Notes Couples Misses First Cut

By Associated PressApril 11, 2008, 4:00 pm
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Fred Couples has to come up with something else to do on this Masters weekend.
The 1992 champion missed the cut at Augusta National for the first time Friday, ending his consecutive cuts streak at 23. His streak, interrupted only when he didnt play in 1987 and 1994, had tied a record set by Gary Player from 1959-82.
Its been a long time, he said. Its been fun.
Couples, who had been the only Masters champion never to miss a cut, came to No. 18 needing a birdie to make the weekend, and he gave himself a great chance with a 10-footer above the hole. But he missed it by inches, and immediately looked skyward as the crowd groaned.
When I hit it, I thought Id made it, he said.
Instead, his even-par 72 put him at 4-over 148 and one stroke above the cut line. The top 44 and ties play the weekend, and he tied for 46th.
I thought if I could birdie a few holes, itd be close, Couples said. I needed one more.
Couples wasnt the only big name to miss the cut. Sergio Garcia wont be shedding the best player to never win a major tag this week, finishing at 4-over with Couples, three-time major champion Ernie Els, Luke Donald and Augusta native Charles Howell III. Rory Sabbatini kept the Par 3 Contest curse going, finishing at 5-over 149.
Steve Stricker (150), and former champions Bernhard Langer, Jose Maria Olazabal (151) and Ben Crenshaw (152) went home early, too.
Couples had to scramble to make the cut last year, but that was when his back was aching so badly hed played only two competitive rounds coming into the Masters and was practically doing yoga between shots to keep himself loose. He arrived in far better shape this year, fresh from a tie for fourth at the Houston Open last weekend that was his best finish since tying for third at the 2006 Masters.
But he got off to an ugly start Thursday with a bogey on No. 1, and things never really improved. He shot a 4-over 40 on the front nine and finished with a 76, leaving him too much work to do Friday.
As well as I played last week, I think I set my sights a little high yesterday, he said. I went out and I struggled and I tried to hit better shots than I could, and I went from 2-over to 3-over to 4-over, and youre kind of done.
Couples was greeted with cheers of Go, Freddie! and Have a good one, Freddie! after he teed off on No. 1 Friday. But he could never get anything going, not making a birdie until the par-5 13th.
Youre not going to shoot good scores if youre not making a few birdies out there, he said. Theres a lot of hard holes and youre going to make bogeys.
He wont be making anything this weekend. For the first time in two-plus decades, Couples wont be around.
Im kind of disappointed in that. But Im really disappointed with the way I played, he said. The streak is part of the deal. But now its gone.
NOT ME: Jose Maria Olazabal wants to play in the 2010 Ryder Cup, not make out the lineup.
Olazabal denied a report Friday that hed been asked to be the European captain in 2010. He said he did discuss the job a few weeks ago with Henrik Stenson, who is on the players committee. But it hasnt been offered and Olazabal certainly hasnt accepted it.
We just had a little chat, nothing serious. The job was not on the line, the two-time Masters champion said after missing the cut by four strokes.
Im 42 years old. If I didnt think I could play in two years, I should not be here, Olazabal added. If I get healthy, I still feel I can play some golf. The captaincy can wait.
Olazabal has played in seven Ryder Cups, including in 2006 when he made the team after a seven-year absence. Nick Faldo made him an assistant captain for this years Ryder Cup, which will be played Sept. 19-21 at Valhalla Golf Club in Kentucky'provided Olazabal doesnt make the team as a player, which isnt likely to happen.
He missed much of last year because of a back injury, and is slowly working himself back into shape. He shot a 76-75 at Augusta National, and said hell now take the next few weeks off.
I feel tired, to be honest, he said. Im going to go home, take a few weeks rest and see how I feel, see if I get any stronger.
Europe has won the last three Ryder Cups, winning by record margins the last two times.
HONORABLE AMATEUR: Michael Thompson did the right thing, even though it might have cost him a chance to make the cut at the Masters.
The amateur called a one-stroke penalty on himself on the 15th hole after he saw his ball move after he had already addressed it. He wound up taking a bogey, then followed with bogeys on the next two holes to end any chance he had of making the cut.
It really turned my round, turned the momentum against me, said Thompson, the U.S. Amateur runner-up. It was very unfortunate, but Im sure its happened many a time before here.
Thompson might have gotten away with not saying a word. The ball moved so slightly his playing partners didnt notice, and the rules official wasnt close enough to tell.
It was his word and his word only'and he turned himself in.
He handled himself beautifully, said two-time Masters champion Ben Crenshaw, one of Thompsons playing partners. He claimed that he grounded the club. I didnt see that, but my back was turned, I guess. And it was at a very critical juncture too. Hes looking at birdie and he knows hes right on the cut line, too.
You know, when the greens get this fast, a little gust of wind can move the ball. I didnt see him ground the club, but he said he did.
The bogey also cost Thompson the low-amateur title. He finished at 7-over 151, a stroke behind Trip Kuehne.
But Thompson said hed do the same thing if it happened again.
You just have to follow the rules. It doesnt matter how youre playing or whats going on, Thompson said. Stuff like that that happens, but its unfortunate that it happened for me this week because I really wanted to stay for the weekend.
PLUCKED ROSE: Justin Roses chances for a green jacket are all wet.
The Englishman did his traditional Masters swoon Friday, falling out of contention when he went in the water on 15 on his way to a triple bogey. With a 6-over 78, Rose went from a share of the lead to 10 strokes back.
Theres plenty to play for sometimes, even if youre not meant to win, Rose said. But yeah, obviously, its not going to be the exciting weekend I was looking forward to'exciting Saturday, anyway, I was looking forward to.
Rose wasnt having a great day to begin with, playing the front nine in 2 over. But it was the par-5 15th that ruined him. He laid up short of the pond on the 530-yard hole'and still put his third shot in the water. He flew the green with his fifth shot and that ball looked like it might go in the water, too, but it stopped short.
He finally got on the green with his sixth shot, then two-putted for an 8.
A 20-second lapse in concentration. In hindsight, I should have gone for the green, Rose said. I struggled with my concentration today. It was such a long round. Coming in last is tough, and theres a lot of noise going on. Thats what I found really tough coming in. I dont know if I didnt quite work my way around, but I was struggling out there. It was a tough finish.
This isnt the first time Rose has blown up when hes been at or near the top of the leaderboard. Leading after the first two rounds in 2004, he shot an 81 on Saturday that matched Lee Trevino for the worst third round ever by the 36-hole leader at the Masters.
Oh, and that 78 Friday? It tied 72-year-old Gary Player.
PLAYING IT AGAIN: Gary Player wont settle for just one tee shot next year.
The 72-year-old didnt come close to making the cut at the Masters on Friday. But he made his own cut with a 78.
I said if I break 80, Ill come back next year, said the three-time champion, who bent down and kissed the green as he came off 18.
This was Players 51st Masters, topping the record for most played that hed shared with Arnold Palmer. He hasnt been a threat here in years, making the cut only twice in the last 17 years. But he feels as if he can still play, and he loves this tournament.
But the fitness fanatic said he will make one change before next years tournament.
Im going to increase my weight training, the diminutive South African said. Its really irritating when I cant reach these par 4s.
DIVOTS: Defending champion Zach Johnson finally went for a par-5 in two Friday. He had gone the entire tournament'and Thursdays first round'without even trying to reach the longest holes in two. That wasnt my point, going for it. It was just the way I played, Johnson said. It worked. He made birdie. Johnson Wagner, the last person to make the Masters field after winning in Houston last weekend, made the cut. Hes at 2-over after a 76 Friday.
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    Johnson, Moore co-lead Valero Texas Open through 36

