Memorable Shots a Masters Tradition

By Associated PressApril 2, 2006, 4:00 pm
They can stretch Augusta National beyond the county line, or move the tees downtown, as Jack Nicklaus once jokingly suggested. They can add a pond and remove a bunker, plant trees and cut them down.
 
But there is one thing about the Masters that doesn't change.

Somewhere along the way to a green jacket lies a shot so incredible, so unforgettable, that it becomes part of the legacy of the Masters, a signature moment on a stage built for such drama.
 
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods' added to Masters lore with his chip in at the 16th en route to his victory last year.
Gene Sarazen put the Masters on the map with his 'shot heard 'round the world,' a 4-wood from 235 yards on the par-5 15th that went into the cup for a double eagle and carried him into a playoff in 1935. And that was before television was around.
 
'It was just a piece of luck,' Sarazen said.
 
And then there's Tiger Woods.
 
His 2 on the scorecard last year came with a 60-degree sand wedge from a much smaller distance, about 30 feet from behind the green to the hole, a shot that traveled twice that length by the time it climbed up the ridge on the par-3 16th, stopped like a school bus crossing railroad tracks, then made a slow, tantalizing
trek toward the cup.
 
It stopped on the lip two full seconds, and history pulled it into the hole.
 
'I was never thinking it had a chance,' said Steve Williams, Woods' caddie who stood by his side, crouching, hoping for one more turn, his heart stopped like the thousands of fans surrounding the green and millions watching on TV. 'It was slowing down, and I said, 'I can't believe it's going to be short.' But for some reason, it kept going. It was just amazing. You're just about to go forward and give whatever your reaction you're going to give, and then it stops.
 
'And then, boom!'
 
Sarazen and Woods provided bookend memories, 70 years apart, shots that define the magic of the Masters.
 
No telling what this year will bring, even on an Augusta National course that again has been strengthened by adding 155 yards on six holes in chairman Hootie Johnson's attempt to keep the course current with the times.
 
Woods is the defending champion, joining Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer as the only players with at least four green jackets. He is remembered for the U-turn chip on the 16th green, but he is more proud of the 3-wood to the fairway, the 8-iron to 15 feet and the birdie putt to beat Chris DiMarco in a playoff.
 
The Masters starts Thursday without Nicklaus, who competed at Augusta National for the last time a year ago. Some say the longer course will make improbable a back-nine charge such as the one Nicklaus delivered 20 years ago when he shot 30 to win his sixth Masters.
 
But there will be something mystical that other majors rarely offer.
 
Seems like there always is.
 
Larry Mize chipping in from 140 feet to rip the heart out of Greg Norman. Fred Couples' ball rolling back toward Rae's Creek on the 12th hole, stopped by a blade of grass. Nicklaus making a 45-foot birdie putt on the 16th hole, as Tom Weiskopf and Johnny Miller watched dejectedly from the tee box.
 
'You can feel there is an aura seeping out of the ground,' DiMarco said. 'You remember Jack making that putt up the hill, and you remember Davis (Love III) chipping up the hill. I try to forget Tiger chipping in.'
 
Woods strives for perfection, which is why he is so proud of the 8-iron into the 18th green in the playoff. But even he concedes he will be remembered more, if not forever, because of that chip.
 
He had a one-shot lead and was on the ropes, hitting an 8-iron that went too far and too much to the left, and he was lucky it found grass behind the 16th green, especially after DiMarco hit his tee shot into 15 feet.
 
'I knew that it was going to be virtually one of the most difficult shots you could possibly have on the whole golf course,' Woods said.
 
He feared the ball was against the first cut of rough, and was relieved to see he had room to get the sand wedge on it, although he had to pick up the club quicker than he would have liked.
 
'After I saw where the ball was, I thought I had an opportunity to put the ball inside of Chris, which was about 15 feet,' he said. 'And to be honest with you, that's all I was trying to do. Obviously, turned out a little better than that.'
 
It was important to get the chip inside DiMarco for two reasons. If DiMarco made his birdie putt, Woods could salvage par and lose only one shot, and still have a share of the lead. Or if DiMarco missed -- and he had done that plenty in the final round -- a par would maintain the lead and give Woods enormous momentum.
 
But birdie?
 
No one imagined that. Not Woods. Not DiMarco. And not Williams, who has seen Woods do the unthinkable.
 
'It was one of those shots you can stand there with 100 balls, and never do it again,' Williams said.
 
