Rain Wipes Out Play Yet Again

By Associated PressApril 8, 2005, 4:00 pm
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Stormy weather wreaked another day of havoc at the Masters, halting the second round shortly after the first was finally completed. When Friday's play was suspended about 12:40 p.m. EDT, three players - David Howell, Chris DiMarco and Luke Donald - shared the top spot on the leaderboard at 5 under par.
Defending champion Phil Mickelson and top-ranked Vijay Singh were also in contention, while Tiger Woods and Ernie Els struggled.
Luke Donald
Luke Donald would love to add a green jacket to go along with his green pants.
More than any player, though, weather was the overriding story, just as it has been most of the year on the PGA Tour.
The start of the season's first major was delayed nearly 5 1/2 hours by heavy rain, forcing a two-tee start. Even so, only 24 of the 92 players got through the first round, the rest coming back Friday morning to finish.
Not long after everyone had played their first 18 holes, another line of storms made a mess of Augusta National.
The well-worn areas in front of the clubhouse were gooey instead of green. Rae's Creek resembled chocolate milk as it lapped against the 12th green. Workers used squeegees to push away a small creek that formed across the 18th fairway.
The rain cleared out, the grounds crew worked furiously to get the course back in shape, and mud-splattered fans began to reclaim position along the ropes.
But play never resumed. Around 4 p.m., tournament officials called off play for the day with more storms moving in.
Everyone will try again at 8:30 a.m. Saturday.
'It looks very good for the weekend,' said Will Nicholson, chairman of the competition committee. 'But this has been a crazy year.'
Indeed. Bad weather has interrupted play on the PGA Tour for the ninth time in 15 tournaments, and the fourth week in a row. Or course, this is nothing new at Augusta, interrupted by storms for the fourth straight year.
No matter what, the tournament will be played in full - even if stretches into next week. The last Monday finish was in 1983.
'Under any circumstances,' Nicholson said, 'the winner will play 72 holes.'
While waiting around, Howell had lunch with his girlfriend and napped for about an hour in the clubhouse.
'I was right next to Padraig Harrington,' Howell said with a smile. 'He did better than me. He was snoring when I woke up.'
Woods, a three-time Augusta champion, probably welcomed the break.
He knocked a putt in the creek the first day, then had another adventure Friday at No. 8. Woods stuck a shot in the pine trees along the right side, then caught a limb trying to get out. The ball deflected the wrong way but at least settled in the fairway. He wound up with a bogey on the par-5 hole.
Woods finished at 74 and hasn't eclipsed par in the opening round since 2002, when he won the green jacket for the second year in a row and third time overall. He started with a 76 in 2003 and 75 last year.
DiMarco was back in a familiar position - leading the Masters.
He started Friday with a brilliant tee shot at No. 6, a par-3 where he scored a hole-in-one last year. He nearly holed out again, leaving himself a short putt that gave him a stretch of four birdies in six holes on the front nine - albeit over two days.
DiMarco was the clubhouse leader with a 5-under 67, the fourth time he has led a round at Augusta. He likes his chances of being on top when it counts.
'Absolutely,' he said. 'I'm feeling really comfortable and I'm putting well.'
Last year, DiMarco took a lead to the final round before fading with a 76 on Sunday. At least he had a hand in the outcome, providing the line for Mickelson's winning putt at the 18th.
'All I can do is try to put myself into position Sunday and use what I learned last year,' DiMarco said.
Howell, a surprising Ryder Cup star in Europe's dominating win over the Americans last fall, started with a 72. Then, while DiMarco and others were finishing up the first round, he birdied five of his first seven holes in the second to pull even with DiMarco.
'I played lovely,' Howell said.
Donald moved to 5 under with an early birdie in the second round after opening with a 68.
Singh also was one stroke behind DiMarco after the first round, squandering a chance to take the lead at the par-5 15th. He had a 35-footer for eagle, but the putt curled left of the cup. The birdie attempt failed to find the cup again - bitten twice by Augusta's wet but still treacherous greens.
Singh never made it back out for the second round. DiMarco played only five holes all day.
Mickelson was off to a strong start in defense of his title. His first shot Friday dropped 5 feet from the flag at the par-3 12th, leading to a cherished birdie in the heart of Amen Corner. He finished with a 70, just three strokes behind DiMarco.
Els, a perennial Augusta contender, had a steep hill to climb after posting a 75. Of course, he opened with a 79 two years ago and managed to fight back to finish in a tie for sixth.
Donald's 68 included a 20-foot birdie at No. 6. He had a downhill 5-footer to tie for the lead on his final hole, but the ball slid by the cup.
'It's a great start, nothing more than that,' he said. 'There's a long way to go.
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    Phil rubs fan's Donald Duck hat seven times, signs it

    By Nick MentaJune 18, 2018, 3:09 pm

    There is a case to be made that what Phil Mickelson did on Saturday made a mockery of a major championship and was worthy of derision.

    There is also a case to be made that the USGA's setup of Shinnecock Hills made a mockery of a major championship and was worthy of derision.

    Whatever you think about what Mickelson did on Saturday - and how he attempted to justify it after the fact without even a hint of remorse - watch this video.

