Tiger Four Back and Lurking

By Golf Channel NewsroomApril 13, 2003, 4:00 pm
AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) -- Tiger Woods, once one putt away from going home, was in great position to make history Sunday as he sought his third consecutive Masters title. Unlikely leader Jeff Maggert stood at 6-under going into the final round, while Woods was four shots off the pace.
 
Tiger WoodsMaggert overcame a double bogey on No. 11 with five birdies over his final six holes in Saturday's third round, giving him a two-stroke lead over fast-fading Mike Weir. Woods, fighting for the right to keep playing, made the cut on the number and then blitzed the course for a bogey-free 66.
 
No one has ever won three straight Masters. No one has ever trailed by 11 shots after 36 holes and gone on to win at Augusta National.
 
None of this seemed plausible when Woods stood behind a small pine tree in the ninth fairway on his final hole of the second round Saturday. He managed to squeeze a shot under the shoulder-high branches and scratch out a par just to make the cut.
 
That was only the appetizer on a spectacular day of sunshine and golf, which proved to be far more appealing than a tepid protest against Augusta National's all-male membership that took place a half-mile down the road.
 
Sunday was shaping up to be even better.
 
'This is a position you dream about,' said Maggert, who has never held the 54-hole lead in a major championship.
 
Jeff MaggertMaggert has won only once in the previous nine times he has led going into the final round, and there were plenty of stars lurking behind.
 
Weir, who had a six-stroke lead at one point, staggered home with a 39 on the back for a 3-over 75 and was at 213.
 
Vijay Singh, who won the Masters three years ago, and former PGA champion David Toms each had 70 and were another stroke back.
 
Woods had some familiar company at 1-under 215: Phil Mickelson, who made crucial par putts on the final three holes, the last from 20 feet that suspended on the back lip of the cup before falling. That gave Lefty a 72 and another chance to win his first major.
 
Cheers crisscrossed Augusta National, but they were never far from Woods.
 
He started the third round at 5-over par with 42 players in front of him. When he played the last of his 26 holes Saturday, he was in a tie for fifth.
 
David TomsWoods proved to be a prophet.
 
'If I can be even par or under par, I'll be right where I need to be,' he said after walking off the ninth green, relieved to have made his 102nd consecutive cut.
 
He is right there, four strokes and four players separating him from slipping on the green jacket for the third straight year.
 
It was quite a show -- unlike the demonstrations down Washington Road.
 
Martha Burk had been pointing to Saturday of the Masters for her National Council of Women's Organizations' protest.
 
Martha BurkAbout 40 people joined the cause, a group that was outnumbered by police and media.
 
'You've got to make a choice -- is it discrimination or is it dollars,' Burk said, threatening to boycott companies whose executives belong to the club. 'Today we are protesters with placards. Tomorrow, women will protest with their pocketbooks.'
 
People will probably pay top dollar for a Masters ticket Sunday.
 
While Woods commanded most of the attention, he was among 16 players within six shots of the lead going into the final round.
 
Two-time Masters champion Jose Maria Olazabal, a forgotten man in golf this year, quietly crept into contention with a 71 and also was at 1-under 215.
 
Len Mattiace (69), Jim Furyk (71) and Jonathan Byrd (71), who grew up about 30 miles away in South Carolina and is playing his first Masters, were at 216.
 
As usual, Amen Corner was up to its old tricks.
 
Woods finally found some momentum at No. 11 by holing a 50-foot birdie putt that made a left turn as it got to the hole and dropped. On the par-5 13th, his second shot somehow stayed out of the water and he chipped close for birdie.
 
Others weren't so fortunate.
 
Former British Open champion Paul Lawrie was four strokes out of the lead until Amen Corner left him cursing -- a double bogey on No. 12, a triple bogey on the 13th.
 
Ricky BarnesU.S. Amateur champion Ricky Barnes, the first amateur in 42 years to play in the final two groups on the weekend at the Masters, was also at 2-under and zeroing in on the lead when he took double bogey on the 12th.
 
Barnes shot 40 on the back for a 75 and was at 2-over 218.
 
Weir paid a steep price. His approach into the 11th plugged into the side of the hill inside the hazard line, and he played a delicate shot to limit the damage to a bogey. Two holes later, he went for the 13th green and landed in Rae's Creek to make another bogey.
 
The tenacious Canadian is far from out of it. He has trailed going into the final round in all five of his PGA Tour victories, two of them earlier this year.
 
Maggert was a victim, too, when he took double bogey on No. 11. With quiet confidence, he struck back quietly.
 