There was no discussion about the club -- a 60-degree wedge. The idea was to hit a low spinner up the hill so that it slowed to a stop, rolled down the ridge to the cup and ideally stopped about 4 feet away at best, under the hole.
 
'I had a spot picked out,' Williams said. 'When it landed, I knew it was going to be a good shot. It got to the top of the hill, stopped, but I expected it to run farther to our right. It rolled a lot straighter than I thought. I think the golfing gods may have been there, because it broke a little less that what you think.'
 
The cheer might have registered on the Richter scale.
 
'He screamed so loud ... if you watch on TV, you cannot even think about hearing him,' DiMarco said. 'I said, 'Good job' to him four times at the top of my lungs before he saw me mouthing it and said thanks. You can't hear.'
 
Woods' miracle chip for birdie might embody what the Masters brings, but it also speaks to his own legacy as the dominant player of his time, on pace to be the greatest champion ever.
 
He showed up at Augusta National last year having gone 10 starts without a major, matching his longest drought in the Grand Slam events. He no longer was No. 1 in the world. His supremacy was questioned.
 
And then he found another gear.
 
Woods returns having won the Masters and British Open, and finished second at the U.S. Open and in a tie for fourth at the PGA Championship. Woods already has won three times this year, including Dubai on the European tour. He is entrenched at No. 1, with twice as many points as Vijay Singh.
 
'His powers of concentration or determination to get the job done are just so phenomenal,' said his good friend Mark O'Meara. 'It's on the level of Jack Nicklaus.'
 
Woods has been spotty, however, finishing a combined 25 shots behind in his last two starts. His father is battling cancer, and took a turn for the worse over the holidays, a situation heavy on his mind.
 
But he remains a big favorite at Augusta National, perhaps more so this year at the Masters because of the additional length and because none of the six players behind him in the world ranking has won this year.
 
And because of moments like that chip adding to Woods' legend, players wonder what he'll do next.
 
The birdie chip provided free advertising for Nike, with the swoosh on Woods' golf ball in full view for two seconds before it disappeared into the cup. And it was another signature moment for Verne Lundquist of CBS Sports, famous for his 'Yes, Sir!' call when Nicklaus holed his birdie putt on the 17th hole to win in
1986.
 
'Oh, wow!' Lundquist said as Woods' ball neared the cup. And when it dropped, he added, 'In your life, have you ever seen anything like that?'
 
At the Masters, the answer is probably: Yes.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - 70th Masters Tournament
  • Full Coverage - 69th Masters Tournament
     
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    Kang 'going with the flow,' one back of A. Jutanugarn

    By Associated PressOctober 18, 2018, 9:43 am

    SHANGHAI – Ariya Jutanugarn shot a 6-under 66 to take a one-stroke lead after the first round of the Buick LPGA Shanghai tournament on Thursday.

    The Thai player had six birdies in a bogey-free round, including three straight on Nos. 4, 5, and 6.

    ''I always have so much fun when I play in Asia,'' said Jutanugarm, who added her key was ''just not to expect anything. Just go out have fun and enjoy everything.''

    Sei Young Kim and Danielle Kang (both 67) were one shot back, with six other players only two shots off the lead.


    Full-field scores from the Buick LPGA Shanghai


    The tournament is the second of five being played in South Korea, Japan, China and Taiwan in the LPGA's annual Asian swing.

    Kang credited her improved play to new coach Butch Harmon.

    ''We just kind of simplify the game a lot,'' the American said. ''Just trying to calm it down and get back to how I used to play. Just more feel golf. Thinking less mechanics and going with the flow.''

    Kang tied for third last week at the KEB Hana Bank championship in Incheon, South Korea.

    ''Today's round went very smooth,'' Kang said. ''Coming off very good momentum after last week, and I've been hitting the ball really well, playing great. I've just been trusting my game and just keep giving myself birdie chances. They kept rolling in.''

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    Sharpshooting Reavie (68) leads tough CJ Cup

    By Associated PressOctober 18, 2018, 9:34 am

    JEJU ISLAND, South Korea – Chez Reavie overcame cool, windy conditions for a 4-under 68 and a one-stroke lead after the first round of the CJ Cup at Nine Bridges on Thursday.

    In the breezy conditions, the back nine of the course posed the most difficulty, but the 36-year-old American made two birdies and negotiated it in 35 after starting on the 10th tee, and then picked up three shots on his final nine.