    The next time you hear someone say, "If anybody else had putted a moving ball on purpose and not apologized for it, it would get a different reaction," you can point to this video and say, "Yeah, here's why."

    Here's what happened once a still-strident Mickelson was done rubbing Donald Duck hats on Sunday, per Ryan Lavner:

    If you’re wondering whether Mickelson would be defiant or contrite on Sunday, we don’t know the answer. He declined to stop and speak with the media, deciding instead to sign autographs for more than a half hour and then offering a few short answers before ducking into player hospitality.

    “The real question is, ‘What am I going to do next?’” he said. “I don’t know.”

    The 2024 Ryder Cup at Bethpage is going to be a three-ring circus, and Mickelson, a likely choice to captain the U.S. team, will be the ringmaster.

    Separately, shoutout to 2017 Latin Am champ Toto Gana, who does a terrific Donald Duck (skip to end).

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    Ryder Cup race: Mickelson out, Simpson in

    By Will GrayJune 18, 2018, 2:34 pm

    There's a new man at the top of the U.S. Ryder Cup race following the U.S. Open, and there's also a familiar name now on the outside looking in.

    Brooks Koepka's successful title defense vaulted him to the top of the American points race, up four spots and ensuring he'll be on the team Jim Furyk takes to Paris in September. Dustin Johnson's third-place finish moved him past Patrick Reed at No. 2, while Webb Simpson entered the top eight after a a tie for 10th.

    While Bryson DeChambeau remained at No. 9, Phil Mickelson dropped two spots to No. 10. Tony Finau, who finished alone in fifth, went from 16th to 13th, while Tiger Woods fell two spots to No. 37.

    Here's a look at the latest U.S. standings, with the top eight after the PGA Championship qualifying automatically:

    1. Brooks Koepka

    2. Dustin Johnson

    3. Patrick Reed

    4. Justin Thomas

    5. Jordan Spieth

    6. Rickie Fowler

    7. Bubba Watson

    8. Webb Simpson


    9. Bryson DeChambeau

    10. Phil Mickelson

    11. Matt Kuchar

    12. Brian Harman

    On the European side, England's Tommy Fleetwood took a big stride toward securing his first Ryder Cup appearance with a runner-up finish that included a Sunday 63 while countryman Matthew Fitzpatrick snuck into a qualifying spot after tying for 12th.

    Here's a look at the updated Euro standings, with the top four from both points lists joining four picks from captain Thomas Bjorn at Le Golf National:

    European Points

    1. Tyrrell Hatton

    2. Justin Rose

    3. Tommy Fleetwood

    4. Francesco Molinari


    5. Thorbjorn Olesen

    6. Ross Fisher

    World Points

    1. Jon Rahm

    2. Rory McIlroy

    3. Alex Noren

    4. Matthew Fitzpatrick


    5. Ian Poulter

    6. Rafael Cabrera-Bello

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    Koepka autographs local kids' 'Go Brooks' sign after win

    By Grill Room TeamJune 18, 2018, 2:30 pm

    Brooks Koepka is a two-time U.S. Open winner, but that doesn't mean he's now too big to go sign a couple pieces of cardboard in somebody's front yard in the middle of the night.

    Koepka's girlfriend, Jena Sims, posted two pictures to her Instagram story on Sunday of "Go Brooks" signs she says were put up by some local kids in the area where Koepka was staying for the week.

    The first is dated prior to Koepka's final-round tee time.

    The second is from Sunday night.

    And here, separately, for no reason in particular (other than the fact that she posted it) is a video of Sims running over a parking cone at last year's U.S. Open at Erin Hills.

    Speaking of kids, just feels those two are gonna make it.

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    Koepka moves to No. 4 in world with U.S. Open win

    By Will GrayJune 18, 2018, 2:05 pm

    After successfully defending his U.S. Open title, Brooks Koepka reached a new career high in the Official World Golf Ranking.

    Koepka held off Tommy Fleetwood to win by a shot Sunday at Shinnecock Hills, becoming the first player to go back-to-back in nearly 30 years. As a result, he jumped five spots in the latest rankings to No. 4, six spots higher than he reached with last year's U.S. Open victory at Erin Hills.

    Fleetwood finished alone in second place and moved up two spots to No. 10, tying his career-best placement. Patrick Reed moved up two spots to No. 11 by finishing fourth, while fifth-place Tony Finau went from No. 37 to No. 31.

    Updated Official World Golf Ranking

    It was a largely quiet week in the rankings despite the fact that a major championship was contested. Outside of Koepka and Finau, the only other player inside the top 50 to move up or down more than three spots was Jason Dufner, who went from 53rd to 48th with a T-25 finish.

    Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1 for the second consecutive week, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Koepka and Jordan Spieth. Jon Rahm dropped one spot to No. 6, with Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Jason Day and Fleetwood rounding out the top 10. Hideki Matsuyama fell two spots to No. 12, dropping out of the top 10 for the first time since October 2016.

    Despite a missed cut at Shinnecock, Tiger Woods actually moved up one spot to No. 79 in the latest rankings. He plans to play the Quicken Loans National and The Open in the coming weeks, which will be his final two chances to move into the top 50 in time to qualify for the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. The event is being held for the final time this summer at Firestone Country Club, where Woods has won eight times.