Key dates in Masters history

By Associated PressApril 2, 2010, 3:56 am

AUGUSTA, Georgia – A timeline of key victories at the Masters, starting Thursday at Augusta National:

Five years ago (2005): Tiger Woods won the Masters for the fourth time, the first time in a playoff. His signature shot came from the behind the 16th green, when his chip made a U-turn at the top of the slope, rolled back toward the hole and hung on the edge of the cup for two full seconds before falling for birdie. He bogeyed the last two holes, however, to fall into a playoff with Chris DiMarco, beating him on the 18th with an 8-iron to 15 feet for birdie. It was the first time the sudden-death playoff began on the 18th.

Ten years ago (2000): Vijay Singh won the only major Tiger Woods did not in 2000. He built a three-shot lead going into the final round, then held off one charge from David Duval and a late charge from Ernie Els. The key moment came on the par-4 11th, where Singh hit his approach into the water. Because of the hole location, he was able to take his drop on the edge of the green instead of behind the pond, and escaped with bogey. Singh sealed the victory with a 4-iron to 20 feet for a two-putt birdie on the 15th. He won by three shots over Els.

Twenty years ago (1990): Nick Faldo joined Jack Nicklaus as the only repeat winners of the Masters, and he remains the only player to win a major consecutive years in a playoff. Faldo made three birdies over the last six holes to close with a 3-under 69 to force a playoff against Raymond Floyd. In the playoff, Floyd missed a 15-foot birdie at No. 10 for the victory, while Faldo saved par from the bunker with a testy 4-foot putt. On the second extra hole, Floyd pulled his approach into the water left of the 11th green, and Faldo made par to win.

Thirty years ago (1980): Seve Ballesteros, at 23, became the youngest Masters champion in history and introduced his amazing flair to an American audience. The Spaniard opened with a 66 to share the lead, and no one caught him for the rest of the week when he followed with rounds of 69-68. Ballesteros was so dominant that he took a 10-shot lead to the back nine, only to throw shots away with his daring. He closed with a 72 and still won by four shots.

Forty years ago (1970): Billy Casper defeated Gene Littler in an 18-hole playoff to win his only Masters, adding to his two U.S. Open titles. The previous year, Casper was atop the leaderboard in all three rounds until closing with a 74 to finish one behind George Archer. He again had a 54-hole lead only to close with a 71 and fall into a playoff. Casper shot 69 in the playoff to defeat Littler by five shots.

Fifty years ago (1960): Arnold Palmer won the second of his four green jackets, and the most thrilling of his Masters titles. The record shows that Palmer led from start to finish, opening with a 67. He had to rally, however, because Ken Venturi finished well ahead of him and posted at 5-under 283. Palmer’s long birdie putt rattled off the pin—there was a rule then that it could be left in the hole—and he had to settle for par. He birdied the 17th to tie Venturi, then won with a 6-iron into 6 feet. Palmer became the first Masters champion to birdie the last two holes to win by one.

Seventy-five years ago (1935): With what became known as the golf shot heard ‘round the world, Gene Sarazen holed a 4-wood from 235 yards on the par-5 15th for an albatross that helped to put him into a playoff with Craig Wood, who had already finished his round and was being congratulated for winning. In the 36-hole playoff on Monday, Sarazen shot 144 to win by five shots, making Wood the runner-up for the second straight year.

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Tour still focused on security after death of suspected Austin bomber

By Rex HoggardMarch 21, 2018, 4:07 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – Although the suspect in the wave of Austin-area bombings was killed early Wednesday, the PGA Tour plans to continue heightened security measures at this week’s WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play at Austin Country Club.

According to various news outlets, Mark Anthony Conditt has been identified as the bombings suspect, and he was killed by an explosion inside his car in Round Rock, Texas, which is 19 miles north of Austin Country Club.

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“We do not comment on the specifics of our security measures, but we are continuing to work in close collaboration with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies in Austin to ensure the safety of our players and fans at this week’s tournament,” the Tour said in a statement. “Regardless of the recent developments, our heightened security procedures will remain in place through the remainder of the week.”

