didnt get the kangaroo in on time, Allenby said, adding the main entre was good old-fashioned steaks.
Allenby pulled a few strings and scored a shipment of VB and Crown lagers courtesy of my friends at the Australian Embassy in Washington. VB is short for Victoria Bitter, a beer especially popular in the Melbourne, Allenbys birthplace.
Victoria Bitter, yeah, Allenby said. We call it Vitamin B in Australia.

SOUR NOTE?: Saxophonist Kenny G, a golf nut, co-sponsored the pro-am Wednesday and told a revealing story on himself that involved Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson at the 2001 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in which G partnered with Mickelson.
Mickelson double-bogeyed the 72nd hole and G bogeyed it to leave them in a disappointing tie for first with Woods and his partner, Jerry Chang.
Walking off the green, Gs cell phone rang and it was Woods on the other end. Hey Kenny, its Tiger, said Woods, who turned out to be calling from his private plane. God, you really choked coming down 18, didnt you?
G said his response was something he cant now repeat which, he said, Woods enjoyed. Tiger went on to congratulate G for sharing the trophy. And, said G, Ill never forget that.
Asked if Woods had anything to say, on the call, about Mickelsons closing double bogey, G said, Well, he may have, but Im not going to tell you.

PET PEEVE OF THE WEEK: Losing a brand new golf ball the first time you hit it. (I will NEVER tee off on the first hole with a new ball.)

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