Notes Olazabal Right at Home

By Associated PressApril 9, 2004, 4:00 pm
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Something about the Masters brings out the best in Jose Maria Olazabal's game.
 
After missing the cut at The Players Championship two weeks ago, Olazabal said he was struggling. He didn't like his short game. He didn't like his long game. His work around the greens left something to be desired, too.
 
Yet here he is at Augusta National, two strokes behind leader Justin Rose at 4-under 140.
 
'It must be something with this place, I don't know,' the two-time winner said after shooting 69 on Friday, his second straight round under par. 'I don't feel much different to how I felt. But every time I come here, I try to do my best. I feel in a way a little bit at peace with myself.'
 
Olazabal has missed only one cut since winning his first green jacket in 1994. He came back from a devastating foot injury to win again in 1999 and has finished in the top 10 the past two years.
 
But Olazabal is at a loss to explain what it is about him and Augusta.
 
'I don't know if it fits my game,' he said. 'It is true that the knowledge of the golf course, it's a great point in the favor of the player that knows the course really well. It allows you to chip around the greens or putt around the greens.
 
'That's the only reason for it. The only reason I can see, anyway.'
 
After playing the front nine at even par, Olazabal found his rhythm on the back. He eagled the par-5 13th and followed with birdies on 14 and 15. He faltered at the end, though, bogeying the 18th.
 
'It's always nice to have two solid rounds,' he said. 'It's always nice to have a solid tournament. But I'm going to need a longer spell than just a week.'
 
No Relief
Talk about being in a rut.
 
Still angry after he didn't get a favorable ruling when his approach shot on 13 landed in a tire track, Jay Haas made a double-bogey on the next hole and finished with a 3-over 75 Friday. After being just two shots off the lead in the first round, he's now six strokes behind leader Justin Rose.
 
'I didn't shoot myself in the foot too badly. If I can shoot in the 60s ... I could be back in it,' Haas said.
 
Young Guns
When Brandt Snedeker's ball went into the water on the 15th hole, all he could think about was the cut.
 
Not to worry. Despite his splashdown Friday, the U.S. Amateur Public Links champion hung around for the weekend at the Masters. So did fellow amateur Casey Wittenberg, runner-up at the U.S. Amateur.
 
Both were at 4-over 148, 10 strokes behind leader Justin Rose.
 
'Relieved. Relieved is the best way to put it,' Snedeker said.
 
Snedeker got his first Masters off to a quick start Thursday with birdies on all three holes of the treacherous Amen Corner en route to a 1-over-par 73. He couldn't duplicate that Friday, but he did get a standing ovation.
 
Snedeker had to settle for a bogey after dunking his approach shot in the water on the par-5 15th. That would have unnerved some veterans, but Snedeker calmly rebounded, putting his tee shot within 5 feet on the par-3 16th and bringing the fans to their feet.
 
'That's something I'll definitely remember for the rest of my life,' Snedeker said, beaming. 'It gives me goosebumps just to think about it.'
 
Wittenberg had perhaps the toughest draw of any of the amateurs, playing his first two rounds with Tiger Woods. Hundreds, if not thousands of people were watching his every move.
 
Wittenberg did just fine, though, shooting an even-par 72 to make the cut.
 
'Tiger was tremendous to me. He couldn't have been any nicer,' Wittenberg said. 'It was a lifetime experience.'
 
Divots
Bob Estes set aside the distraction of playing with Arnold Palmer and shot a 33 on his back nine to make the cut on the number. ... Gary Player, normally dressed head-to-toe in black, mixed it up, wearing an all-white outfit. He shot 80. ... Sandy Lyle, the 1988 champion, finished at 2-over to make his first cut since 1999.
 
Related links:
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    DeChambeau on rough: 'Never encountered something that thick'

    By Mercer BaggsSeptember 20, 2018, 10:52 pm

    ATLANTA – Bryson DeChambeau seems like he’s prepared for any and every circumstance golf can bring him. But he wasn’t ready for East Lake’s rough in Rd. 1 of the Tour Championship.

    “[T]he rough is brutal out there. I've never encountered something that thick,” he said. “It's a zoysia and Bermuda blend, and new conditions for me again.”

    DeChambeau hit six of 14 fairways in the first round. He made two double bogey on his way to a front-nine 39, but recovered with three birdies on the back to finish at 1-over 71.

