Notes Stephens a Man of Few Words at Augusta
Stephens often made his point without saying much at all'if he even said anything.
When cigars were all the rage in 1998, he was asked whether Augusta National or any part of the course would be designated non-smoking. Stephens stared at the reporter and smiled, then reached into his pocket and put a pack of Winston cigarettes and his lighter on the table.
Sitting next to him was Will Nicholson, chairman of competition.
No, sir, Nicholson said, turning snickers into laughter.
Were not going to make it No Smoking.
One issue during Stephens tenure from 1991 to 1998 was the Masters limited television coverage. While other majors had a broadcast that stretched five hours or more, the final round of the Masters was only three hours, and usually didnt start until the leaders were approaching the turn.
Stephens once said he might consider extending the broadcast, and so in 1997 he was asked for update.
Progress is slow, Stephens said.
He was asked why it was slow, and to describe the discussions with CBS Sports.
Honestly, Stephens replied, progress is slow because we dont want to do it.
Reporters continued to press Stephens on extending the broadcast, pointing out that it could rob the television audience of dramatic shots that occur over the front nine. One reporter asked him if he ever watched the Super Bowl.
Fourth quarter, Stephens said.
Stephens, the fourth chairman at Augusta National, died over the weekend at age 81. His final year as chairman was in 1998, when Tiger Woods was defending champion after winning by 12 shots with a record score of 270. There was talk about Tiger-proofing the course, although Stephens never seemed to worry. He was asked what he would do if Woods were to set another record and demolish the field.
I suppose well anoint him, he said.
Stephens also could be succinct with players. David Duval finished at 8-under 280 that year and was in Jones Cabin, anticipating a playoff as Mark OMeara lined up a 20-foot birdie putt for the victory.
Dont worry, David, Stephens assured him. Nobody ever makes that putt.
The putt went in, OMeara thrust both arms in the air to celebrate his first major, and Duval was shocked. As Stephens left for the green jacket presentation in Butler Cabin, he looked back at Duval.
Hey, good tournament. Well look forward to seeing you next year.
Three teenagers have petitioned LPGA Tour commissioner Ty Votaw to become members before their 18th birthday, none of them named Michelle Wie.
Votaw made a compromise to U.S. Womens Open runner-up Morgan Pressel, allowing her to go through qualifying school in the fall but not allowing her to become an LPGA member until she turns 18 on May 23. He rejected the request of 15-year-old Carmen Bandea, who has never played an LPGA event.
The latest petition is from In-Bee Park, 17, who won the U.S. Junior Girls three years ago and has been runner-up two of the last three years. She has top 10s in two LPGA Tour starts, both in Las Vegas.
Votaw has not decided whether to waive the LPGAs age limit of 18 for Park, although it appears unlikely.
And he stands by his decision to make Pressel wait until she graduates from high school'three days before she turns 18. The only player granted a full waiver was Aree Song, who was 17 when she joined the tour last year.
Then again, Song had already graduated from high school. Plus, she had played in 14 events on the LPGA Tour, starting with the Kraft Nabisco at age 13 when she was in the final group.
Votaw said he was confident that Pressel would finish high school and keep her 4.0 GPA, but noted her limited experience on the LPGA Tour.
Five tournaments this summer isnt the same as 14 from the age of 13, he said.
Scott Verplank has gone nearly four years since his last win, at the Canadian Open, although it hasnt been for lack of effort.
He hit a brilliant shot in a playoff at Doral last year, only to have Craig Parry hole out a 6-iron. He was poised to win The Players Championship this year until his 10-foot par putt caught the edge, and Fred Funk got up-and-down from a bunker. He was runner-up again last week in Milwaukee.
You can look at that two ways, Verplank said. Either Im really due, or it aint gonna happen. I try and look at it like Im really due.
The average score at Milwaukee was 69.26, the lowest on the PGA Tour at a single course since the field averaged 69.08 at the 2003 Honda Classic at Mirasol. ... The USGA is accepting ticket applications for the 2006 U.S. Open, to be held June 15-18 at Winged Foot. The deadline is Aug. 15, followed by a random drawing. The U.S. Open has been a sellout the last 19 years. ... Scott Verplanks runner-up finish in Milwaukee moved him into 10th place in the Presidents Cup team standings. There are three tournaments left to qualify.
