Category: Masters


April 14, 2013

Gary Player's Diary: The Most Impressive Feat I've Ever Seen

Posted at 10:22 PM by Golf.com
Guan_player_600

“It’s sad someone had to lose.” You’ll hear that a lot after the remarkable ending we saw Sunday at Augusta. Given the way that Adam Scott and Angel Cabrera played, it’s more than sad. It’s cruel. That’s why I’ve always been opposed to sudden-death playoffs. When two men tie, they should hold the trophy jointly. When there’s a tie in the Kentucky Derby, they don’t go back and run a 50-yard dash. When there’s a tie in the World Heavyweight Championship, they don’t go back and box for ten seconds. A golf tournament is advertised as 72 holes. So how can you settle it over just one? I’m sorry, it’s too cruel. Especially the way they played!

These tournaments mean so much, personally and professionally. I’ve been second many, many times, and nobody will remember any of my runner-up finishes. Angel Cabrera tied for first, but years on we’ll forget. That’s the tragedy: He was a fraction of a fraction of a percentage point away from winning -- which came in extra holes -- and no one will remember. Golf is a tough game. Look at Tiger Woods. He lost by four shots, and he was basically penalized by four strokes on a single hole, for hitting a perfect shot. If his third shot on the par-5 15th on Friday does not hit the pin, then it does not ricochet into the water, and he might have tied for the Masters lead after 72 holes, at 9-under. That’s how exacting our game is.

Still, I’m thrilled for Adam Scott’s first major victory. A golf swing that beautiful deserves a green jacket. More than that, he is a thorough gentleman. Adam played for me on three Presidents Cup teams, and I can say that he’s a wonderful young man. It was devastating to watch him blow the British Open last year. That’s a terrible thing to live with. People will say that it only took him two majors to get over it, but that misses the point. It’s the following months, days and minutes that are always with you, not just in the majors. I’m glad he has that burden off his back. He’s carried it long enough. He’s a terrific young man to be called Masters champion.

When I look back at this week, I’ll remember Scott for his victory and for bringing the first green jacket home to the great sporting nation of Australia. But he’ll have to share the stage with Guan Tianlang. What Guan did this week is the most impressive thing I’ve seen in my 60 years in professional golf, both in terms of his play and his demeanor: A boy of 14 making the cut -- despite that dreaded penalty stroke for slow play on Friday, and handling it like someone three times his age! It heartens me to know that the future of golf is in such hands. I’ve used the same word all week to describe it, and I’ll say it one last time: It’s a miracle what that boy did. Then again, so much at Augusta is.

 

GARY PLAYER MASTERS DIARY: Time to Move On After Tiger Penalty

GARY PLAYER MASTERS DIARY: How Would China React To Guan's Penalty?

GARY PLAYER MASTERS DIARY: How I Out-Drove Jack

GARY PLAYER MASTERS DIARY: What Really Happens at Champions Dinner

GARY PLAYER MASTERS DIARY: The World's Greatest Driving Range

GARY PLAYER MASTERS DIARY: Coming to Augusta Is Like Coming Home

April 13, 2013

Gary Player's Diary: It's time we all move on from Tiger's illegal drop

Posted at 10:03 PM by Golf.com

P1-Player-DiaryI've been asked many times about Tiger Woods since he was assessed the penalty Saturday morning, and there's only one thing I have to say: It doesn't matter what I think. And it doesn't matter what you think, or what the players think, or what the media thinks. The only opinion that matters has already been voiced. It added two strokes to his score and sent him out to play the weekend.

In golf, we have a rules committee, and situations like this are exactly why. When a referee makes a ruling, you have to accept it. It doesn't matter what the commenters on the side say, so why make comments? It makes no difference who thinks Woods should have been disqualified, or who thinks he should have withdrawn. We have to abide the decision. That's how we play golf. Augusta made the final verdict: Tiger broke a rule, and he took his penalty exactly how it was given. No talking can change it, and amen to that.

In sport today, no one wants to accept authority. They want to fight it and question it endlessly. Myself, I don't question it, because I have no need to. That's why we have the USGA and R&A, to decide and rule on these things. When I played sports as a young man in school, if the umpire said you were out, you walked away. Today, everyone feels compelled to argue the point.

