Waiting Out the Rain Under the Porch

By Associated PressApril 8, 2006, 4:00 pm
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- The long porch at the Augusta National clubhouse was filled with caddies, most of them sitting, some of them smoking, all of them with nothing to do but wait for someone in a green jacket to give them a weather update.
Rain at the Masters -- a tradition like no other.
Some scenes from the porch:
Rocco Mediate, three shots out of the lead and in the final group for the third round, was among the first to emerge from the clubhouse. He didn't get far when a cameraman for a local TV station asked him for a quick interview.
'What should I tell him?' Mediate asked the caddies, eyes bulging in mock confusion.
'Tell him it's raining,' a caddie replied.
Saturday was the fifth straight year a round at the Masters was interrupted by rain.
A peak through a window into the lounge outside the locker room looked like a snapshot of a family gathering at Christmas.
Stephen Ames shared a seat and a smile with his wife, Jodi, who is recovering from lung cancer. They had no plans to be at Augusta National until Ames buried the strongest field in golf to win The Players Championship two weeks ago.
Ben Curtis sat in a chair while his wife, Candace, who is four months pregnant, made herself comfortable on the carpeted floor, both listening to the chatter and stories coming from all directions.
Across the room, Retief Goosen sat impassively, like a wax figure in a museum.
Ricci Roberts leaned against the golf bag when his boss, Ernie Els, ambled out of the clubhouse and came by for an inspection.
He pulled out a rain suit so new it still had tissue paper under the creases. Els doesn't like playing in a full rain jacket, so he was happy to find zippers halfway up the sleeves. He removed them, converting the jacket into a vest.
'You don't learn how to play in the rain,' said Els, who grew up in Johannesburg. 'You learn to be organized with your bag. I didn't play much in the rain until I went to Europe.'
It has served him well at Augusta.
Ben Crenshaw stopped long enough to be surrounded by a dozen reporters who know him to speak eloquently on any subject. The topic -- his chances on a course that went from fast and firm to slow and soft because of the rain, which won't help.
The 54-year-old Crenshaw had not made the cut since he won his second Masters in 1995. He is last in driving distance. He needed the course to be dry, making it play shorter. 'I've been waiting for a dry year,' he said.
He was more interested in telling stories of his early years at Augusta National, recalling the first invitation that came in the mail -- understated, of course -- for the 1972 Masters.
'It's like an invitation to a nice party,' Crenshaw said. 'There's an RSVP at the bottom. And you had better RSVP.'
Crenshaw was at the University of Texas, and his blond hair was a full mop. One of the first people to notice it was Clifford Roberts, the iron-fisted chairman of Augusta National.
'There used to be a barber shop right over there,' Crenshaw said, pointing to the end of the porch. 'Mr. Roberts said, 'Ben, we're mighty happy to have you here. You're playing great golf. I've spent some time in Texas, and we've had a number of Texans do well here. By the way, do you know we have a barber shop on the grounds?''
Crenshaw paused to smile.
'I went right over,' he said.
Another peak inside the window: Goosen still hasn't moved.
Rich Beem stuck his head out the clubhouse door, spotted a reporter and waved him over.
'Have you seen this book?' Beem said.
Sitting in the lounge, he picked up a copy of 'The Wit & Wisdom of Bobby Jones,' a collection of sayings from the man behind Augusta National Golf Club and a tournament now called the Masters.
Beem pointed out one passage that appeared to go against lengthening the golf course, which club chairman Hootie Johnson has done twice in the last five years. The course now is 7,445 yards, the second-longest in major championship history.
'There was good reason to expect that improvements in the manufacture and the introduction of new methods and materials might make even our long courses look silly and make jokes of our championships,' the passage said. 'It was not practical to think of buying more and more expensive ground to keep increasing the length of holes to make them fit for championship play as the ball became more and more powerful, particularly when this increase in power carried no actual advantage to the game in any conceivable form.'
Beem turned the page to show another passage.
'American architecture allows practically no option as to where the drive shall go,' it said.
'What about No. 11? And (No.) 7?' Beem said.
He was referring to two holes that have been lengthened to 505 yards and 450 yards, respectively, both lined by trees that allow for a tight driving area and really no other option.
'Good stuff, huh?' Beem said, then went back inside.
Inside the lounge, Curtis switched chairs and was immersed in a coffee table book called 'The Greatest of Them All,' a biography of Jones. Chatter had quieted, replaced by boredom.
Tim Herron, affectionately known as 'Lumpy,' lumbered out of the dining room. The chef was right behind him.
Steve Williams was on the far end of the porch, closer to the locker room set aside for Masters champions. His boss, Tiger Woods, had been on the practice range when the siren sounded to suspend play. Woods' glove, crinkled from wear, was on top of his irons.
'It's too bad,' Williams said as a slow, steady rain began to fall. 'This course was getting unbelievably fast. I would've liked to have seen it that way on the weekend.'
Did he think something like 2 under par would have won?
'Very likely,' Williams said, without noting that Woods was at 1 under.
Goosen finally got up from his chair. The third round resumed at 5:20 p.m.
The porch was empty.
Related Links:
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    Woods: New putter should help on slower greens

