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The tearing up of a card is generally regarded as rather discreditable business, showing at once vanity and pusillanimity in the tearer; and I must say that I do feel something more of a man when I have gone on to the bitter end and handed in the horrid thing.
BERNARD DARWIN


    

Monday
Apr142014

Hardly A Shock: Tiger Not Looking Good For Pinehurst

Notah Begay went on CBS radio the day after the Masters and says he's spoken to his old Stanford pal. Unfortunately, Tiger Woods is unlikely for the U.S. Open at Pinehurst to continue his back surgery recuperation.

Mike Walker summarizes the Begay appearance.

Monday
Apr142014

Gary Player: Millions Saw "A Mockery" So Roll Back The Ball!

Gosh I love it when our elder speak.

From Gary Player's final golf.com 2014 Masters diary:

Here’s the thing though. Millions of people saw a man making a mockery out of Augusta National’s so-called par-5s on Sunday. When are the USGA, the R&A and the PGA going to have more vision and cut the ball back by 50 yards?

Whoa, 50! He's making us technophobes look downright conservative. We just want 10%!

When you see people hitting a driver and a wedge on No. 13, what are we doing? Where is the game going? The ball is going farther and we have lightweight shafts, metal heads, fairways cut like a flattop hairdo! I’m a great admirer of golf’s leaders, but they must realize that in 20-30 years time -- as better athletes start to play golf because it’s the only sport where you can make more money at 60 years old that when you were in your prime -- Bubba Watson will be a short hitter by comparison!

Monday
Apr142014

First Masters Poll...How Much Did Course Impact Sunday?

I know you all taped, recorded and watched my Morning Drive phone appearance today to hear Gary Williams, Damon Hack and I talk about the difficulty of the back nine. With no eagles Sunday on No. 15, no birdie on 17, and the 11th only yielding a couple of birdies, the back nine continues to be extremely difficult under Masters conditions. There is still a strong imbalance of risk and reward even with the likes of Bubba having a 360-yard drive in the arsenal.

Longtime readers know how I feel: the pines planted by Tom Fazio and Hootie Johnson down the right of the 11th and between the 15th and 17th holes, restrict freedom, clutter the grand scale of a beautiful property and blatantly disrespect the design vision of Mr. Jones and Dr. MacKenzie.

That said, with the Masters fresh in mind, I'm curious which hole stands out to you as most needing to be made more gettable, more fun, and less penal to help give the players a better chance of providing us a few more thrills.

What back nine hole most needs to be made more like it used to be?
  
pollcode.com free polls 

Monday
Apr142014

Of Course Bubba Went To The Waffle House

What else is open on a Sunday night after you've had dinner with the club brass for a little tide-me-over?

Ryan Herrington with the breaking news report on Bubba's Waffle House visit post Green Jacket 2, Tweeted about by Bubba.

Sunday
Apr132014

2014 Masters Clippings: Final Round Roundup

A few ledes to kick things off followed by what I could find after filing a feature and a blog post. Thanks for all the great comments and clicks this week. Another stellar Masters. That doesn't mean I won't be moaning this week about the silly pines. But for now, soak up another impressive Bubba Watson win and thorough coverage from a hard working gang in the media center.

Doug Ferguson, AP:

Bubba Watson's second Masters title was nothing like the green jacket he won two years ago.

David Westin, Augusta Chronicle:

Bubba Watson didn’t need a miracle shot from the pines in sudden death to win his second Mas­ters Tournament in three years. The only round in the 60s among the contenders Sunday was enough.

Steve DiMeglio, USA Today:

Bubba Watson will be the first to tell you he has issues, plenty of them, and he'll readily admit he's on the jittery side and self-diagnosed with attention deficit disorder.

Ron Sirak, GolfDigest.com:

Bubba Watson has all the shots -- and more. Sometimes when you watch him on the range it seems as if he is genetically incapable of hitting a golf ball straight.

Bob Harig, ESPN.com:

He swings out of his shoes with a pink-shafted driver, his golf ball traveling distances that are awed and admired. Bubba Golf, it is called, often with disbelief and wonder.

