Posts Tagged ‘Augusta National’

The Masters Final Round 2009

Sunday, April 12th, 2009

Angel Cabrera is the 2009 Masters champion. It was not won without drama, Kenny Perry had a two stroke lead after 16 holes and having gone 23 bogey free holes dropped a shot on 17 and another on 18 to force a three way playoff between himself, Cabrera and Chad Campbell. On the first playoff hole Cabrera was seemingly dead in the water, stymied at the base of a tree, took a shot through the trees just trying to stay right of the hole with the pin placement on the left, ricocheted off a tree into the middle of the fairway. Perry and Campbell were fine but on their second shots Campbell found the bunker and Perry found the rough to the right of the hole. Cabrera’s third hit the green leaving himself a relatively easy putt for par, Perry’s chip was nothing short of phenomenal as he chipped to within about 18 inches for an easy par, but it was Campbell with the difficult bunker shot that went left himself a long par putt which he missed. Perry and Cabrera both made their par putts and headed to the 10th for the second playoff hole. Both players had beautiful drives in the middle of the fairway but Perry’s second shot was well to the left of the hole, leaving him an awkward chip shot, while Cabrera second left him on the green with an easy two putt for par. Kenny’s chip was thin, trapping the ball and running well past the hole, a putt back to the hole still left him some 6 feet for bogey and all Angel had to do was leave his first putt within striking distance which he did wonderfully and tap in for par sealed his 2009 Masters victory.

There was some well played golf today, while the leaders stayed somewhat benign Phil and Tiger made runs from back in the pack, but they were too far behind at the start of the day to make it, to the top. At one point Phil got within one shot of the lead but at the end of the day it would not have mattered, as the leaders got just enough that they would have stayed on top anyway. Angel Cabrera first, Perry and Campbell T2 all at 12 under par, Shingo Katayama alone in 3rd place at 10 under par, Phil Mickelson in 4th at 9 under par, Tiger Woods, Steve Flesch, Steve Stricker and John Merrick T5 at 8 under par, Hunter Mahan, Jim Furyk and Sean O’Hair were T9 at 7 under.

So now we wait, for another year until the next Masters tournament. Congratulations to Angel Cabrera for an outstanding victory and four very solid days of golf on what are arguably the grandest stage and possibly the toughest test of skill and patience in sports.

The Masters Round 3 2009

Sunday, April 12th, 2009

Three rounds down and Masters Sunday is all that remains of the 2009 Masters. The week has went much too fast and it is hard to believe it is almost over for another year.
Kenny Perry and Angel Cabrera are tied atop the leaderboard at 11 under par. In 3rd place sits Chad Campbell at 9 under, Jim Furyk has 4th place at 8 under par and Steve Stricker holds down 5th at 7 under par. Todd Hamilton, Shingo Katayama and Rory Sabbatini are T6 at 6 under. Tim Clark remains at -5 to be alone in the 9th spot and rounding out the top 10 are 9 players at 4 under par including Anthony Kim, Hunter Mahan, Stephen Ames, Nick Watney, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood and Sean O’Hair.

Angel and Kenny are both known for not making mistakes to give up a final round. If anyone is going to overtake them they are going to have to play some phenomenal golf, because it is unlikely they are going to get “help” from the leaders. At 48 years 8 months Kenny Perry would be not only the oldest Masters champion but would have the honor of being the oldest winner of a major in history. It should be interesting to watch that final group. The golf world got the pairing they wanted in Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods albeit earlier in the day than the majority had hoped. At 7 strokes back it is unlikely either will be able to mount a final charge to earn another green jacket. I don’t believe that anyone out of the top five has a real shot at winning this year. I believe the old saying goes something like, never say never? We could see a record setting performance come from back in the pack, but Cabrera and Perry have been very consistent throughout the tournament.

The Golf Channel spent about an hour with two time champion Ben Crenshaw yesterday that was really enjoyable. He provided some tales and cleared up a couple myths surrounding his Masers victories. They let him take us through the pin placements on Saturday prior to the tournament coverage provided by CBS. The Sunday pin placements should be interesting this year, as they have used some of the traditional Sunday pin placements throughout the tournament, mixing them in everyday. I wonder if Billy Payne and the committee have some surprises in store for us this year. In my opinion Mr. Payne has done a wonderful job since replacing Hootie. Eight of the eighteen greens have been rebuilt with hydronic systems that regulate turf heating and cooling. Three were completed last summer and those they have left are 2, 7, 8, 10, 11 and 14 through 18. Augusta does not release official stimp meter readings for their greens, estimations are that they run at 12 or a little better. That is fast, most amateurs probably find 8 to be a pretty fast green at there local courses. Mr. Crenshaw mentioned just how fast these greens are and if you have paid attention you’ve most likely noticed just how easy they have been hitting their putts. Slow and steady will win this race today, looking over some of the scorecards this morning I noticed that very few players have even two sub 70 rounds this year and if I’m not mistaken only Angel Cabrera has put together three sub up 70 rounds. Keep it in the fairway and don’t get too greedy, that is what the co-leaders need to do. The rest of the field needs to take some chances and challenge the greens on the reachable par 5’s if they are going to have a chance at winning.