Authorities believe Conditt is responsible for the five explosions that killed two people and injured five others in Austin or south-central Texas since March 2.

Play began Wednesday at the Match Play.

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Monahan addresses alcohol, fan behavior at events

By Rex HoggardMarch 21, 2018, 3:53 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – Fan behavior has become a hot-button topic on the PGA Tour in recent weeks, with Rory McIlroy suggesting on Saturday at the Arnold Palmer Invitational the circuit should “limit alcohol sales on the course.”

The Tour’s policy is to stop selling alcohol an hour before the end of play, which is normally around 5 p.m., and on Wednesday at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play commissioner Jay Monahan said it’s something the Tour is monitoring.

“When you have people who aren’t behaving properly and they’ve had too much alcohol, then I agree [with McIlroy],” Monahan said. “In those incidences those people who are making it uncomfortable for a player alcohol sales should be cut off.”

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Fan behavior became an issue with some players when Tiger Woods returned to competition at last month’s Genesis Open. During the final round of the Honda Classic Justin Thomas had a fan removed when he yelled for Thomas’ tee shot at the par-4 16th hole to “get in the bunker.”

Monahan declined to address Thomas’ situation at PGA National specifically, but he did seem to suggest that as interest grows and the Tour continues to attract more mainstream sports crowds, vocal fans will continue to be the norm.

“I believe that there was more that went into it that preceded and in a situation like that we’re hopeful our players will reach out to our security staff and they can handle that,” Monahan said. “[But] yelling, ‘get in the bunker,’ that’s part of what our players have to accept. In any sport, you go to an away game, in any other sport, and people aren’t rooting for you. Sometimes out here you’re going to have fans that aren’t rooting for you, but they can’t interfere with what you’re trying to do competitively.”

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Senden playing first event since son's brain tumor

By Will GrayMarch 21, 2018, 3:03 pm

John Senden is back inside the ropes for the first time in nearly a year at this week's Chitimacha Louisiana Open on the Tour.

Senden took a leave of absence from professional golf in April, when his teenage son, Jacob, was diagnosed with a brain tumor. He didn't touch a club for nearly four months as Jacob endured six rounds of chemotherapy and radiation, a gauntlet that stretched from April until mid-November.

But Senden told that his son's tumor has shrunk from the size of a thumbnail to the size of a pinky nail, and after a promising MRI in January he decided to plan his comeback.

"I haven't really played in 12 months, but in that time Jacob has really, really hung tough," Senden said. "His whole body was getting slammed with all these treatments, and he was so strong in his whole attitude and his whole body. Just really getting through the whole thing. He was tough."

Senden was granted a family crisis exemption by the Tour, and he'll have 13 starts to earn 310 FedExCup points to retain his playing privileges for the 2018-19 season. He is allowed five "rehabilitation" starts as part of the exemption, but will reportedly only make one this week before returning to the PGA Tour at the RBC Heritage, followed by starts in San Antonio, Charlotte and Dallas.

Senden, 46, has won twice on Tour, most recently the 2014 Valspar Championship.

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Added videos shed light on Reed rules controversy

By Will GrayMarch 21, 2018, 2:39 pm

Additional fan videos shed some light on a rules controversy involving Patrick Reed during the final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational, when Reed suggested that Jordan Spieth would have gotten free relief after he was denied a favorable ruling.

Reed had sailed the green with his approach on the 11th hole Sunday at Bay Hill, coming to rest under a palm tree. As the below thread of videos from fan Tyler Soughers illustrates, Reed wanted a free drop because he believed a nearby television tower was in the way of the shot he planned to play.

The initial rules official didn't "see" the shot Reed planned to attempt given the tight confines, and his decision to deny Reed a free drop was upheld by a second rules official. Reed eventually tried to play the ball, moving it a few feet, before being granted relief from the tower from the ball's new position. He ultimately made double bogey on the hole and tied for seventh.

After finally taking his free drop away from the tower, Reed was heard muttering to nearby fans, "What a crock of s---."

Reed and Spieth will have plenty of time to discuss their favorite rulings Friday, when the two players face off on the final day of round-robin play in Group 4 during the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in Austin.