Posts Tagged ‘PGA Tour’

The Memorial Tournament round 2

Friday, June 5th, 2009

The course played tougher today and emerging as co-leaders were Jonathon Byrd and Jim Furyk who stand at 7 under par 137. Byrd put forth a really nice effort today shooting a 4 under par 68, while Furyk shot a 2 under par 70. At T3 are Mike Weir and Mark Wilson, Weirsy shot a 3 under par 69 today and Wilson shot a 2 under par 70, they are both 1 shot back at 138, 6 strokes under par. Ryuji Imada and Matt Bettencourt are T5 2 strokes back at 139, shooting 3 and 4 under par respectively today. Ten golfers are T7 to round out the top ten, those being: Steve Marino, Rod Pampling, Ernie Els, Stewart Cink, Chris DeMarco, Matt Kuchar, Charl Schwartzel, Jason Day, Luke Donald and Davis Love III. The T7 contingent are all 3 strokes back at 140.

The cut was set at 4 over par, all those at T71 or better. Some of the players not playing the weekend are Vijay Singh, Carl Pettersson, Jesper Parnevik, Fredrick Jacobson, Mark Calcavecchia, John Mallinger, Padraig Harrington, Danny Lee, J.B. Holmes, Aaron Baddely and Adam Scott. Withdrawing were Sean O’Hair, Billy Andrade and Scott Percy.

Stats are as follows: Scoring average Jonathon Byrd at 68.5, field average is 73.49, Driving Distance led by Dustin Johnson at 314.8 while the field is averaging 285 yards, Driving Accuracy Kevin Na with 92.86% and the field is at 72.54%, Greens in Regulation led by Ernie Els at 77.78% with the field average at 58.81%, Jonathon Byrd also led in Scrambling at 100% while the field average was 50.66%, Putts per Round it was Steve Lowery with 24 and the field average at 28.88.

The toughest hole was a tie between 10 and 18, while the easiest hole was the 7th. I was particularly impressed with the post round interviews of Jim Furyk, Tiger Woods and Mike Weir. Weirsy and Furyk are two guys who rarely beat themselves and tend to be steady Eddy on the golf course. Some might consider that a conservative approach but consistency is what pays off on the golf course. Speaking of consistency TW has hit more fairways in this tournament than he has in awhile, he’s only missed 3 in 36 holes, his problems today was trying to be too aggressive. Shooting a 74 was his highest round since the US Open in 2007, and he is still only 6 strokes out of the lead. His mood was positive when interviewed, the course is playing tough which was the biggest conservation of the day and I believe he will rebound, not saying he will win but you can never count him out either. Nice to see Ernie turn in a fine couple of rounds, he has only been in the top ten twice this year and he played the first two rounds with Tiger which is always going to be a circus with the gallery and the media. Losing the playoff at Colonial hasn’t seemed to bother Steve Marino, a name you don’t hear a lot but if you watch golf it is someone you are aware of has he turns in a pretty steady performance week in and week out.

The Golf Channel is reporting TW’s knee is not 100%, I say quit beating a dead horse. It may never be 100% again let it go.

Sources: and the Golf Channel
Opinions my own

The Memorial Tournament Round 1

Thursday, June 4th, 2009

Luke Donald shot an 8 under par 64 to take the lead in the first round of play at Jack’s place. He is T96 in driving distance at 270 yards, 55.6% and T55 in GIR but he is also first in putts per GIR at an impressive 1.3. Four players are T2 with 5 under par 67’s; Jim Furyk, Jason Day, Ted Purdy and Thomas Aiken. Three players are T6 with 4 under par 68’s to their credit; Steve Marino, Stewart Cink and Mark Wilson. There are nine players T9 with 3 under par 69’s; Troy Madison, Johnson Wagner, Kevin Sutherland, Nicholas Thompson, Rod Pampling, Tiger Woods, Mike Weir, Jonathon Byrd and Reinier Saxton.

Key stats Luke Donald in scoring average (64) with the field averaging 73.61 and putts per round (20) with the field average at 28.88, J.B. Holmes in driving distance (338.5) with the field averaging 283.7 yards, Tiger Woods leads in driving accuracy (92.86%) with the rest of the field at an average of 72.5%, Jonathon Byrd has the lead in Greens In Regulation (88.89%) and the field average is at 58.19%, scrambling is led by Troy Matteson with (100%) while the field is averaging 51.72%.

