Els Takes a Ride On a Rollercoaster

By Golf Channel NewsroomApril 12, 2003, 4:00 pm
AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) -- Ernie Els has built a career making the impossible seem possible.
 
Ernie ElsThat can be good and bad.
 
The good? At No. 7 in the third round of the Masters on Saturday, he flew a 9-iron onto the green and rolling, rolling, rolling -- right into the hole for eagle.
 
The bad? He hit a beautiful approach on No. 14 that landed inches away from the cup, then inexplicably spun backward -- uphill all the way off the heavily-contoured green.
 
'I got robbed there,' Els said. 'To me, it was almost impossible that could happen.'
 
The bad luck on 14 resulted in the first of two straight bogeys, and when his even-par round was over, Els was thinking more about the disaster there than the eagle on 7.
 
The Big Easy finished at 1 over, six strokes behind Jeff Maggert. Considered Tiger Woods' most legitimate challenge at the Masters, Els' chances for a fourth major are in considerable trouble.
 
'I guess when I calm down and really think about today, I'd like to think there's still a chance,' Els said. 'But it's an uphill climb.'
 
Langer Goes Home
 
While Tiger Woods was still in contention for a third straight Masters title, another streak came to an end at Augusta National.
 
Bernhard Langer failed to make the cut for the first time since his Masters debut in 1982. The German returned in 1984 and cleared the 36-hole barrier 19 times in a row, the longest active streak in the tournament.
 
Langer missed the cut by a whopping six strokes after shooting rounds of 79 and 76, leaving him 11-over par. He fell short of the Masters record, 23 consecutive cuts made by Gary Player from 1959-82.
 
Also going home: John Huston, who had made the cut at Augusta 12 times in a row dating to 1990.
 
Fred Couples now has the longest active streak, stretching his run to 19 in a row when he made the cut with one stroke to spare.
 
Unusual Nine
 
It wasn't just any old quadruple bogey for Darren Clarke.
 
Most players who implode on the par-5 13th hole do it by hitting ball after ball into Rae's Creek. Clarke only hit one in there.
 
Darren ClarkeThe Northern Irishman yanked his tee shot into the woods, chipped out for his second, and hit his third into the water. After a drop, he hit his fifth shot through the green, then took four strokes to get down for a round-ruining 9.
 
It was the low point of his round of 78, a score that took him from the lead after Friday's play was called by darkness, to a tie for 27th.
 
'There are momentum swings out there for everybody,' Clarke said. 'Augusta doesn't give you anything.'
 
Overtime
 
David Duval is struggling worse than he ever has in his career, but he can't be accused of packing it in.
 
After finishing off an 83 on Saturday -- his worse score ever at the Masters -- Duval headed to the practice range and hit balls for about an hour before cleaning out his locker and heading home.
 
Duval declined comment when asked about his two rounds.
 
He finished at 18-over 162 and in some strange company -- tied with Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player, only four strokes better than Arnold Palmer.
 
Divots
 
Leizl Els continued a tradition of her own. For the last several years, she diagrams every hole at major championships and charts each shot struck by her husband, Ernie, and whoever else is in the Big Easy's group.
 
Vijay Singh went 28 consecutive holes without a bogey until making one on the 11th hole in third round.
 
Craig Stadler started in a tie for last and finished in last all alone. He shot 79 and wound up at 228, two strokes behind Kenny Perry and Pat Perez.
 
Mickelson has a new mark on his golf ball this week -- the name of his son, Evan Samuel Mickelson, is stamped on the side.
 
Related Links:
  • 2003 Masters Tournament Mini-Site
  • Tournament Coverage
  • Photo Gallery
  • Augusta National Course Tour
  • The Augusta National Membership Debate: A Chronology
     
    Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
  • Getty Images

    Weather extends Barbasol to Monday finish

    By Associated PressJuly 23, 2018, 12:25 am

    NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - A thunderstorm has suspended the fourth round of the PGA Tour's Barbasol Championship until Monday morning.

    Sunday's third stoppage of play at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came with the four leaders - Hunter Mahan, Robert Streb, Tom Lovelady and Troy Merritt at 18 under par - and four other contenders waiting to begin the round.