Bubba is The Grinch Who Stole The Masters. (Sobel/GolfChannel.com)

Angie’s perspective. (Nichols/Golfweek.com)

The details behind the tournament turning on two shots, one by Spieth and one by Bubba. (Shackelford/GolfDigest.com)

Only one media member picked Bubba in the Augusta Chronicle annual writers survey. Too bad he didn't place a wager when Bubba was 25-1, but then, he'd be admitting he's both a blogger and a degenerate. At least this will get him out of 23rd place in his fantasy league. (Augusta.com)

Jordan Spieth “had it in his hands.” (Shedloski/GolfDigest.com)

Spieth shows moxy and receives a priceless golf education. (Wojciechowski/ESPN.com)

Jonas Blixt, Masters rookie and runner up. (Armour/USA Today)

Miguel Angel Jimenez had the best showing by a geezer since Sam Snead finished T3 in 1963. (Gay/Augusta.com)

The Mechanic’s Augusta Chronicle slideshow. (Augusta.com)

Rickie Fowler couldn’t overcome the orange, finishing T-5. (Coffin/GolfChannel.com)

Rory McIlroy stunk up the par-5s but he also registered his best Masters finish yet at T8. (Armour/USA Today)

Caroline is a blond again. Almost. Except the part on top where she’s not. (AP/golf.com)

Other celebrity sightings Sunday (GolfDigest.com)

Bernhard Langer, 56, yippy, T-8. Just incredible. (Miceli/Golfweek)

Fred Couples, not as much but still impressive. (Maycock/Augusta.com)

Adam Scott couldn’t putt. (Sobel/GolfChannel.com)

Oliver Goss is your low am. (Hoggard/GolfChannel.com)

There was one birdie on 17 Sunday. Chris Kirk called the green in that area purple. (Staats/Augusta.com)

Birdies and Bogeys Sunday. (GolfDigest.com)

Grading the players. (Collins/ESPN.com)

The best of CBS’s broadcast and Poulter tweet (Strege/GolfDigest.com)

Bubba’s gear. (Johnson/GolfDigest.com)

Masters.com video highlights. (Masters.com)

Bubba’s second jacket, Masters.com highlight video for the week going back to last Sunday. (Masters.com)

Bubba’s press conference. (Masters.com).
 
Bubba’s Sunday conversation with ESPN's Tom Rinaldi. (ESPN.com)

Final round photos. (Augusta.com)

SI/golf.com photos (golf.com)

Sunday
Apr132014

Bubba Wins Second Green Jacket, Your Kneejerk Reactions

As always de-emphasize the jerk and celebrate the display of skill by Bubba Watson who seemed destined to win since his win at Riviera in February.

That said, I'll be filing some items for the next couple of hours but I'd love to hear any and all thoughts on a strange Sunday that was thrilling on the front, a dud on the back. The course, CBS, Jordan, Jonas and of course, Bubba winning his second green jacket.

Sunday
Apr132014

2014 Masters Final Round Reminders And Open Thread

Here's about all you need to know: Masters.com heats up around 11:45 a.m.-ish with the addictive Amen Corner Live coverage. The other spectacular feeds kick-in soon thereafter.

Golf Channel's Live From should be on in the background, and at 1 p.m. Jim Nantz Remembers zeros in on the dramatic Faldo victories in Augusta.

At 2 p.m, CBS carries the final round of The Masters. Viewing times here if you don't believe me.

Final round pairings.

Who the bookmakers like.

The leaderboard.

Sunday
Apr132014

2014 Masters Day Three Quick Roundup

Augusta Chronicle game story. (Westin/Augusta.com)

Bubba has a lead, even though it sure doesn’t feel like it. (Weinman/GolfDigest.com)

Jordan Spieth automatically calls anyone older tham him “Mr.” Even Bubba. (Sobel/GolfChannel.com)

Mr. Watson stumbled Saturday but still has part of the lead. (Rude/Golfweek.com)

Nice Spieth backstory stuff. (Reilly/ESPN.com)

Rickie Fowler's work with Butch Harmon is paying off. (Adler/GolfDigest.com)

Matt Kuchar doesn't sound fazed by his recent final round disappointinments (Shedloski/GolfDigest.com)

Poulter is pissed that the golf course was there for the taking and he didn’t take it. (Golfweek.com)

Putting derailed Adam Scott. (Coffin/GolfChannel.com)

50-year-old Miguel Angel Jimenez’s 67 recalls Hogan’s 66 at 54. (Fields/GolfDigest.com)

In case you missed it early, Ben Crenshaw revealed he will play just one more Masters. (Hoggard/GolfChannel.com)

Fred Couples did not take himself out of it Saturday. (Staats/Augusta.com)

Rory McIlroy admits that marker Jeff Knox beat him by one. (Ritter/golf.com)

Knox has an interesting legacy of playing as a marker. A 2013 story. (Bull/Guardian)

Phil
and Tiger talked after the second round, at least hypothetically. (Sobel/GolfChannel.com)

The purse is up to $9 million. (Hoggard/GolfChannel.com)

A young Southern belle ran across the 10th green. Yes, that's news here. (Augusta.com)

More Augusta Chronicle photos. (Augusta.com)

You guys like Kuchar and Spieth, Bubba not so much. (GeoffShackelford.com)

Final round pairings. (Masters.com)

Saturday
Apr122014

Instant Poll: Who Is Going To Win The 2014 Masters?