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 17, 2018, 11:35 am

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tiger Woods’ ice-cold putting showed at least a few signs of heating up earlier this month at The National, where he switched putters and ranked seventh in the field on the greens.

    The mallet-style putter is still in the bag as Woods prepares for The Open, and he’s hoping the heavier model with grooves will prove valuable at Carnoustie.

    Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    “To be honest with you, I’ve struggled on slower greens throughout my entire career,” Woods said Tuesday. “So for me, it’s going to help on these greens, for sure.”

    To combat the slower greens, Woods usually applied a strip of lead tape to his putter. But this heavier model of putter doesn’t need the extra weight, and the grooves on the putter face allow the ball to get rolling faster and hotter.

    “You don’t necessarily have to do that with the grooves,” he said of the lead tape. “When I putted with the Nike putter, I didn’t have to put lead tape on the putter to get a little more weight to it. I could just leave it just the way it was. This is the same type.”  

    For all of the talk about his putting woes this season, Woods still ranks 56th in strokes gained: putting. More crucial this week: He’s 102nd in approach putt performance, which quantifies how well a player lag putts.

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    Woods: Open best chance for long-term major success

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 17, 2018, 11:26 am

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tiger Woods is more than a decade removed from his last major title, but he said Tuesday that The Open is the major that gives him the best chance for long-term success.

    “I would say yes, because of the fact that you don’t have to be long to play on a links-style golf course,” Woods said during his pre-tournament news conference. “It certainly can be done.”

    Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    Woods pointed to the late-career success for both Greg Norman (2008) and Tom Watson (2009), both of whom challenged for the claret jug deep into their 50s.

    “Distance becomes a moot point on a links-style golf course,” he said.

    That’s certainly not the case, however, at the Masters, where bombers long have thrived, or the U.S. Open, which places a premium on long and straight driving.

    “You get to places like Augusta National, which is just a big ballpark, and the golf course outgrows you, unfortunately,” he said. “But links-style courses, you can roll the ball. I hit a 3-iron that went down there 330. Even if I get a little bit older, I can still chase some wood or long club down there and hit the ball the same distance.”

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    "Vantage Point with Mike Tirico" set to debut Tuesday, July 17 at 9 p.m. ET on Golf Channel

    By Golf Channel Public RelationsJuly 17, 2018, 10:15 am

    Special Hour Complementing the Network’s Week-Long Golf Central Live From The Open News Coverage; Premiere Scheduled to Include Interview with 2014 Open Runner-Up Rickie Fowler On-Site from Carnoustie

    Features Include Tirico and Curtis Strange Re-watching ’99 Open at Carnoustie & Jim “Bones” Mackay Facilitating Exclusive Conversation with Caddies Michael Greller, John Wood Recounting Final Round Pairing at 2017 Open

    To help set the table ahead of The 147TH Open at Carnoustie, Golf Channel will premiere Vantage Point with Mike Tirico on Tuesday, July 17 at 9 p.m. ET. An extension of the network’s week-long Golf Central Live From The Open comprehensive news coverage, Vantage Point will revisit landmark moments in The Open’s history, uncover personal stories relevant to the fabric of the week and feature a roundtable discussion with past “Champion Golfers of the Year” on golf’s original championship.