His birdie blitz might have been a real show-stopped if Maggert had not three-putted for par on the 15th. Still, he hit his tee shot to five feet on the par-3 16th, made the first birdie of the round on No. 17 from 15 feet and closed out his 66 from 20 feet on the 18th.
 
The tone was set early, when 75 players returned to complete the second round under blazing blue skies.
 
For a while, it appeared as though history might be revisited.
 
A three-putt bogey from 25 feet on No. 8 put Woods on the verge of missing the cut, just as Jack Nicklaus did in 1967 when he was trying to win his third straight Masters.
 
Woods was 5-over -- right on the cut line -- when he sprayed his drive behind a pine tree that blocked his path to the green. He hit a waist-high shot that ran up the slope and dropped into a bunker, then calmly blasted out to three feet above the hole.
 
If he missed, his chances were over.
 
'That putt was either going in or going off the green,' Woods said.
 
He powered it in the right side for perhaps the most important par he has ever made at the Masters. Woods was still 11 strokes behind Weir, but still in the game.
 
Weir finished with a 68 and had a four-stroke lead after 36 holes, the first time a Canadian has been in the lead at the Masters since Stan Leonard in 1959.
 
The sun was out, big names lit up the scoreboard, and the Masters finally felt like its old self after a week of rain. Though the protest site was a short walk down the road from Magnolia Lane, it seemed so far away.
 
'Do you think any of these people care what's going on out there?' Nicklaus said. 'That's the bottom line. None of these people really care what's going on outside the gates of this club. Come on. It's a golf tournament.'
 
And by the look of it Saturday, not just any tournament.
 
Related Links:
  • 2003 Masters Tournament Mini-Site
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  • Augusta National Course Tour
  • The Augusta National Membership Debate: A Chronology
     
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    Davies wins by 10 on 'best ball-striking round'

    By Associated PressJuly 16, 2018, 1:53 am

    WHEATON, Ill. - Laura Davies immediately recognized the significance of having her name inscribed on the first U.S. Senior Women's Open trophy.

    It might be a long time before anyone secures the title as emphatically as Davies did.

    Davies went virtually unchallenged in Sunday's final round of the inaugural USGA championship for women 50 and older, claiming the title by 10 strokes over Juli Inkster.

    ''It's great seeing this (trophy) paraded down for the very first time and I get my name on it first, you know?'' Davies said. ''This championship will be played for many years and there will only be one first winner - obviously a proud moment for me to win that.''

    The 54-year-old Davies shot a 5-under 68 to finish at 16-under 276 at Chicago Golf Club.

    It was the English player's 85th career win, and she felt the pressure even though her lead was rarely in danger.

    ''I haven't won for eight years - my last win was India, 2010,'' Davies said. ''So that's the pressure you're playing under, when you're trying to do something for yourself, prove to yourself you can still win.

    ''So this ranks highly up there. And obviously it's a USGA event. It's hard comparing tournaments, but this is very high on my list of achievements.''

    A 7-under 66 Saturday provided Davies with a five-shot lead over Inkster and what she said would be a sleepless night worrying about the pressure.


    Full-field scores from the U.S. Senior Women’s Open


    The World Golf Hall of Famer widened her advantage early Sunday when she birdied the par-5 second hole and Inkster made bogey. Davies said a par she salvaged at the 10th was another turning point.

    ''It wasn't the greatest hole I ever played, but I think that, to me, was when I really started to think I might have one hand on the trophy and just had to get the other one in there.''

    Inkster shot an even-par 73. England's Trish Johnson also shot 73 to finish third, 12 shots back.

    ''I mean, she was absolutely spectacular this week,'' Johnson said about Davies. ''I've played against her for 35 years. Yesterday was the best I have ever seen her play in her entire career.

    ''She just said walking down 18 it was best ball-striking round she ever had. Considering she's won 85 tournaments, that's quite some feat.''

    Danielle Ammaccapane was fourth and Yuko Saito finished fifth. Martha Leach was the top amateur, tying for 10th at 6-over 298.

    Davies plans to play in the Women's British Open next month, and called this win a confidence-booster as she continues to compete against the younger generation. She finished tied for second at the LPGA's Bank of Hope Founders Cup earlier this year.

    ''You build up a little bit of momentum, and a golf course is a golf course,'' Davies said. ''Sometimes the field strength is a little bit different, but in your own mind if you've done something like this, 16 under for four rounds around a proper championship course, it can't do anything but fill you full of confidence.''

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    Romo rallies to win American Century Championship

    By Associated PressJuly 16, 2018, 12:42 am

    SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Nev. - Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo rallied from four points back to win his first American Century Championship at Lake Tahoe on Sunday.