    By Associated PressApril 20, 2018, 11:32 pm

    SAN ANTONIO - Zach Johnson was going nowhere in the Valero Texas Open when it all changed with one putt.

    He made an 8-foot par putt on the 13th hole of the opening round to stay at 2 under. He followed with a big drive, a hybrid into 12 feet and an eagle. Johnson was on his way, and he kept right on going Friday to a 7-under 65 and a share of the early 36-hole lead with Ryan Moore.

    ''You just never know. That's the beauty of this game,'' Johnson said. ''I felt like I was hitting some solid shots and wasn't getting rewarded, and you've just got to stay in it. You've got to persevere, grind it out, fight for pars. You just never know.''

    Moore had three birdies over his last five holes for a 67 and joined Johnson at 9-under 135.

    Ben Crane (66), Martin Laird (65) and David Hearn (68) were three shots out of the lead among those who played Friday morning. Billy Horschel and Keegan Bradley shot 71 and were four shots behind at 5-under 139.

    Sergio Garcia, who consulted Greg Norman on the design of the AT&T Oaks Course at the TPC San Antonio, might have a long stay in his first time at the Texas Open since 2010. Garcia shot an even-par 72, and at one point became so frustrated he threw his driver into the shrubs.

    Full-field scores from the Valero Texas Open

    Valero Texas Open: Articles, photos and videos

    Garcia finished at 2-over 146 and was outside the cut. He was in jeopardy of missing his second straight cut, depending on afternoon scoring.

    Johnson, a two-time winner of the Texas Open, appeared to be headed to a short week until the key par save on the 13th hole, followed by his eagle, par and three straight birdies. He began the second round Friday with five birdies in a six-hole stretch on the back nine, a sixth birdie on the par-4 first hole, and then an eagle on the short par-4 fifth when he holed out from a greenside bunker.

    The only sour taste to his second round was a three-putt bogey from about 30 feet on his final hole. Even so, the view was much better than it was Thursday afternoon.

    Moore thought he had wasted a good birdie opportunity on the par-5 14th hole when he left his 50-foot eagle putt about 6 feet short. But he made that, and then holed a similar putt from 8 feet for birdie on the next hole and capped his good finish with a 15-foot putt on the 17th.