Still looks to me like Bubba's tournament to lose, but it also looks like just about anything could happen Sunday. But it'd be fun to see what the consensus is.

The poll:

Who is going to win the 2014 Masters?
  
pollcode.com free polls 

Saturday
Apr122014

Improved Round Two 2014 Masters Ratings, Still Way Down

Round two of the 2014 Masters did better than round one, but was still down 40% from last year's record-audience in round two when Tiger was on the air throughout the telecast.

From ESPN PR:

ESPN’s live telecast of the second round of the Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on Friday, April 11, earned a 1.8 U.S. household rating, averaging 2.5 million viewers, according to fast national data from Nielsen Media. The telecast aired from 3-7:30 p.m. ET.
 
The rating and viewership rose from the first day of the event, which earned a 1.5 rating and averaged 2 million viewers, but did not surpass ESPN’s record-setting Friday from last year’s event. In 2013, ESPN had its highest-rated and most-viewed Friday telecast since it began airing the Masters in 2008, averaging a 3.0 U.S. household rating and 4.2 million viewers.
 
Over the two days of Masters telecasts, ESPN averaged a 1.6 U.S. household rating and 2.2 million viewers, both down from last year’s averages of a 2.5 rating and 3.5 million viewers.
 
“With its iconic nature and grand tradition, the Masters is one of the world’s great and beloved sporting events and as recently as last year, our viewers have responded to the Masters in record numbers,” said John Wildhack, ESPN executive vice president, production and programming. “While viewership was down this year, the Masters has a value to us that goes well beyond ratings.”

Saturday
Apr122014

2015 Masters Will Be Ben Crenshaw's Last

The two-time champion told Rich Lerner on Live From The Masters that 2015 will be his swan song from Masters play.

The full quote and a Rex Hoggard story.

“I made the decision that next year is my last year.  It is funny, on Amen Corner on the 13th hole on the first day, I hadn’t told Carl yet, but I said, ‘Carl, I’ve been thinking about this for a long time and next year would be a good year.’  I’m very, very happy with it.  I’ve thought about it for a long time. A lot of times I thought that I could have stepped down earlier.  It is hard.  Very hard.  But I have been so fortunate.  I have to look at the good things that have happened.  I have to pull over and watch.  I’m very resigned to being an encourager for everybody as much as I can.”

Saturday
Apr122014

2014 Masters Third Round Reminders, Open Thread

The fun kicks off at 10:45 ET with Amen Corner Live at Masters.com and on the app, Featured Groups come on at noon and eventually CBS at 3 pm ET. 

Here's the full viewing guide for today and tomorrow.

Tee times, commencing with Rory McIlroy at 10:15 a.m. ET and ending with Bubba Watson and John Senden at 2:45 pm ET.

Your live leaderboard.

Friday
Apr112014

2014 Masters Day Two Quick Roundup

Bubba Watson was open about doing it his own way after a stellar 68. (Sirak/GolfDigest.com)

The Augusta Chronicle's game story. (Westin/Augusta.com)

Bubba made a Patrick Reed joke. (Coffin/GolfChannel.com)

The bookies really like Bubba’s chances (Kerr-Dineen/GolfDigest.com)

Bubba's stellar tee shot on 16 setup his fifth straight birdie. (Masters.com)

If you had Jonas Blixt in the low first time Masters participant pool after 36, you win. (European Tour)

Thomas Bjorn is in contention. Not the old guy you had in mind. (Gay/Augusta.com)

Rory McIlroy and Kevin Streelman talk about the cautiousness required to play Augusta. Rory goes off first Saturday with a marker. (Murray/The Guardian)

Phil Mickelson will miss the cut for the first time since 1997. A waterless triple on 12 didn't help. (AP/golf.com)

Zach Johnson called a penalty on himself, adding to his '14 Masters misery. (Hoggard/GolfChannel.com)

Australian amateur Oliver Goss posted a clutch 1-under-par 71 and he’s likely to be the only amateur to make the cut. (Nichols/Golfweek.com)

It's Goss' birthday Saturday but he's not going to celebrate tonight, he reports. (Goss/Masters.com)

The Yin and Yang of Augusta National. (Adler/GolfDigest.com)

The New York Times opens their archive of old photos. Check out the second shot, an aerial showing the old 9th green. (New York Times)

Augusta National's 19th hole that was...for a short time. (Kupelian/Masters.com)

GolfDigest.com photos.