    Romo, who retired after the 2016 NFL season and is now an NFL analyst, had 27 points on the day to beat three-time defending champion Mark Mulder and San Jose Sharks captain Joe Pavelski, the the leader after the first two rounds.

    ''It's a special win,'' said Romo, who had finished second three times in seven previous trips to the annual celebrity golf tournament at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course. ''It feels like you're playing a tournament back home here. The day felt good for a lot of reasons.''

    Romo tapped in for par, worth one point, on the 18th hole to finish with 71 points, three ahead of Mulder, the former major league pitcher. He then caught a flight to Berlin, Wis., where he was to compete in a 36-hole U.S. Amateur qualifying tournament on Monday.

    The American Century Championship uses a modified Stableford scoring system which rewards points for eagles (six), birdies (three) and pars (one) and deducts points (two) for double bogeys or worse. Bogeys are worth zero points.

    Pavelski had a 7-foot eagle putt on the par-5 18th that could have tied Romo, but it slid by. He finished with 66 points, tied for third with Ray Allen, who will be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Sept. 7.


    Full-field scores from the American Century Championship


    ''It feels like nothing went in for me today,'' Pavelski said. ''But I couldn't ask for more than to have that putt to tie on the last hole.''

    Romo plays as an amateur, so his $125,000 first-place check from the $600,000 purse will go to local charities and the Stowers Institute for Medical Research, the primary charitable arm of title sponsor American Century Investments.

    Rounding out the top five were Trent Dilfer, a Super Bowl-winning quarterback with the Baltimore Ravens in 2001, and former tennis player Mardy Fish. Each had 62 points.

    Golden State Warriors guard Steph Curry, who fell out of contention with a mediocre round Saturday, jumped into Lake Tahoe amidst much fanfare after losing a bet to his father, Dell. The elder Curry jumped into the lake last year, so he negotiated a 20-point handicap and won by two points.

    Other notable players in the 92-player field included John Smoltz, the MLB hall of Fame pitcher who two weeks ago competed in the U.S. Senior Open and finished 10th here with 53 points; Steph Curry, who finished tied for 11th with retired Marine and wounded war hero Andrew Bachelder (50); actor Jack Wagner (16th, 47 points); Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (tied for 18th, 44 points); actor Ray Romano (tied for 71st, minus-26 points); comedian Larry the Cable Guy (tied for 77th, minus-33 points); and former NBA great Charles Barkley, who finished alone in last with minus-93 points.

    The tournament drew 57,097 fans for the week, setting an attendance record for the fourth straight year.

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    Singh tops Maggert in playoff for first senior major

    By Associated PressJuly 16, 2018, 12:10 am

    HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. - Vijay Singh hit a perfect approach to set up the winning playoff birdie. His celebration as the ball rolled into the cup was nowhere near as spectacular.

    Singh closed the door on Jeff Maggert on the second playoff hole to win the Constellation Senior Players Championship on Sunday, giving an understated fist pump as his birdie putt dropped from about 2 feet. It was the first major title on the PGA Tour Champions for the 55-year-old Fijian, a past winner of the Masters and two PGA Championships.

    ''It's a little different,'' Singh said. ''It's a senior major, you know, so it's - any time you win a tournament no matter what it is, you feel accomplishment, and that's what I feel. I feel like I played well, and it's a win. A win is a win.''

    Singh (67) and Maggert (68) finished at 20-under 268 at Exmoor Country Club. Brandt Jobe (66) was two strokes behind, while Jerry Kelly (64) and defending champion Scott McCarron (71) finished at 17 under.

    Maggert began the day tied with McCarron and Bart Bryant for the lead. Singh was one shot back, but a crowd at the top of the leaderboard thinned out, turning it into a two-man race.

    ''I wasn't really watching the scoreboard or Vijay,'' Maggert said. ''Like I said, I thought I needed to shoot 5-, 6-, 7-under today to really kind of ice it. So I was really focused in on making seven or eight birdies today. ... You know, I thought some other scores would come into play there toward the end, but the last two or three groups looked like they were struggling, other than me and Vijay.''

    Singh and Maggert posted identical scores through the first 15 holes. But Maggert bogeyed 16, and then missed chances to win in regulation and on the first playoff hole.

    His 15-footer on the 72nd hole rolled wide, forcing the playoff, and a downhill 12-footer on the same green went just past the edge.

    ''We played toe-to-toe all day,'' Maggert said. ''He hit a nice shot on 18, and I had a chance to make a few putts throughout the day, but they just didn't go in.''


    Full-field scores from the Constellation Energy Senior Players


    Singh made just one bogey this week, and that came in the third round. He had five birdies Sunday and made some neat par saves to get into the playoff.