    When you don’t hit fairways, you don’t hit greens at East Lake. It’s what Tiger Woods said after his opening 65, in which he hit 10 fairways. DeChambeau learned that the hard way on Thursday.


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    “If I would have drove it a little bit better it would have been fine,” he said. “I drove it well enough to shoot even par, but those chip shots around the greens. I mean, I couldn’t believe some of the lies I drew around the green. It was near impossible to judge and understand. Really penalizing. It was like hitting it in the water and kind of frustrating.”

    DeChambeau started the FedExCup finale in first place in the standings, thanks to wins in the first two playoff events. He’s now projected fourth. But, he’s only six shots off the lead and five back of the current projected winner, Justin Rose.

    “You're never out of it. I've got 54 holes left. You know, a lot of golf to be played,” he said. “And if I get my game going, if I get my driving in the right direction, watch out.”

    Second-round tee times for the Tour Championship

    By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 20, 2018, 10:29 pm

    Tiger Woods will go out last and Phil Mickelson will go out first in Rd. 2 of the Tour Championship.

    Woods and Rickie Fowler share the 18-hole lead. The field is re-paired after each round, according to their scores. Here’s a look at second-round tee times at East Lake Golf Club.

    (All times ET)

    11:40AM: Phil Mickelson (+3), Keegan Bradley (+3)

    11:50AM: Patrick Reed (+3), Marc Leishman (+2)

    Noon: Hideki Matsuyama (+2), Kevin Na (+2)

    12:10PM: Billy Horschel (+1), Bryson DeChambeau (+1)

    12:20PM: Patton Kizzire (+1), Patrick Cantlay (+1)

    12:30PM: Cameron Smith (Even), Bubba Watson (Even)

    12:40PM: Aaron Wise (Even), Francesco Molinari (Even)

    12:50PM: Brooks Koepka (-1), Dustin Johnson (-1)

    1PM: Tommy Fleetwood (-1), Webb Simpson (-1)

    1:10PM: Jason Day (-2), Kyle Stanley (-1)

    1:20PM: Jon Rahm (-2), Xander Schauffele (-2)

    1:30PM: Tony Finau (-3), Paul Casey (-2)

    1:40PM: Rory McIlroy (-3), Justin Thomas (-3)

    1:50PM: Gary Woodland (-4), Justin Rose (-4)

    2PM: Rickie Fowler (-5), Tiger Woods (-5)

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    Woods makes plenty of noise with 65 at East Lake

    By Rex HoggardSeptember 20, 2018, 10:24 pm

    ATLANTA – Midway through Rickie Fowler’s post-round media obligations he was interrupted by a thunderous roar that echoed across East Lake.

    “I don't know who it was. I just heard the roar,” Fowler said. Pressed on who might have caused such a distinct reaction, he shrugged, “no.”

    There was a time when only one player prompted that kind of raucous response from the masses, but in Fowler’s defense it’s been a while.

    Tiger Woods always cast an easily recognizable shadow over the game. The signature red and black wardrobe combination on Sundays, the savage fist pumps and emotional outburst, even the steely glare. It was all so unmistakable.

    But for PGA Tour players of a certain age those moments are from another era, folklore stuff that veterans talk about, which at least partially explains Fowler’s confusion.

    The current generation has repeatedly said that they would cherish the chance to compete against Tiger at his best, to hear those roars and feel those moments. The 14-time major champion isn’t there yet, but as his 28-footer for eagle at the last hole on Thursday at the Tour Championship trundled to the hole and ignited the gallery it was something of an “aha moment.”

    So that’s what greatness sounds like.

    Woods finished his day at the finale with a closing nine of 31 after a slow start and was tied with Fowler atop the season-ending leaderboard at 5 under par. He’s been in this position before from Tampa to St. Louis and was equally impressive two weeks ago at the BMW Championship when he opened with a first-round 62 for a share of the lead.

    But Thursday at East Lake felt different. It felt better.


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    “This was by far better than the 62 at [the BMW Championship],” said Woods, who is playing at East Lake for the first time since 2013. “Conditions were soft there. It's hard to get the ball close here. There's so much chase in it. If you drive the ball in the rough, you know you can't get the ball close.”

    A better comparison might be his closing 64 at the PGA Championship, it was certainly louder, yet there was something complete and clinical about his 65 at East Lake.

