Masters Resumes With Weir in the Lead

By Golf Channel NewsroomApril 12, 2003, 4:00 pm
AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) -- Most of the 93-man field returned to Augusta Naitonal under clear, blue skies Saturday to finish up the second round of the rain-soaked Masters. Canada's Mike Weir led the field at 6 under, while Tiger Woods was trying to overcome a poor start to defend his title.
Mike WeirSeeking an unprecedented third straight Masters victory, Woods stumbled through the rain-delayed first round Friday. He finished with a 4-over-par 76 - his worst opening at a major since he was a 20-year-old amateur playing the U.S. Open in 1996.
When Woods arrived at the clubhouse for a brief layover before the second round, he had yet to make a birdie and was seven shots behind his amateur playing partner, Ricky Barnes.
Barnes thoroughly enjoyed his first trip to the Masters, opening with a 69 despite the toughest scoring conditions for a first round at Augusta National since 1988.
Asked whether he expected to be seven strokes ahead of the world's greatest player after 18 holes, Barnes deadpanned: 'You're kidding.'
When the horn sounded to end play for the day, the sun had already slipped behind the Georgia pines, and Woods was back on track. He played the first 10 holes of the second round at 2 under and was 2 over for the tournament.
Woods was still far off the pace being set by a left-hander seeking his first major - no, not Phil Mickelson but Weir, one of just four players in the red when darkness fell.
Only 18 players made it through 36 holes on Friday.
Ricky BarnesBarnes was in the exclusive below-par group, still holding on at 1 under when play stopped. First-round leader Darren Clarke, who opened with a 66, dropped two strokes in the second round but remained at 4 under.
Then there's Mickelson, still lugging around that dreaded title of Best Player Never To Win A Major. It looks as if Lefty will be in contention again, standing 2 under with seven holes left to play in the morning.
This one is a bit of a surprise. Mickelson took a month off for the birth of his third child and didn't feel as though his game was in peak condition for a major.
'I'm not going to look at my position until the end of the second round,' he said. 'I want to see how I play the last seven before I really try to find out where I stand.'
Woods got off to a dreadful start: four errant swings left him with a 40-foot chip for bogey. It dropped, a shot that might be worth remembering if he makes a charge on the weekend.
But Woods still has a lot of work to do.
Not only was it his highest first-round score in a major since turning pro, it was his worst start at any PGA Tour-sanctioned event since a 76 in the 1998 Western Open.
Even more ominous: No Masters champion has ever started with worse than a 75; no winner has ever been 10 strokes out of the lead after 18 holes; and Woods has never opened with worse than a 72 in any of his 37 career victories.
He was unfazed by the deficit.
'Obviously, I would like to be a little better than I am,' he said. 'But I'm on the right track. I don't have to play a great second round, just have to play a solid one. That's what I'm doing.'
Indeed, Woods got himself on track with a birdie on his 22nd hole. He unleashed a big smile, licked his finger and gave the sign that indicated, 'Put one on the board.'
He birdied two of the next three as well, but a bogey on his next-to-last hole put a bit of a damper on Tigermania.
'I'm right where I need to be,' Woods said. 'I've still got a chance at the tournament, and there's a long way to go. The leaders aren't going to run away and hide here with the way the conditions are.'
Weir bolstered his score by making a bunch of 5- and 6-foot comebackers after sliding putts past the hole. Those are the shots of a Masters champion-in-the-making.
'I have always felt like the next step for me is to try to contend in major championships,' Weir said. 'So far, I'm doing it. We'll see if I can do it all week.'
On Saturday, some of the attention at Augusta will be diverted to a grassy patch of land along Washington Road, a half-mile from the front gate to Magnolia lane.
Martha Burk and opponents of the club's all-male membership are scheduled to protest, along with those who support Augusta National's right to keep women out.
They won't be alone on the weedy 5.1-acre lot that Sheriff Ronald Strength picked a half-mile from Augusta National's main gate to keep the one-day protest from snarling Masters traffic.
Among the other groups planning to picket are the Rev. Jesse Jackson's Rainbow/PUSH Coalition; Todd Manzi of Tampa, Fla., Burk's self-appointed nemesis; and Joseph J. Harper of Cordele, Ga., the leader of a Ku Klux Klan splinter group.
Woods wasn't the only golfer with back-to-back Masters championships having a miserable day.
Jack Nicklaus opened with an 85 - his worst score in 2,235 career rounds on the tour. He had plenty of company, too, with 14 other players scoring 80 or higher.
Overall, the average first-round score - 76.2 - was the highest at the Masters since 1988.
Nicklaus preferred to blame himself. He repeatedly wound up on the wrong side of the flag. Even when he was in good position, the putts wouldn't drop.
'The course wasn't much of a problem,' he said. 'I was.'

Related Links:
  • 2003 Masters Tournament Mini-Site
  • Tournament Coverage
  • Photo Gallery
  • Augusta National Course Tour
  • The Augusta National Membership Debate: A Chronology
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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.