STAT OF THE WEEK
Tiger Woods and Vijay Singh each have been No. 1 for 15 weeks this season.
I hit balls for maybe 20 minutes, hit a few putts, smoke four or five cigarettes, drink three Diet Cokes and go to the first tee.'John Daly, on how he prepares for a tournament.
Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Storms halt Barbasol before Lincicome tees off
NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - Brittany Lincicome will have to wait until the weekend to resume her bid to make the cut in a PGA Tour event.
Overnight storms delayed the start of the second round Friday in the Barbasol Championship, and an afternoon thunderstorm suspended competition for good. The round will resume Saturday morning with much of the field still to play.
The second stoppage at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came 20 minutes before Lincicome's scheduled tee time.
Lincicome was near the bottom of the field after opening with a 6-over 78 on Thursday. The first LPGA player since Michelle Wie in 2008 to start a PGA Tour event, she needs a huge rebound to join Babe Zaharias (1945) as the only female players to make the cut.
Troy Merritt had the clubhouse lead at 15 under, following an opening 62 with a 67.
Third-round tee times for the 147th Open
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eighteen major champions made the cut at The Open and will be playing the weekend at Carnoustie, including 60-year-old ageless wonder Bernhard Langer, and both major champs so far this year, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.
Twenty-four-year-old Gavin Green will be first off solo Saturday at 4:15 a.m. ET. Reed and Rhys Enoch will follow along 10 minutes later.
Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, both at even par for the tournament, six shots behind leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner, are in consecutive groups. Mickelson is playing with Austin Cook at 8:05 a.m. and Woods is with South Africa’s Shaun Norris at 8:15 a.m.
Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, both three shots off the lead, are also in consecutive groups. Fowler is at 10 a.m. with Thorbjorn Olesen and Spieth is 10 minutes later with Kevin Chappell. Rory McIlroy, looking to win his first major since the 2014 PGA Championship, is at 10:40 a.m. with Xander Schauffele. McIlroy is two shots behind.
Johnson and Kisner are last off at 11 a.m.
4:15AM ET: Gavin Green
4:25AM ET: Rhys Enoch, Patrick Reed
4:35AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Justin Rose
4:45AM ET: Yusaku Miyazato, Tyrrell Hatton
4:55AM ET: Ross Fisher, Keegan Bradley
5:05AM ET: Ryan Fox, Jason Dufner
5:15AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Henrik Stenson
5:25AM ET: Tom Lewis, Sam Locke (a)
5:35AM ET: Paul Casey, Chris Wood
5:45AM ET: Bernhard Langer, Rafa Cabrera Bello
6:00AM ET: Paul Dunne, Brett Rumford
6:10AM ET: Masahiro Kawamura, Shubhankar Sharma
6:20AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele
6:30AM ET: Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood
6:40AM ET: Byeong Hun An, Kevin Na
6:50AM ET: Julian Suri, Adam Hadwin
7:00AM ET: Gary Woodland, Si-Woo Kim
7:10AM ET: Yuta Ikeda, Satoshi Kodaira
7:20AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Thomas Pieters
7:30AM ET: Beau Hossler, Haotong Li
7:45AM ET: Cameron Davis, Sean Crocker
7:55AM ET: Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink
8:05AM ET: Phil Mickeslon, Austin Cook
8:15AM ET: Tiger Woods, Shaun Norris
8:25AM ET: Lucas Herbert, Michael Kim
8:35AM ET: Jason Day, Francesco Molinari
8:45AM ET: Sung Kang, Webb Simpson
8:55AM ET: Patrick Cantlay, Eddie Pepperell
9:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Brooks Koepka
9:15AM ET: Kyle Stanley, Adam Scott
9:30AM ET: Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren
9:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Brandon Stone
9:50AM ET: Luke List, Danny Willett
10:00AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Rickie Fowler
10:10AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell
10:20AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau
10:30AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Erik Van Rooyen
10:40AM ET: Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele
10:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Tommy Fleetwood
11:00AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson
Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.
He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.
“There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.
At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.
Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.
“I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”
Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?
Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.
Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.
“I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”
Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.
Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.
“It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.
More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.
“I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”