Friday's Masters Clippings

masterslogo.gifIsn't wireless internet grand. You type your story, copy and paste it, file it and boom, you're out of the press center and at the Waffle House by 10. No faxing. No dictating over the phone.  Well, on the days the wireless in the Masters media center doesn't crash!

Hey but the golf was really exciting. The Fred Ridley era got off to a rivetting start. A 76.174 scoring average only two eagles to go with 241 bogeys and only 102 birdies. And the scribblers who did get to file were not in much of a mood to celebrate the high numbers.

Lawrence Donegan's Guardian game story:

There is a certain vicarious thrill in seeing pampered players endure hardships at their place of work but attritional golf is the preserve of the US Open. The Masters has captured the imagination through the decades because it has produced thrilling stuff but there was little to stir the imagination on a leaderboard awash with bogeys and double bogeys. Indeed for a five-hour stretch in the morning there were three holes - the 1st, 7th and 9th - which failed to offer up a single birdie. No wonder Howell said after completing his round, on what was a beautiful Georgia day, that the galleries were "strangely quiet".

Traditionally pin positions are easier for the second round, so there should be a few more birdies on offer, but even so the word in the locker room is that level par might do the trick over the 72 holes.

AP's Jim Litke offers some interesting Tiger-warming-up-observations and writes:

If this is the new, improved Augusta National, welcome to a world of few cheers and even fewer birdies. Both will be in precious short supply.

And Vartan Kupelian was particularly cranky about the U.S. Open setup.

Now we know how Augusta National, bigger, longer and stronger, plays when it is fast and firm.

It doesn't play. It becomes work -- difficult, grinding and seldom artistic. The journey around Augusta National becomes maddening, not unlike the traffic outside on Washington Road.

There is a tiny difference: The greens are much faster.

And Washington Road is much nosier. Without many birdies and eagles, the wonderful roars that sent messages from Amen Corner, and every other corner at Augusta National, were muted Thursday, and that's too bad.

The crescendos have been part of the fun here, but we've already established Augusta National played more like the U.S. Open than the Masters -- pars, not birdies and better, were the order of the day, not fun.

Lorne Rubenstein looks at Mike Weir's struggles and has some observations from the course. 

apr5_poulter_600x600.jpgHey but at least Ian Poulter looked more like an Augusta pimp today. Image courtesy of

If you like photos, don't miss the Principle's opening day photo caption fun.

Damon Hack's NY Times game story featured this on Justin Rose:

On Friday, Rose is scheduled to tee off at 2:14 p.m.

“I’ll probably watch a little bit of ‘Little Britain’ DVDs, Ali G DVDs, just stuff to occupy your mind, really,” he said. “You have to forget about it, reset the dial, and treat tomorrow as a clean slate.”

Finally, Jeff Haney looks at the creative solutions the oddmakers have come up with to overcome Tiger's status as an overwhelming favorite.