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Disasters at the Masters: Fleshing out the numbers

By Al TaysApril 6, 2018, 1:00 am

Sergio Garcia's 13 on the 15th hole in Thursday's opening round of the Masters sent us typists scurrying for the record books. Sure enough, it has never been bettered (worsened?), not only on the par-5 15th, but on ANY hole at Augusta National.

The record book lists the names and the numbers, but for the stories, you have to dig deeper. Following are tales of five Disasters at the Masters.

Augusta National Worst All-Time Score, 15th hole (par 5)

Jumbo Ozaki, 11 in the second round, 1987

Friday of the 1987 Masters was a particularly bad day for the 15th hole. First, Scott Verplank hit into the water twice from 68 yards out and made a 10, which equaled the record high score on the hole, which had been set by Walker Inman in 1956.

Verplank was relieved of his ignominy just two hours later, when Japan's Masashi "Jumbo" Ozaki went him one better with an 11. The long-hitting Ozaki tried to go for the green in two, but came up short with a 2-iron from 215 yards, then hydrated two wedge shots before finally finding land. A chip and two putts later, he was in the Masters record book.

From the United Press International report on the round, Ozaki put his dubious achievement in humorous perspective. Informed of Verplank's 10 earlier in the day, Ozaki "took off his cap, waved it about, and said, 'I'm 11. I win.'"

Ben Crenshaw, 11 in the final round, 1997

The good thing about messing up at the 1997 Masters was that nobody is ever going to remember anything not related to Tiger Woods.. So Crenshaw's 11 on Sunday, which helped bring him home in 80–302, matching his worst single-round and four-round totals at Augusta to date, is buried deep in the archives of his hometown newspaper, the Austin American-Statesman. Crenshaw had made three eagles during the tournament (including one at the 15th hole), and the Masters gives out crystal for eagles. Crenshaw noted the irony, saying, "I don't think they're going to give me a crystal for that."

Ignacio Garrido, 11 in the first round, 1998

The 1998 Masters got off to a windy start. How windy? "It's like playing the British Open," said Garrido, a 26-year-old from Spain playing in his first Masters. "I only watched the Masters on TV, and I always saw sunshine and flowers," Garrido said after knocking three balls into the water on his way to an 85. "Now I discovered wind."

Sergio Garcia, 13 in the first round, 2018

One 6-iron plus four sand wedges, all spun back into the water. "It's the first time in my career where I make a 13 without missing a shot," Garcia said.


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Augusta National Worst All-Time Score, Any Hole

Tommy Nakajima, 13 on the par-5 13th hole in the second round, 1978

Tsuneyuki "Tommy" Nakajima's 13 has to be the strangest disaster score ever recorded. While most big numbers are the result of hitting multiple shots into a hazard, Nakajima's epic adventure had a variety of misfortune. Still not on the green after three shots, he hit his fourth into Rae's Creek. He elected to try to play the ball, which turned out to be a horrible decision. He popped up the next shot, and the ball landed on his foot. Two-stroke penalty. He and his caddie botched the handoff of the club, which fell into the creek. Two more penalty strokes. He then chipped over the green. Another chip and two putts and he had himself a 13 and a Masters record.

Seventy-eight wasn't exactly Nakajima's year. In the British Open, he was in contention late in the third round at St. Andrews. But that all went to hell on the Road Hole when he putted into the Road Bunker, needed four shots to get out of it and made a 9. He did achieve a form of immortality, at least, when the British press characterized the incident as the "Sands of Nakajima."

Tom Weiskopf, 13 on the par-3 12th hole, first round, 1980

Weiskopf is an unlikely co-holder of the record for the highest score on a hole at Augusta because he did it on a par 3. Not just any par 3, but No. 12, the shortest (but trickiest) of Augusta's one-shot holes.

In the first round, Weiskopf chose an 8-iron for his tee shot to the 12th. The ball cleared the fronting creek, but spun back into the water. Weiskopf chose to drop about 60 yards from the hole - from where he hit five more balls into the water before finally finding the back of the green.

The next day, Weiskopf again hit his tee shot into the creek. This time, however, he chose to re-tee. Sound strategy, but with no better result. Another water ball. Try, try again. He knocked his fifth shot (counting penalties) on and two-putted for 7.

So there it is - the faces and facts behind the names and numbers. It's a list that no one wants to make, but from which no one is safe. Not even the defending champion.

Right, Sergio?

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Fowler (oblique) withdraws from playoff opener

By Will GrayAugust 15, 2018, 8:44 pm

The injury that slowed Rickie Fowler at last week's PGA Championship will keep him out of the first event of the PGA Tour's postseason.