SI/golf.com's photos.

Friday
Apr112014

Vijay’s Lawyers Getting Snippy!

Rex Hoggard with an update on the discovery process in Vijay Singh's lawsuit against the PGA Tour.

It seems Vijay's people do not feel they are getting everything they asked for.

“The apparent rationalization for the PGA Tour’s refusal to abide by its discovery obligations is that it wants to make one, and not an additional, production,” wrote Ginsberg in a letter dated April 11.

“The PGA Tour has no legal justification for its continuing refusal to produce indisputably relevant documents and information within the (Tour’s) custody and control which do not fall within the scope of the pending motion to compel.”

Friday
Apr112014

Tiger Effect? First Day Masters Ratings Down 30%

Ed Sherman analyzes the first day numbers from Augusta, where the audience dipped 30% to a 1.5/2 million average viewers.

Friday
Apr112014

Why Bubba Watson’s Going To Win The Masters Again

Forget the bogey on 18. Remember the artistic chip shot from left of the green that only a real artist could conjure up. Or the low-burning 300-yard-plus tee shots underneath Augusta National’s brutal Friday midday winds.

Bubba Watson is going to win this Masters. He’s got more game than anyone on the leaderboard, as evidenced multiple times during his incoming 32, giving him a 137 total for two days (-7).

The ability to overpower Augusta National? How about 186-yard 9-irons like the 16th hole shot today that set up a birdie.

Shot shaping? Up, down, left and right? Bubba isn’t afraid to combine multiple elements into a shot.

Wind shots? He may be one of the last players on the planet willing and able to play a low-burner under Masters pressure. His super-low cutting 315-yarder on 17 had the patrons oo-ing and ahh-ing.

Putting? He hasn’t three putted in 291 holes, the longest streak on the PGA Tour by well over 100.

Most of all, Bubba looks and sounds like he’s locked-in mentally.  On the course he looks like a fighter instead of a pouter.. Bubba’s grinding, not getting upset at his caddie when he’s stuck behind slow-pokes like Jason Day and Henrik Stenson, as his group was during an opening 137 (-7). All season long there has been little sign of the mood swings that hurt this prodigious talent’s chances of being the dominant player he could become. Chalk this Bay Hill 83 and WD to allergy issues.

Watson even admitted after his round that he suffered a post-Masters hangover.

"Never been drunk before, but a hangover from the green jacket," Watson said. "It is, it's going to take me some time. You know, I do everything my way.  I learned the game my way.  I figured it out my way.  So it just takes me a little bit longer with the mental focus and drive to get back to where I am today.  This year started off a little bit better than last year."

As Watson walked off the 18th tee following a low-flying 3-wood, to his immediate right were the usual ten or so patrons at the 10th hole spot where Bubba played his remarkable recovery shot in the 2012 Masters playoff. It was yet another reminder of how iconic the shot has become and how popular Watson is with Masters patrons. Bubba never looked their way. He still had the 18th to play.

The key to his stunning putting streak comes from a simple extension by a half inch, which Bubba said after his round has made his hands more relaxed and bent, creating “an athletic putting stroke and more feel.”

As workmanlike as his blade has been, it’s the combination of power and shot-shaping under trying conditions that made his 68 so impressive. Should there be any wind at all this weekend, Watson holds an advantage over most of his peers, who either do not have the shots or simply refuse to try playing shots under the wind. 

With no rain in the forecast, we’re set up for a traditional weekend with late start times and twilight finishes. Bubba’s been there, won that. Only a mental meltdown stands in his way. But as he proved Friday, Bubba’s all-around game is superior to anyone on the leaderboard.

Friday
Apr112014

2014 Masters Second Round Reminders, Open Thread

We here in the media center have quite possibly the coolest viewing device ever consisting of all the Masters.com feeds, plus the essentials (CBS, ESPN, Golf Channel, Sky Sports, live hole stats, leaderboard, etc...), so I can't really speak to how the online and app feeds were working. But based on your comments, the day one Masters.com experience was grand.