    “It’s a thrill to be going back to The Open again this year, which is a fitting setting to launch this new opportunity,” said Tirico, NBC Sports host who this week will celebrate his 22nd consecutive year covering The Open. “I love being a part of the Golf Channel team during golf’s biggest weeks, and anticipate contributing to our commitment to great storytelling with Vantage Point.”

    Kicking off the premiere of Vantage Point will be Tirico’s exclusive interview with 2014 Open runner-up and 2015 PLAYERS champion Rickie Fowler on-site from Carnoustie. One of Fowler’s favorite events, he has missed just one cut in eight previous appearances at The Open. Other highlights within the show include:

    • Jim “Bones” Mackay facilitating an exclusive conversation between caddies Michael Greller (Jordan Spieth) and John Wood (Matt Kuchar) recounting the final round pairing at The Open last July.
    • Tirico hosting a roundtable discussion with past “Champion Golfers of the Year”: David Duval, Tom Lehman and Justin Leonard.
    • A recollection of one of the most unforgettable collapses in major championship golf, when Jean van de Velde surrendered a three-shot lead on the 72nd hole in 1999 at The Open. Tirico and Curtis Strange – both on the live tournament broadcast that year for ABC/ESPN – recently re-watched the telecast together for the first time since calling it live.


    “This is harder to watch than I thought it was going to be. I’ve never seen anything like

    that in my life. I don’t think we’ll ever see anything like that again.” – Curtis Strange


    “I think I got caught up in the whole deal and felt human for the guy.” – Mike Tirico


    Vantage Point with Mike Tirico will complement the network’s Golf Central Live From The Open, which will feature nearly 60 hours of comprehensive news coverage from Carnoustie. In total, NBC Sports will dedicate more than 350 hours to showcasing the third men’s major championship of the year, including nearly 50 live hours of the network’s Emmy-nominated tournament coverage – annually the most live hours of coverage from any golf event – spanning from Thursday’s opening tee shot to Sunday’s final putt.

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    How to watch The Open on TV and online

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 17, 2018, 8:40 am

    You want to watch the 147th Open? Here’s how you can do it.

    Golf Channel and NBC Sports will be televising 182 hours of overall programming from the men's third major of the year at Carnoustie

    In addition to the traditional coverage, the two networks will showcase three live alternate feeds: marquee groups, featured holes (our new 3-hole channel) and spotlight action. You can also watch replays of full-day coverage, Thursday-Sunday, in the Golf Channel app, NBC Sports apps, and on GolfChannel.com.  

    Here’s the weekly TV schedule, with live stream links in parentheses. You can view all the action on the Golf Channel mobile, as well. Alternate coverage is noted in italics:

    (All times Eastern; GC=Golf Channel; NBC=NBC Sports; GC.com=GolfChannel.com or check the GLE app)

    Monday, July 16

    GC: 7-9AM: Morning Drive (stream.golfchannel.com)

    GC: 9-11AM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

    GC: 7-9PM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

    Tuesday, July 17

    GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

    Wednesday, July 18

    GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

    Thursday, July 19

    GC: Midnight-1:30AM: Midnight Drive (stream.golfchannel.com)

    GC: Day 1: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

    GC.com: Day 1: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)

    GC.com: Day 1: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)

    GC.com: Day 1: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)

    GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

    Friday, July 20

    GC: Day 2: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

    GC.com: Day 2: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)

    GC.com: Day 2: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)

    GC.com: Day 2: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)

    GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

    Saturday, July 21

    GC: Day 3: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

    NBC: Rd. 3: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

    GC.com: Day 3: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)

    GC.com: Day 3: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)

    GC.com: Day 3: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)

    GC: Live From The Open: 3-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

    Sunday, July 22

    GC: Day 4: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

    NBC: Rd. 4: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-2:30PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

    GC.com: Day 4: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-2:30PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)

    GC.com: Day 4: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-2PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)

    GC.com: Day 4: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-2PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)

    GC: Live From The Open: 2:30-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)