The Masters Round 2 2009

Friday, April 10th, 2009

Kenny Perry putting together rounds of 68/67 is T1 with Chad Campbell at 9 under atop the leaderboard at Augusta. Alone in 3rd place sets Angel Cabrera at 8 under par with Todd Hamilton holding onto the 4th position at 6 under par and Tim Clark is by himself in 5th position at 5 under. Five players are T6 with impressive rounds coming from Anthony Kim shooting a 65 today, Rory Sabbatini and Sergio Garcia with a pair of 67’s, Kim moved up 69 positions on the leaderboard while Rory and Sergio moved up 45 positions. Shingo Katayama and Jim Furyk hold down the other two positions at T6, they both shot over par and fell down the board. Eight players are T11 at 3 under par including Phil Mickelson, Steve Stricker, Hunter Mahan, Nick Watney, Henrick Stenson, Stephen Ames, Geoff Ogilvy and Vijay Singh. There are nine players 7 shots back at 2 under par, Tiger Woods, Camilo Villegas, Padraig Harrington, Lee Westwood, Dustin Johnson, Sandy Lyle, Aaron Baddely, Graeme McDowell and John Merrick. Baddely and Merrick fell 13 positions, Harrington and McDowell fell 5 positions, the rest of the players at T19 moved up the board Villegas moved up 32 positions, Lyle and Johnson moved up 20, Tiger and Westwood up 2 both by just shooting par today. Five players are T28 at 1 under, Rocco Mediate, Ken Duke, Larry Mize, Miguel Angel Jiminez and Mike Weir. Nine players made the cut at even par and an additional nine players at 1 over. Exactly 50 players made the cut.

Some of those who did not make the cut are past champions Zach Johnson, Bernhard Langer, Fuzzy Zoeller and Gary Player. It was the last Masters for Player and Zoeller who both received a very deserved welcome walking up to the 18th green, the emotion was overwhelming and I don’t mind saying it brought a tear to my eye both times. Stewart Cink, Greg Norman, Robert Karlson, Pat Perez, Ben Crenshaw and two of the three teenagers Danny Lee and Ryo Ishikawa also did not make the field. You had to feel for Thailand’s Prayad Marksaeng who shot a 69 on Thursday only to follow it up with an 84 and end up 9 over par at 153.

Such is the game, 96 players came in and 50 remain. Only two players have ever won the Maters being outside the top five after 36 holes. That doesn’t bode well for Tiger and Phil or the Paddy slam. I’ll certainly be watching those players but right now I have got to pull for 48 year old Kenny Perry. He isn’t in my foursome in the fantasy golf league this week. After I finish this I have to go in and bench Zach Johnson and Robert Karlson but I have good prospects in their designated replacements Tim Clark and Rocco Mediate. I’d say any player within 7 shots of the lead has a real chance to win but in order for that to happen, the leaders are going to have to stumble and I wouldn’t wish that on anybody.

Augusta National Golf Club

Wednesday, April 8th, 2009

The original architects were Bobby Jones and Alistair MacKenzie. Augusta opened in 1934 and played to 6,700 yards. From it’s inception the course was meant to be modified over the years, in 1938 it was lengthened to 6,800 yards, in 1942 another 100 yards were added to make it 6,900 yards, in 1952 6,950 yards, in 1956 6,965 yards and again in 1957 another 15 yards was added to make it 6,980 yards in length. It wasn’t lengthened again until 1974 when it was changed to 7,020 yards, in 1976 it was 7,030 yards, in 1978 it played to 7,040 yards, then in 1981 the course was shortened to 6,905 yards, in 1994 6,925 yards, in 1999 6,985 yards, in 2002 it went to 7,270 yards, in 2003 7,290 yards, then in 2006 7,445 yards and now in 2009 7,435 yards. I find it interesting that for all that has been and is said about the course length, over the years it has really been the short game that wins The Masters. Case in point, in 2007 Zach Johnson never went for a single par 5 in 2, but rather chose to lay up and subsequently that was where he got the majority of his birdies. Last years winner Trevor Immelman, followed a similar path to victory. Tiger’s winning of the green jacket can be attributed more to his chipping and putting than any other aspect of his game and I suspect that it will be course management that again decides this year’s eventual winner.

Nick Price and Greg Norman share the honor of holding the course record of 63, first by Price in 1986 and tied by Norman in 1996. Price’s coming in the 3rd round and Norman’s in the 1st round. There have been eight aces recorded at the Masters tournament, 6 of them coming at 16, one at 4 and one at 6. The most difficult hole is the 505 yard, par 4, 11th which requires a 300 yard drive in order to crest the hill. There are some 3 dozen trees guarding the right side of the fairway and makes it very tight, a pond guards the green on the left and a bunker on the back right. The safe play is to lay up short and to the right. The easiest hole is the 15th, a par 5 that plays 530 yards. A mature cluster of pine trees on the right side of the fairway makes a straight tee shot critical here. The green can be reached in 2 provided the good shot off the tee, but again a pond guards the green on the front and a bunker to the right. It was Gene Sarazan’s famous double eagle with a 4 wood that put the Masters on the map in 1935 at this hole.

Our weakened economy has had an effect on this year’s tournament. AP press releases have indicated scalpers 4 day ticket prices that fetched as much as $3,500 last year are going for $1,350 this year. Party homes that corporate sponsors rented out for 25 grand are now going for 16. Chef Karl Kwoka was quoted as saying that he only has 1 company to prepare for this year and that he will lose somewhere in the neighborhood of $70,000 this year compared to what he earned at last years tournament. President of Augusta rental agency Corporate Quarters, Diane Starr stated she normally rents out 400 properties and this year that number has dwindled to 300. The Augusta Convention and Tourist Bureau estimates that the tournament normally brings in $100 million to the local economy but they will fall far short of that this year. I was unable to find out how short those estimates are for this year but I suspect at the end of the tournament they will still find themselves with a cash infusion into their local economy in the 75 mil range. Not too shabby for a single golf tournament.