    Danny Willett and Si Woo Kim shot 69 while the large group at 70, and tied for fourth, included Ian PoulterNick Watney and Michael Kim.

    Brooks Koepka, playing in his first tournament since being voted PGA Tour Player of the Year, shot 71 and was in a group three strokes behind and tied for 11th, which included Paul Casey and Hideki Matsuyama.

    Jason Dufner and Brandt Snedeker shot 72. Defending champion Justin Thomas had a 73, as did Jason Day, Ernie Els and J.B. Holmes.


    Full-field scores from the CJ Cup

    CJ Cup: Articles, photos and videos


    Marc Leishman, who won last week's CIMB Classic in Malaysia, and Adam Scott had 75s.

    Reavie's only PGA Tour win came at the 2008 Canadian Open, and he finished second in back-to-back starts last year in Phoenix and Pebble Beach, losing at Phoenix in a playoff.

    ''It was a great day, I hit the ball really well,'' Reavie said of Thursday's round. ''The wind was blowing really hard all day long so you had to really start the ball well and keep it out of the wind. Luckily, I was able to do that.''

    Despite the windy conditions, Reavie found all 14 fairways off the tee and hit 15 out of 18 greens in regulation, which he felt was the key to a good score.

    ''It's tough because once you get above the hole with this wind, it's really hard to chip it close,'' he said. ''The more greens you can hit, the better and that was key to my game.''

    Willett, who has struggled with injuries and form since winning the 2016 Masters and has dropped to No. 342 in the world, made five birdies and two bogeys in his 69. Willett has just one top-five finish since finishing second in the Italian Open in September 2016.

    Having committed to play on the PGA Tour by taking up membership this season, Willet said it was important to make a quick start to the season.

    ''I've done two tours for a couple of years, and it's very difficult,'' Willett said. ''We committed to play on the PGA Tour, to play predominantly over here this year and next. It's nice to kind of get in and get some points early if you can.''

    The second of three PGA Tour events in three weeks in Asia has a 78-player field and no cut. Only 19 players broke par on Thursday.

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    Koepka takes edge over Thomas in race for world No. 1

    By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 18, 2018, 5:50 am

    Brooks Koepka got the inside track against Justin Thomas in their head-to-head battle this week for world No. 1.

    Koepka shot 1-under 71 on Thursday at the CJ Cup, while Thomas shot 1-over 73.

    Chez Reavie leads after 18 holes at Nine Bridges in Juju Island, South Korea, following a 4-under 68.

    Koepka, currently world No. 3, needs to win this week or finish solo second [without Thomas winning] in order to reach the top spot in the rankings for the first time in his career. Thomas, currently No. 4, must win to reclaim the position he surrendered in June.

    One week after 26 under par proved victorious in Malaysia, birdies weren’t as aplenty to begin the second leg of the PGA Tour’s Asian swing.


    Full-field scores from the CJ Cup

    CJ Cup: Articles, photos and videos


    In chilly, windy conditions, Koepka and Thomas set out alongside one another – with Sungjae Im (73) as the third – on the 10th hole. Koepka bogeyed his first hole of the day on his way to turning in even-par 36. Thomas was one worse, with two bogeys and a birdie.

    On their second nine, Koepka was steady with two birdies and a bogey to reach red figures for the day.

    "I felt like I played good. I hit some good shots, missed a couple putts early and kind put myself in a little bit of trouble on the back nine, my front, but rallied pretty nicely," Koepka said. "I felt like I found a bit of rhythm. But it's a difficult day, anything under par, level par is a good score out there today. I'm pleased with it."

    Thomas, however, had two birdies and a double bogey on his inward half. The double came at the par-4 fourth, where he four-putted. He nearly made up those two strokes on his final hole, the par-5 ninth, when a wild approach shot [as you can see below] traversed the contours of the green and settled 6 feet from the hole. But Thomas missed the short eagle putt and settled for birdie.

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    Watch: Thomas' approach takes wild ride on CJ Cup green

    By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 18, 2018, 5:17 am

    Two over par with one hole to play in Round 1 of the CJ Cup, Justin Thomas eyed an eagle at the par-5 ninth [his 18th].

    And he nearly got it, thanks to his ball beautifully navigating the curves of the green.

    Thomas hit a big draw for his second shot and his ball raced up the green's surface, towards the back, where it caught the top of ridge and funneled down to within 6 feet of the hole.



    Unfortunately for Thomas, the defending champion, he missed the eagle putt and settled for birdie and a 1-over 73.