    On Wednesday Tiger talked of getting all of the parts of his game to fall into place at one time. When he’s driven the ball well, his putting has been off. When he putted well, his driving has let him down. You know, golf.

    On Thursday he had the look of a complete golfer, a five-tool player whose only limitation was running out of holes. Statistically he finished inside the top 10 in strokes gained: off the tee (eighth), tee to green (third), fairways hit (fourth), driving distance (eighth), greens in regulation (fifth), proximity to the hole (sixth), scrambling (first) and strokes gained: putting (eighth).

    “I felt in control today,” Woods said without even trying to hide the knowing smile that inched across his face. “I had a lot of control over my shots.”

    Woods has said all season that as long as he’s healthy he was confident he’d figure out a way to be competitive. Although he said his plan starting the year was to put himself in contention and win, he also acknowledged that starting out the year he wasn’t sure how he was going to do that.

    “The objective is to always win, but how am I going to do it when I had no game at the beginning of the year? Somehow I've got to find a way to piece it together and give myself a chance with what little game I had,” he said.

    Woods’ march back to competitive relevance has seemed meteoric at times, particularly when you consider that at this juncture last year he still wasn’t sure if his surgically repaired back could withstand the rigors of Tour life.

    He’s pieced together a game, swapping putters and drivers at regular clips this season in an attempt to match a new swing with a newly healthy body, and he’s put himself in contention. Getting that elusive victory would be the last piece of the puzzle, but he knows he’s on the clock with 54 holes remaining in his season.

    There was a time when Tiger’s name atop the leaderboard was a reason for the field to take notice even on Day 1. That piece of his aura has also been elusive, but much like that 80th Tour victory that part of his mystique could also be within sight.

    Fowler won’t have any problem deciphering roars on Friday when he’ll be paired with Woods in the day’s final group, it’s what he and the other members of the current generation have pined for and one of the final pieces of Tiger’s comeback.

    “I've had the opportunity before, and I definitely am in a lot better position now than I was in the early part of my career,” said Fowler, who has been paired with Woods a dozen times in his Tour career. “There is a little bit of a comfort level that you have to get used to playing alongside him, especially in a big situation, in a final group. No, I look forward to it now.”

    This is what everyone looked forward to, for those roars to be as distinctive as the man who has produced so many in his career.

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    FedExCup projected standings after Rd. 1 of Tour Championship

    By Mercer BaggsSeptember 20, 2018, 10:13 pm

    ATLANTA – Bryson DeChambeau started the week in the No. 1 spot in the FedExCup standings. But after the first round of the Tour Championship, he’s surrendered his lead.

    Justin Rose, the current world No. 1, is the new projected winner of the $10 million bonus. Rose shot 4-under 66 in the first round and is tied for third in the tournament. He began the week in second place in the FEC standings.

    DeChambeau struggled to a 1-over 71 and is currently tied for 21st in the field of 30.

    Here’s a look at the projected standings after 18 holes at East Lake Golf Club, which includes Tiger Woods jumping from No. 20 to No. 2.

    FedExCup Rank PLAYER NAME FedExCup Points
    PROJ. OFFICIAL PROJ. TOTAL
    1 2 Justin Rose 2450
    2 20 Tiger Woods 2219
    3 23 Rickie Fowler 2182
    4 1 Bryson DeChambeau 2160
    5 3 Tony Finau 1920
    6 5 Justin Thomas 1680
    7 4 Dustin Johnson 1528
    8 6 Keegan Bradley 1238
    9 7 Brooks Koepka 1192
    10 8 Bubba Watson 992
    11 9 Billy Horschel 800
    12 28 Gary Woodland 783
    13 12 Jason Day 678
    14 10 Cameron Smith 672
    14 17 Rory McIlroy 672
    16 11 Webb Simpson 616
    17 18 Xander Schauffele 561
    18 13 Francesco Molinari 544
    19 24 Jon Rahm 480
    20 19 Tommy Fleetwood 463
    21 26 Paul Casey 461
    22 14 Phil Mickelson 454
    23 16 Patrick Cantlay 453
    24 15 Patrick Reed 450
    25 21 Aaron Wise 398
    26 25 Kyle Stanley 393
    27 22 Kevin Na 330
    28 27 Hideki Matsuyama 278
    29 30 Patton Kizzire 275
    30 29 Marc Leishman 242