So remember, Masters.com and the apps are your friends until 3 p.m. ET when ESPN signs on. The fun starts at Amen Corner Live around 10:45 am ET.

Your day two groups.

The leaderboard.

Thanks to Ian Baker-Finch for the day two hole locations.

 

 

Thursday
Apr102014

2014 Masters Day One Quick Roundup

Bill Haas leads at 68 just two weeks after firing his brother as his caddie. (Weinman/GolfDigest.com)

On Haas: “You make a business decision that Frank and Claire Underwood could admire.” (Wojciechowski/ESPN.com)

A look at the young gun group of Spieth and McIlroy. (Babineau/Golfweek). And a focus on Patrick Reed who finished with three bogeys to shoot 73. (Rosenberg/golf.com)

Billy Casper is out of the hospital after fainting (Shedloski/GolfDigest.com)

Adam Scott had a lot of interesting things to say after the round (Sirak/GolfDigest.com)

Scott doubled the 12th and it didn't phase him now that he has a Green Jacket (Michaux/Augusta Chronicle)

Scott's opening 69 was the best by a defender in 13 years, game story version (Ferguson/AP)

Fred Couples is in the mix. (Coffin/GolfChannel.com)

Jason Dufner made a 9 and shot 80. (Harig/ESPN.com)

The U.S. Mid-Amateur Champion Mike McCoy got off to a rough start and it looks likely that he’ll continue the streak of mid-am qualifiers never having made the cut. (Achenbach/Golfweek)

A round up of the amateurs. (Knight/Augusta.com)

Phil Mickelson says it was not the best day for him, even though he hit it ok posting 76. (Hoggard/GolfChannel.com)

The 12th hole played as the second toughest hole and Scott says his double was caused by not focusing after a huge fan reaction (Yours Truly/GolfDigest.com)

Amen Corner got the best of the field. (Sobel/GolfChannel.com)

An hour at the mysterious third hole (Fields/GolfDigest.com)

The Drive, Chip and Putt Championship capped off a big ratings week for Golf Channel, up big from over a year ago. Sunday's two airings combined for 552,000 viewers. (Son of The Bronx)

A roundup of the best Tweets and broadcast moments. (Strege/GolfDigest.com)

Golfweek’s photos.

Golf.com photos.

Golf Digest’s photos.

First round action photos from the Augusta Chronicle.

Honorary Starter photos from the Augusta Chronicle.

Thursday
Apr102014

Bloomberg: Inside The Masters Foundation Numbers

Bloomberg's Michael Buteau takes a look at the Masters Foundation, which slumped 37 percent in 2012 donations, from $6.8 million in its first year of 2011 to $4.3 million in '12.

More interesting are some of the notes on donations made and who is making them.

Stanley Druckenmiller, one of the best-performing hedge-fund managers of the past three decades and an avid golfer, was among 34 people who didn’t follow 2011 donations with another the following year. Tax records filed for the foundation show 24 people or organizations made gifts in 2012.

“You don’t fill up your tank when its 3/4 full, you fill it up when it’s 3/4 empty,” said Andrew Morton, a Chicago-based philanthropy attorney and chairman of the Sports & Entertainment Law Group at Handler Thayer LLP. “I suspect that’s how this organization is going to operate.”

The foundation gave $1.7 million to eight golf groups, including $1 million to the World Golf Foundation, the same totals from a year earlier. Outgoing donations accounted for 39 percent of the foundation’s revenue in 2012, 34 percent more than legally required under tax law, according to Morton.

“Their grant-making activity is far exceeding their legal requirement,” Morton said.

Thursday
Apr102014

Bandon Land Swap Approved, 6th Course Looking More Likely 

John Gunther reports that the Oregon Parks Commission approved a 280-acre land transfer for Mike Keiser to build the Bandon Links.

The state park get wetlands on another property and ocean front acreage, while Keiser gets 288-acres of gorse-heavy land south of Bandon to build 36, including a Gil Hanse 18 where residents will pay a low rate while resort guests will pay more.

The transfer still faces one big hurdle, since the land that would go to Bandon Biota was sold to the Oregon Parks Department by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management on the condition that it remain open to public outdoor recreation. That condition must be removed before the property can be transferred, a process that could take several months, according to Chris Havel of the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department.

But Tuesday’s vote was a huge step toward the transfer becoming reality.
“We’re pleased with the outcome,” Keiser said this morning, adding that there’s a long ways to go in the process.

“The Bureau of Land Management has to sign off on the ultimate use. And we need approval from Coos County when we come up with a specific plan.”