    His tee shot on 17 landed near the trees to the right of the fairway, and his approach on 18 wound up in a bunker. But Singh blasted to within a few feet to match Maggert's par and send a senior major to a playoff for the first time since the 2015 Regions Tradition.

    Singh played sporadically on the over-50 tour during his first few years of eligibility but is playing more often against men his age these days.

    ''To win the first major on this tour, I'm really excited about that,'' Singh said. ''Winning my first tournament at the beginning of the year was big, and now I've won this one, so I look forward to winning a lot more now. I always say, the first one, you get the first one out of the way, you can win a lot more after that.''

    McCarron was trying to join Arnold Palmer and Bernhard Langer as the only back-to-back winners of this major. He came back from a six-shot deficit to win at Caves Valley near Baltimore last year and got off to a good start on Sunday.

    He birdied the first two holes to reach 18 under. But bogeys on the par-4 seventh and ninth holes knocked him off the lead. His tee shot on No. 7 rolled into a hole at the base of a tree and forced him to take an unplayable lie.

    Bryant (72) and Kenny Perry (68) finished in a pack at 16 under. Illinois golf coach Mike Small (71) finished one shot behind them, while three-time champion Bernhard Langer closed with a 74 to finish at 12 under after starting the day two strokes back.

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    Davies a fitting winner of inaugural USGA championship

    By Randall MellJuly 15, 2018, 11:26 pm

    Laura Davies confessed she did not sleep well on a five-shot lead Saturday night at the U.S. Senior Women’s Open.

    It’s all you needed to know about what this inaugural event meant to the women who were part of the history being made at Chicago Golf Club.

    The week was more than a parade of memories the game’s greats created playing in the USGA’s long-awaited showcase for women ages 50 and beyond.

    The week was more than nostalgic. 

    It was a chance to make another meaningful mark on the game.

    In the end, Davies relished seeing the mark she made in her runaway, 10-shot victory. She could see it in the familiar etchings on the trophy she hoisted.

    “I get my name on it first,” Davies said. “This championship will be played for many years, and there will only be one first winner. Obviously, quite a proud moment for me to win that.”

    Really, all 120 players in the field made their marks at Chicago Golf Club. They were all pioneers of sorts this past week.

    “It was very emotional seeing the USGA signs, because I've had such a long history, since my teens, playing in USGA championships,” said Amy Alcott, whose Hall of Fame career included the 1980 U.S. Women’s Open title. “I thought the week just came off beautifully. The USGA did a great job. It was just so classy how everything was done, this inaugural event, and how was it presented.”

    Davies was thankful for what the USGA added to the women’s game, and she wasn’t alone. Gratefulness was the theme of the week.


    Full-field scores from the U.S. Senior Women’s Open


    The men have been competing in the U.S. Senior Open since 1980, and now the women have their equal opportunity to do the same.

    “It was just great to be a part of the first,” three-time U.S. Women’s Open winner Hollis Stacy said. “The USGA did a great job of having it at such a great golf course. It's just been very memorable.”

    Trish Johnson, who is English, like Davies, finished third, 12 shots back, but she left with a heart overflowing.

    “Magnificent,” said Johnson, a three-time LPGA and 19-time LET winner. “Honestly, it's one of the best, most enjoyable weeks I've ever played in in any tournament anywhere.”

    She played in the final group with Davies and runner-up Juli Inkster.

    “Even this morning, just waiting to come out here, I thought, `God, not often do I actually think how lucky I am to do what I do,’” Johnson said.

    At 54, Davies still plays the LPGA and LET regularly. She has now won 85 titles around the world, 20 of them LPGA titles, four of them majors, 45 of them LET titles.

    With every swing this past week, she peeled back the years, turned back the clock, made fans and peers remember what she means to the women’s game.

    This wasn’t the first time Davies made her mark in a USGA event. When she won the U.S. Women’s Open in 1987, she became just the second player from Europe to win the title, the first in 20 years. She opened a new door for internationals. The following year, Sweden’s Liselotte Neumann won the title.

    “A lot of young Europeans and Asians decided that it wasn't just an American sport,” Davies said. “At that stage, it had been dominated, wholeheartedly, by all the names we all love, Lopez, Bradley, Daniel, Sheehan.”

    Davies gave the rest of the world her name to love, her path to follow.

    “It certainly made a lot of foreign girls think that they could take the Americans on,” Davies said.

    In golf, it’s long been held that you can judge the stature of an event by the names on the trophy. Davies helps gives the inaugural U.S. Senior Women’s Open the monumental start it deserved.