It seems like the players are the only ones willing to accept it. Tiger took the penalty he was given. Then he went and played golf. Like Tianlang Guan did yesterday. You have to tip your cap to the way the 8th grader handled the penalty he was assessed. I've never cheered for a man to make a cut like I did that boy! He submitted himself to the rules, and he knew that the referee was not wrong for penalizing him, though there must have been a better way to handle the situation. You have to be consistent! Don't compare two separate rules incidents that happened Friday simply because of when they happened. Guan's penalty was the first of its kind on Tour in 18 years, even though we could all name hundreds of players who have gone over the time allotted to hit their shots. Oh well -- all's well that ends well, and thank goodness for it. If he missed the cut, it would have caused the tournament immeasurable harm. Happily, he's playing the weekend. The game needs an injection of excitement, and we all need these kinds of minor miracles from time to time.

One aspect of Tiger's penalty strikes me as unfair: the role of television. The violation was phoned in by a viewer at home, and that's a problem. I don't think people should be able to phone in rules advice any more than a fan should be able to issue a red card from the stands of a soccer match. Can you call into a basketball game to say someone was out of bounds? That sounds ridiculous. You defer to the local authorities; that's how sport has always worked.

With golf, it's even more unfair, since so few players are shown on the telecast. If, say, 10 percent of the field is being scrutinized by the public, then that's not a level playing field. Players are very honest in competition, and officials are very honest in enforcing the rules -- they do a wonderful job. Someone phoning in "help" from home only makes the game less equitable.

It's a shame we have to talk about such things when so many guys are playing tremendous golf. I look at the leaderboard and instantly see 10 names who can win, although I'd add that anyone within seven strokes has a chance at the green jacket. In 1978, I won it coming from seven behind on Sunday. I had to shoot a 64-with a 30 on the back nine-to do it. I don't think you can do much better than that on this course. Whoever gets the hottest putter going will take it. But the guys at the top better watch their backs and listen for those Sunday roars. Because I think Tiger -- despite all the distractions relating to the rules -- is going to give it one hell of a run.

GARY PLAYER MASTERS DIARY: How Would China React To Guan's Penalty?

GARY PLAYER MASTERS DIARY: How I Out-Drove Jack

GARY PLAYER MASTERS DIARY: What Really Happens at Champions Dinner

GARY PLAYER MASTERS DIARY: The World's Greatest Driving Range

GARY PLAYER MASTERS DIARY: Coming to Augusta Is Like Coming Home

Photo: John W. McDonough/Sports Illustrated

 


 

Tiger Woods hit with 2-stroke penalty at the Masters for illegal drop, no DQ

Posted at 10:12 AM by Golf.com
P1-TIger-Drop

 

 

AUGUSTA, Ga. — Tiger Woods was hit with a two-shot penalty Saturday morning for an illegal drop that he took on the 15th hole Friday, but finds himself at the center of a rules storm and faces calls to withdraw from an event he has won four times.

The drop under question [pictured above] occurred after Woods’s approach shot to the par-5 struck the flagstick and rolled back into the water. Woods chose not to drop in what he described as the "wet" and "muddy" drop zone, which left him with two other options under the Rules of Golf:  

1. Play [the] ball as nearly as possible at the spot from which the original ball was last played; or

2. Drop a ball behind the water hazard, keeping the point at which the original ball last crossed the margin of the water hazard directly between the hole and the spot on which the ball is dropped, with no limit to how far behind the water hazard the ball may be dropped. 

Woods chose the first option, but admitted that he did not to drop as close as possible to the original spot.

“So I went back to where I played it from, but I went two yards further back and I took, tried to take two yards off the shot of what I felt I hit,” Woods said after his round.

The ensuing shot “worked out perfectly," Woods said.

The Masters rules committe cited a relatively new rule (brought in to deal with cases where viewers call in after the fact to report violations seen on TV) that allows the tournament to waive a penalty of disqualification in exceptional circumstances. They then released a statement that in essence placed the onus on the rules committee for not alerting Woods of his violation before he signed his scorecard. The statement says:

After meeting with the player, it was determined that he had violated Rules 26, and he was assessed a two stroke penalty. The penalty of disqualification was waived by the Committee under Rule 33 as the Committee had previously reviewed the information and made its initial determination prior to the finish of the player’s round.