    The tournament will resume at 7:30 a.m. on Monday. Lightning caused one delay, and play was stopped earlier in the afternoon to clear water that accumulated on the course following a morning of steady and sometimes-heavy rain.

    Inclement weather has plagued the tournament throughout the weekend. The second round was completed Saturday morning after being suspended by thunderstorms late Friday afternoon.

    The resumption will mark the PGA Tour's second Monday finish this season. Jason Day won the Farmers Insurance Open in January after darkness delayed the sixth playoff hole, and he needed just 13 minutes to claim the victory.

    Getty Images

    Watch: Spectator films as Woods' shot hits him

    By Will GrayJuly 23, 2018, 12:07 am

    It was a collision watched by millions of fans on television, and one that came at a pivotal juncture as Tiger Woods sought to win The Open. It also gave Colin Hauck the story of a lifetime.

    Hauck was among dozens of fans situated along the left side of the 11th hole during the final round at Carnoustie as the pairing of Woods and Francesco Molinari hit their approach shots. After 10 holes of nearly flawless golf, Woods missed the fairway off the tee and then pulled his iron well left of the target.

    The ball made square contact with Hauck, who hours later tweeted a video showing the entire sequence - even as he continued to record after Woods' shot sent him tumbling to the ground:

    The bounce initially appeared fortuitous for Woods, as his ball bounded away from thicker rough and back toward the green. But an ambitious flop shot came up short, and he eventually made a double bogey to go from leading by a shot to trailing by one. He ultimately shot an even-par 71, tying for sixth two shots behind Molinari.

    For his efforts as a human shield, Hauck received a signed glove and a handshake from Woods - not to mention a firsthand video account that will be sure to spark plenty of conversations in the coming years.

    Getty Images

    Molinari retirement plan: coffee, books and Twitter

    By Will GrayJuly 22, 2018, 9:35 pm

    After breaking through for his first career major, Francesco Molinari now has a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour, a 10-year exemption in Europe and has solidified his standing as one of the best players in the world.

    But not too long ago, the 35-year-old Italian was apparently thinking about life after golf.

    Shortly after Molinari rolled in a final birdie putt to close out a two-shot victory at The Open, fellow Tour player Wesley Bryan tweeted a picture of a note that he wrote after the two played together during the third round of the WGC-HSBC Champions in China in October. In it, Bryan shared Molinari's plans to retire as early as 2020 to hang out at cafes and "become a Twitter troll":

    Molinari is active on the social media platform, with more than 5,600 tweets sent out to nearly 150,000 followers since joining in 2010. But after lifting the claret jug at Carnoustie, it appears one of the few downsides of Molinari's victory is that the golf world won't get to see the veteran turn into a caffeinated, well-read troll anytime soon.

    Getty Images

    Molinari had previously avoided Carnoustie on purpose

    By Rex HoggardJuly 22, 2018, 9:17 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Sometimes a course just fits a player’s eye. They can’t really describe why, but more often than not it leads to solid finishes.

    Francesco Molinari’s relationship with Carnoustie isn’t like that.

    The Italian played his first major at Carnoustie, widely considered the toughest of all The Open venues, in 2007, and his first impression hasn’t really changed.

    “There was nothing comforting about it,” he said on Sunday following a final-round 69 that lifted him to a two-stroke victory.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    In fact, following that first exposure to the Angus coast brute, Molinari has tried to avoid Carnoustie, largely skipping the Dunhill Links Championship, one of the European Tour’s marquee events, throughout his career.

    “To be completely honest, it's one of the reasons why I didn't play the Dunhill Links in the last few years, because I got beaten up around here a few times in the past,” he said. “I didn't particularly enjoy that feeling. It's a really tough course. You can try and play smart golf, but some shots, you just have to hit it straight. There's no way around it. You can't really hide.”

    Molinari’s relative dislike for the layout makes his performance this week even more impressive considering he played his last 37 holes bogey-free.

    “To play the weekend bogey-free, it's unthinkable, to be honest. So very proud of today,” he said.