    ''That was a huge momentum putt there,'' Moore said of the 14th. ''It was a tough putt from down there with a lot of wind. That green is pretty exposed and ... yeah, really short and committed to that second putt really well and knocked it right in the middle.''

    The birdies on the 14th and 15th were important to Moore because he missed a pair of 10-foot birdie tries to start the back nine.

    ''So it was nice to get those and get going in the right direction on the back,'' he said.

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    Daly-Allen team grabs Legends of Golf lead on Day 2

    By Associated PressApril 20, 2018, 11:14 pm

    RIDGEDALE, Mo. - John Daly and Michael Allen took the second-round lead Friday in the cool and breezy Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf.

    Daly and Allen shot an 8-under 46 on the Top of the Rock par-3 course with wind gusting to 15 mph and the temperature only in the high-50s at Big Cedar Lodge. They had three birdies on the front nine in alternate-shot play and added five more on the back in better-ball play to get to 13 under.

    ''Michael and I go back to the South African days in the late 80s and playing that tour,'' Daly said. ''We've been buddies since. He's just fun to play with. We feed off each other pretty good. And if he's not comfortable guinea-pigging on one hole, I'll go first.''

    On Thursday, they opened with a 66 on the regulation Buffalo Ridge course. They will rotate to the 13-hole Mountain Top par-3 course on Saturday, and return to Top of the Rock for the final round Sunday.

    ''I went to high school in Jeff City, so it's cool to have the fans behind us,'' Daly said.

    Allen won the PGA Tour Champions team event with David Frost in 2012 and Woody Austin in 2016.

    ''I'm just here to free up John,'' Allen said. ''It was fun. Luckily, I started making good putts today. We just want to keep the good times rolling.''

    Full-field scores from the Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf

    Defending champions Vijay Singh and Carlos Franco were a stroke back along with Bernhard Langer-Tom Lehman and Paul Broadhurst-Kirk Triplett. Singh and Franco had a 7-under 32 in best-ball play at Mountain Top, and Lehman-Langer and Broadhurst-Tripplet each shot 6-under 48 at Top of the Rock.

    ''Part of the issue here is all the tees are elevated, so you're up high hitting to a green that's down below and the wind is blowing, and there is more time for that wind to affect it,'' Lehman said. ''If you guess wrong on the wind, you can hit a really good shot and kind of look stupid.''

    Former UCLA teammates Scott McCarron and Brandt Jobe were two strokes back at 11 under with Steve Flesch and David Toms and the Spanish side of Jose Maria Olazabal and Miguel Angel Jimenez. McCarron-Jobe had a 47, and Jimenez-Olazabal a 48 at Top of the Rock, and Tom Flesch shot 34 at Mountain Top.

    First-round leaders Jeff Maggert and Jesper Parnevik had a 52 at Top of the Rock to fall three shots back at 10 under. Madison, Wisconsin, friends Steve Stricker and Jerry Kelly also were 10 under after a 32 at Mountain Top. Jay Haas aced the 131-yard seventh hole at Mountain Top with a gap wedge. Haas and fellow 64-year-old Peter Jacobsen were 8 under after a 32.

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    Football coach hates golf: Don't need practice swearing

    By Jason CrookApril 20, 2018, 10:15 pm

    Some football coaches are a little more talkative than others. On one side of the spectrum, there's Bill Belichick. On the other sits Washington State football coach Mike Leach.

    Leach always delivers the goods, and when asked recently if he liked golf, he didn't hold back:

    As wrong as the 57-year-old is on the topic (golf is awesome), the man makes some hilarious points:

    • “It’s boring. I don’t care where that ball goes.”

    • "Golfers are always practicing their swing. But you know what I never did? I never practice fishing in my living room.”

    • "They'll line up over the ball and they'll say they're going to do something that you can't do with a sniper rifle and a scope, but they're going to do it with a stick and a ball."

    • “Golf’s pretty much for people that don’t swear effectively enough or need practice. And so there are people that need golf, and I don’t think I do.”

    So in conclusion, it's confirmed: Mike Leach - not a golf guy.

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    Quiros takes 1-shot lead in Morocco

    By Associated PressApril 20, 2018, 8:22 pm

    RABAT, Morocco - Alvaro Quiros shot a solid 2-under 70 in windy conditions to push into a one-shot lead after two rounds of the Trophee Hassan II in Morocco on Friday.

    Quiros fought the elements, carding seven birdies and five bogeys to move to 7 under overall and take the outright lead at the halfway point of the European Tour event.

    The Spaniard was one clear of Andrew Dodt, who moved into contention with a 4-under 68 at the Royal Golf Dar Es Salam course. Dodt dropped two shots in his first six holes but the Australian recovered from that shaky start to collect four birdies and an eagle.

    Full-field scores from the Trophee Hassan II

    Erik van Rooyen of South Africa was another shot back in third on 5 under after his 71.

    Bradley Dredge of Wales, who shared the first-round lead with Quiros, slipped off the pace with a 1-over 73. He's tied for fourth with Austin Connelly of Canada (71), 4 under par and three shots behind Quiros.