Nick Faldo, a three time Masters champion and the lead analyst on CBS coverage of the event, said that Woods ought to consider withdrawing from the event today before his 1:45pm tee time. Brandel Chamblee of Golf Channel says that if Woods plays on the incident will cast a shadow on his entire career.

As of Saturday morning, Woods is at 1-under-par, 5 strokes behind leader Jason Day. He had been just three stokes back before the penalty.

The incident has been a popular topic of conversation on Twitter, among both fans and players. Many golf experts are calling for Woods to withdraw from the event.

UPDATE: Tiger Woods has responded to the incident via Twitter. Read his response below.

 

RELATED: Tiger's Major Victories

RELATED: Infamous Rules Violations 

(Photo: John W. McDonough /Sports Illustrated)

 

Tiger Woods DQ? Masters officials review questionable drop

Posted at 8:27 AM by Alan Bastable

P1-TIger-DropAUGUSTA, Ga. — Masters tournament officials are reviewing a potentially illegal drop that Tiger Woods took on the 15th hole Friday.

If they deem that the drop violated the rules, Woods could be disqualified from the 77th Masters for signing an incorrect scorecard.

The drop under question [pictured above] occurred after Woods’s approach shot to the par-5 struck the flagstick and rolled back into the water. Woods chose not to drop in what he described as the "wet" and "muddy" drop zone, which left him with two other options under the Rules of Golf:  

1. Play [the] ball as nearly as possible at the spot from which the original ball was last played; or

2. Drop a ball behind the water hazard, keeping the point at which the original ball last crossed the margin of the water hazard directly between the hole and the spot on which the ball is dropped, with no limit to how far behind the water hazard the ball may be dropped. 

Woods chose the first option, but he appeared not to drop as close as possible to the original spot.

“So I went back to where I played it from, but I went two yards further back and I took, tried to take two yards off the shot of what I felt I hit,” Woods said after his round.

The ensuing shot “worked out perfectly," Woods said.

Woods is scheduled to tee off at 1:45 p.m. Saturday with Gonzalez Fernando-Castano. Woods is at 3-under-par, three strokes behind leader Jason Day.

The incident has been a popular topic of conversation on Twitter, among both fans and players.

"As Ben Crenshaw said in his interview re Guan's slow play, this can't end well," tweeted Brad Faxon, alluding to the controversial slow-play penalty that Masters officials assessed 14-year-old Guan Tianlang on Friday.

Veteran PGA Tour pro Joe Ogilvie tweeted, "Getting the feeling that Tiger Woods' Masters is over."

 

RELATED: Tiger's Major Victories
RELATED: Infamous Rules Violations 

(Photo: John W. McDonough /Sports Illustrated)

 

April 12, 2013

Duval says Tiger, Furyk, Harrington are slow players

Posted at 6:27 PM by Mike Walker

He named names!

2001 British Open champion David Duval took to Twitter on Friday after Tianling Guan was penalized one stroke for slow play during the second round of the Masters. Duval said it was unfortunate that Guan received the penalty because there are many other slow-playing professional golfers, including Tiger Woods and Jim Furyk.

Guan's penalty might have caused the 14-year-old from China to miss the cut. He shot 73 on Thursday and 75 on Friday, leaving him at 4-over for the tournament. The top 50 and all players within 10 strokes of the lead play the weekend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once ranked No. 1 in the world, Duval, 41, is not in the field at the Masters this week; he's missed the cut in all four of his PGA Tour starts this season.

April 09, 2013

Masters four-day badges sell for more than $13,000

Posted at 4:34 PM by Mike Walker

Tickers_2010_gettyTicket brokers on Washington Road in Augusta in 2010 (Getty Images).

We were shocked to read that Masters practice round tickets were selling for $1,000, but that's nothing compared to the price of a four-day badge, which are selling for more than $13,000, according to Bloomberg's Eben Novy-Williams.

Masters Tournament ticket prices are up 276 percent on the secondary market as Tiger Woods enters the tournament as the world’s top-rated golfer for the first time since 2010.

Four-day badges for the golf season’s first major tournament at Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia are listed for an average of $13,820 on the secondary market, according to ticket aggregator TiqIQ, up from $3,675 last year and more than double the average each of the past three Masters.

The cheapest available four-day badge, whose face value is $250, is listed at $12,200, according to the website.

The face value of a four-day pass to the Masters is just $200, easily the best bargain in professional sports. The catch is that the tickets aren’t available to the general public. The list of patrons who regularly receive applications for Series Badges, which grant Thursday-Sunday admittance, has been closed since 1971, according to tournament officials. A waiting list was then established, closed in 1978, re-opened briefly in 2000, and has now been exhausted. In 2011, Augusta National made a limited number of practice-round tickets available to the public via lottery.

March 27, 2013

Ernie Els using short putter -- but not for Augusta

Posted at 12:27 PM by Golf.com

Els_shortputter_300In advance of the proposed ban on belly putters, Ernie Els is playing with a short putter at the Chiangmai Golf Classic in Thailand this week.

But according to SkySports, the Big Easy will be back to using an anchored putter when the Masters kicks off a week from Monday. 

"Even if I won here this week, I will use the belly putter at the Masters simply because the greens are so quick over there. But after the Masters, I'll try to use the short putter more regularly."

Els, currently No. 24 in the world rankings, won the 2012 British Open after switching to a longer putter. But he missed the Masters last year after 18 straight appearances at Augusta.  

In November, the USGA and R&A announced a proposal to outlaw the method of hooking clubs to the body. The European PGA has since voiced support for the ban, which would go into effect in 2016, while the PGA Tour and PGA of America oppose it. Arnold Palmer said last week that he supports the prohibition, saying "we do not need a contraption to play the game of golf."  

Photo: Els using the short putter at the Qatar Masters in January (Getty Images).

March 18, 2013

Adam Scott says Augusta conditions 'perfect' after practice round

Posted at 3:15 PM by Coleman McDowell

AdamScott

 

Adam Scott joined Ernie Els for a practice round at the course last Tuesday and pronounced the course "perfect" during a press conference at last week's Tampa Bay Championship.

"I thought it was in the best shape I've ever seen it this early in the year," Scott said. "They must have had some nice warm days and cool nights, and a lot of grass seems to be growing. Sometimes it can be a little thin early on, but it looks great. It's Augusta. It's pretty much perfect."

When asked if his internal clock for winning a major is becoming more of a factor as he prepares for the Masters, Scott said he only recently feels like he is coming into his own.

"I think it's the other way for me," Scott said. "I think it was a long time, I didn't really look like I was a major contender, and now I feel like I am. So I feel like now's my time, it's up to me to make it happen.  Everyone's path to that success is different. I mean, Mickelson knocked on the door for years and years and then the floodgates opened for him. I've gotten my game to a point where I feel like I'm right there. Hopefully I can get the first one and then we'll see. Everyone's path to getting there is different. So I'm just trying to do what I believe is best and hopefully the first one comes soon and more to follow."

Scott's playing partner during his practice round at Augusta was also the beneficiary of Scott's collapse in last year's British Open. Els claimed his fourth major after Scott shot a 75 on Sunday after leading or within one stroke of the lead for the previous three rounds. But the two professionals haven't let that event affect their friendship.

"I think I was happy overall, very happy for Ernie," Scott said. "I think he's an incredible talent and he's one of the best players I've of seen on a golf course. I've played so much golf with him and seen him do such incredible things.  I think he could have won ten majors. So paid his dues, and whether he won it or I helped him win it a little bit; it doesn't matter, he won it.  Probably eased the pain a little bit that he was a closer friend of minute here, and I could feel some happiness for him."

Scott's best finish at Augusta was a second-place showing in 2011 after posting a final-round 67 on a wild Sunday that saw eight different players claim a share of the lead. The first round of the 2013 Masters is April 11.

Photo: Adam Scott at the 2012 Masters (Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Hank Haney says Tiger's game in good shape for Masters

Posted at 12:15 PM by Coleman McDowell

TigerTiger Woods's ex-coach Hank Haney thinks Woods is preforming even better in 2013 than he did in 2012, when he won three times, according to John Huggan of the Scotsman.com

“Tiger is playing much better this season,” Haney said. “His distance control with the wedges has improved tremendously since last year, a fact evidenced by the fact that he made a lot of birdies from inside 100 yards.”

One of the main reasons has been his performance off the tee. Even though Woods has hit only 56.6 percent of fairways this year, 127th on the Tour, Haney believes that his ability to control the errant drives has been an improvement from the past three seasons.

“Because of the distance so many of the professionals now hit the ball, a lot of them are benefiting from not having to hit many drivers,” Haney said. “Tiger is definitely one of those players. When I taught him, he missed about 85 percent of his fairways to the right, even though he would sometimes say he had a ‘two-way’ miss going. And over the last three years that has actually been true; his misses with the driver have been almost 50-50 left and right. Last week, however, was different. Last week Tiger largely eliminated the left-side miss. For any player, eliminating half the golf course is a great confidence boost.”

Woods received another confidence boost before the tournament at Doral in the form of a putting tip from Steve Stricker on his way to the lowest four-round putting total of his career. Haney referenced Tiger's former caddie, Steve Williams, who would say if Woods was under 120 putts in a tournament, then he would win. Woods manged to best that mark by 20 with only 100 total putts at Doral.

"Victory was almost assured," Haney said.

Woods is in search of his first major win since 2008 and is a 4-to-1 favorite at this year's Masters. Haney thinks his former pupil is finally close to the level that got him his 14 majors in the first place.

“It’s all about the majors for Tiger,” Haney said. “For any player, victory in any of the four means matching a good ball-striking week with a good putting week. In the past, the ball-striking part was a given for Tiger. And it looks like he is approaching that level again.”

Photo: Woods and Haney at the 2009 WGC Championship Accenture Match Play (Credit: Robert Beck)

March 04, 2013

Augusta National files suit over sale of green jacket

Posted at 6:29 PM by Coleman McDowell

BubbaIn February, Dr. Stephen Pyles, a golf memorabilia collector in Florida, tried to sell Art Wall Jr's green jacket believed to be presented to him after winning the 1959 Masters.

The sale, which was supposed to take place through Heritage Auctions in Dallas, was put under a 14-day restraining order in February after a lawsuit was filed by Augusta National Golf Club and ended with a hearing on Monday.

The club filed a lawsuit claiming each green jacket given to Masters winners or club members are property of Augusta National - not to mention the club also belives the jacket in question to be stolen.

In a confusing story with the two sides telling two vastly different tales, Augusta National claimed all green jackets belong in its clubhouse after the winners can take the jacket away from the course for one year.

"Thereafter, it must be stored on ANI (Augusta National Inc.) premises for use only on the grounds and during the annual tournament,” the lawsuit claimed according to the Atlanta-Journal Constitution. “Thus, a champion’s Green Jacket is owned by ANI, with a champion having possessory rights when on the premises of ANI.”

Pyles disagrees.

“I have owned six, maybe seven, green jackets," Pyles told the AJC. "I can go on the Internet right now and buy you a member’s green jacket.”

Pyles purchased Wall Jr's jacket at a 2012 auction for $62,000 and was trying to flip the jacket for "upwards of $90,000."

Augusta National also claims the jacket is stolen. After an inventory in 2010 placed the jacket on the club's premises, the lawsuit states it went missing after four jackets were stolen by former employees.

This time it's Pyles's lawyer who doesn't agree.

Mark Senter, the attorney for Heritage Auctions and Pyles, said there has been no police report to back up the claim of the theft. He refers to other newspaper stories in which Wall’s son, Greg, said his father, who died in 2001, told his family that the coat had simply disappeared and offered no other details.

Ryan Carey, owner of GreenJacketAuctions.com, said the idea that each green jacket is kept under strict security within the gates of Augusta National is “a myth that has been perpetuated for many years.”

“There are (relatively) plenty of green jackets that are out there, both members’ and champions’ jackets,” he said. “I’m not sure if Augusta National really realizes that, but I guess for the first time it is going to try to assert that it is the rightful owner of them.”

Wall Jr. earned the green jacket in question in '59 after shooting a 66 with five birdies in the final six holes to pass Arnold Palmer and Cary Middlecoff for victory.

(Photo: Kohjiro Kinno / SI)





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