Fowler was reportedly hampered by an oblique injury at Bellerive Country Club, where he started the third round two shots off the lead but faded to a tie for 12th. He confirmed the injury Tuesday in an Instagram post, adding that an MRI revealed a partial tear to his right oblique muscle.

According to Fowler, the injury also affected him at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, where he tied for 17th. After receiving the test results, he opted to withdraw from The Northern Trust next week at Ridgewood Country Club in New Jersey.

"My team and I feel like it's best not to play next week in the Northern Trust," Fowler wrote. "I will be back healthy and competitive ASAP for the FedEx Cup and more than ready for the Ryder Cup!!!"

Fowler is one of eight players who earned automatic spots on the U.S. Ryder Cup team when the qualifying window closed last week. His next opportunity to tee it up would be at the 100-man Dell Technologies Championship, where Fowler won in 2015.

Fowler has 12 top-25 finishes in 18 starts, highlighted by runner-up finishes at both the OHL Classic at Mayakoba in the fall and at the Masters. He is currently 17th in the season-long points race, meaning that he's assured of starts in each of the first three playoff events regardless of performance and in good position to qualify for the 30-man Tour Championship for the fourth time in the last five years.

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Playoff streaks in jeopardy for Garcia, Haas

By Will GrayAugust 15, 2018, 8:12 pm

Since the advent of the FedExCup in 2007, only 13 players have managed to make the playoffs each and every year. But two of the PGA Tour's stalwarts head into the regular-season finale with work to do in order to remain a part of that select fraternity.

Sergio Garcia has rarely had to sweat the top-125 bubble, but the Spaniard enters this week's Wyndham Championship 131st in the current standings. Left with even more work to do is former FedExCup winner Bill Haas, who starts the week in Greensboro 150th.

Garcia got off to a strong start in the spring, sandwiching a pair of top-10 finishes in WGC events around a fourth-place showing at the Valspar Championship. But quality results largely dried up after Garcia missed the cut at the Masters; he has made only two cuts in 10 Tour starts since April, including early exits in all four majors.


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Garcia has some history at Sedgefield Country Club, having won this event in 2012 to break a lengthy U.S. victory drought. He also finished fourth in 2009 but hasn't played the Donald Ross layout since a T-29 finish as the defending champ in 2013.

It's been a difficult year for Haas both on and off the course, as the veteran was involved as a passenger in a car accident on the eve of the Genesis Open that killed the driver. He returned to action three weeks later in Tampa, and he tied for seventh at the RBC Heritage in April. But that remains his lone top-10 finish of the season. Haas has missed 11 cuts including three in a row.

While the bubble will be a fluid target this week at Sedgefield, Garcia likely needs at least a top-20 finish to move into the top 125 while Haas will likely need to finish inside the top 5.

One of the 13 playoff streaks is assured of ending next week, as Luke Donald has missed most of the year with a back injury. Other players to qualify for every Tour postseason include Phil Mickelson, Matt Kuchar, Zach Johnson, Adam Scott, Bubba Watson, Justin Rose, Brandt Snedeker, Charles Howell III, Charley Hoffman and Ryan Moore.

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Airlines lose two sets of Olesen's clubs in 10 days

By Grill Room TeamAugust 15, 2018, 7:50 pm

Commercial airlines losing the golf clubs of a professional golfer is not exactly a groundbreaking story. It happens.

But European Tour pro Thorbjorn Olesen is on quite the roll, losing two sets of clubs and five suitcases in the span of 10 days.

Olesen, the reigning Italian Open champ, claimed his primary set of golf clubs were lost last week. Having little faith they'd be found before this week's Nordea Masters, he decided to bring his backup set for the event in Sweden.

A veteran move by the 28-year-old, unless, of course, those clubs were lost too. And wouldn't you know it:

After pestering the airlines with some A+ GIFs, Olesen was reunited with at least one of his sets and was back in action on Wednesday.

He also still plans on giving his golf bag away to some lucky follower, provided it's not lost again in transit. Something he's no longer taking for granted.

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Podcast: Brandel compares Tiger and Hogan's comebacks

By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 15, 2018, 6:48 pm

Tiger Woods on Sunday at Bellerive recorded his seventh runner-up finish in a major and his first in nine years.

A favorite guest of the Golf Channel Podcast, Brandel Chamblee joins host Will Gray to compare and contrast Tiger's return to competitive golf with that of Ben Hogan and Babe Didrikson Zaharias in the 1950s.

Chamblee also discusses Brooks Koepka's major dominance, Bellerive as a major venue, Tiger and Phil as Ryder Cup locks, and who else might be in line to receive Jim Furyk and Thomas Bjorn's remaining captain's picks.

Finally, Brandel shares what it was it was like to qualify for the Senior Open Championship and compete for a major title on the Old Course at St. Andrews. Listen here: