Augusta, ShotLink Notes

Two interesting notes from 

MASTERS PREVIEW: Ben Crane is assured of playing in his first Masters (through the PGA Tour money list), and he wasted no time getting his first look at Augusta National.

A week after the club had its fall opening, Crane spent four days at Augusta and played five rounds.

"I hadn't played in a few weeks and wasn't expecting anything,'' he said. "I shot 4-under, made eagle on No. 13. I thought, 'This is no problem.' And I never came close to that the rest of the week.''

For those curious about the latest batch of changes, stretching the course to 7,445 yards, Crane confirmed suspicions that the par-3 fourth hole will be a beast. It has a new tee box some 35 yards longer, making it play about 240 yards. He hit 2-iron one day, and 3-wood the other four times he played.

SHOTLINK: Officials at the Chrysler Championship thought Dennis Paulson had made history as the first player to reach the 605-yard fifth hole in two. According to the Shotlink system, which uses lasers to track every shot by every player, Paulson's second shot went 287 yards and onto the green.

Statistics showed he took two putts for a birdie.

Alas, Shotlink is operated by humans, and humans do err.

"I was through the green,'' Paulson said, noting that his 3-wood went just beyond the fringe into the first cut. Told that Shotlink had him taking two putts, he rolled his eyes and said, "Great. As if my putting stats weren't bad enough.''

It wasn't the first time Paulson has been subjected to a Shotlink mix-up. At the Reno-Tahoe Open, he said the system operators had him mistaken for playing partner Paul Goydos throughout the round.

"One hole, they had Goydos 70 yards past me,'' he said. "My driving distance average went down that week.''