It was unfortunate to see J.B. Holmes alone in 118th position (out of 120) at 10 over par 82, it would take more than a career day to salvage that and stick around for the weekend. If the cut were made today I would place it around T67 which would leave out some big names like JB, Vijay, Padraig Harrington and Sean O’Hair just to name a few struggling. Most of those players still have an opportunity tomorrow, right now T67 is 2 over although that will surely thin out and be closer to even par or 1 under by the end of round 2. Since ties count there are currently 17 players in the top 10, but that won’t be the case by the end of tomorrows round. Tiger was looking good but bogeys on 13 and 18 hurt his score, still he did have 5 birdies and he is the world’s number 1 player. We will have to wait and see if he can put together a bogey free round to make a run at the leader. Right now Luke Donald is in the driver’s seat and it is on his own shoulders if he can hang on to the lead.
Sources: The Golf Channel,
Opinions my own

Memorial Tournament

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

Inside the field: the Memorial Tournament

Tiger Woods, Zach Johnson, Steve Stricker, Geoff Ogilvy, Sean O’Hair, Kenny Perry, Nick Watney, Paul Casey, Padraig Harrington, Vijay Singh, Camilo Villegas, Dustin Johnson, Mark Wilson, Y.E. Yang, Brian Gay, Jerry Kelley, Carl Pettersson, Ernie Els, Tom Lehman, Ben Curtis, David Duval, Davis Love III Jim Furyk, Mark Brooks, Mark Calcavecchia, Mike Weir, Shaun Michael, Todd Hamilton, Jose Maria Olazabal, Daniel Chopra, Justin Rose, Luke Donald, Ian Poulter, Jason Day, Adam Scott, Martin Kaymer and Ryuji Imada are some of the players who have entered the tournament. Trevor Immelman and Brandt Snedeker were forced to withdraw after the deadline. Phil Mickelson will be back for the US Open kudos to him for putting family first over these past few weeks.

Inside the course: Muirfield Village Golf Club
Sometimes referred to as “Jack’s Place”
The original architect: Jack Nicklaus and Desmond Muirhead in 1974
Par is 72 and counting this years tournament 34 tour evens have been played at this venue. The course was ranked 5 out of 54 in difficulty for the PGA tour in 2008. It plays to 7,285 yards down from 7,366 in 2008. Grass is Bentgrass, Poa assua (tees), Bentgrass, zoysiagrass (fairways), Bentgrass (greens), Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, and fine fescue (rough). The Stimpmeter runs 13ft, there are 73 sand bunkers and 13 water hazards. The course record is 61 by John Huston in the 3rd round of the 1996 tournament. There have been 14 aces recorded in tournament history, 5 on the 4th, 4 on the 12th, 3 on the 16th and 2 on the 8th.

The most difficult hole in 2008 was 17 which was a revamped par 4 and one of Muirfield’s toughest tests. Trees to the right cause a blind approach from that side of the fairway. The rolling green is small and heavily bunkered and is fronted by a deep, rough-filled valley that can threaten the second shot off a short drive. 2008 saw 0 eagles, 34 birdies, 206 pars, 127 bogeys, 1 double or worse.
The easiest hole was 7 an exposed, elevated, bunker-lined, double-dogleg hole, reachable in two by only the longest hitters. A rough-grassed swale sweeps from the right in front of the green. Bunkers guard the front left and right, and rear right of the putting surface, which breaks severely off to the left towards a wooded ravine. Not an easy hole to birdie, but 2008 saw 7 eagles, 130 birdies, 188 pars, 57 bogeys, 8 doubles, 0 worse.

Course origins
Muirfield Village Golf Club was the dream and work of Jack Nicklaus. The land was acquired in 1966, but construction did not begin until July 28, 1972. The golf course is situated on 220 acres, which includes an 11-acre driving range. The course was officially dedicated on Memorial Day — May 27, 1974 — with an exhibition match between Nicklaus and Tom Weiskopf. Nicklaus scored a 6-under 66, which stood as the course record until 1979.
The 18-hole layout, selected by Golf Digest as No. 16 among “America’s 100 Greatest Courses,” played at 6,978 yards in its original form, but is 7,265 at present. It had 77 bunkers, now 73, and water can be a hazard on 13 holes. A Columbus Pro-Am on Aug. 11, 1975, was the first event held at Muirfield, and the first Memorial Tournament was played in May 1976. The course has also hosted the 1986 U.S. Junior Amateur, the 1987 Ryder Cup Matches, the USGA’s 1992 United States Amateur Championship, the 1995 Wendy’s Three-Tour Challenge and the 1998 Solheim Cup.
Tournament host Jack Nicklaus was the recipient of the 2005 GCSAA Old Tom Morris Award, GCSAA’s highest honor. Nicklaus received the award at the GCSAA Educational Conference and Inaugural Golf Industry Show in Orlando Feb. 7-12, 2005. –Source: Golf Course Superintendents Assocation of America

The Players Championship Final Round

Sunday, May 10th, 2009

Henrik Stenson wins the 2009 Players Championship in impressive style shooting 12 under par for the tournament. Starting the day T2 at 6 under par Henrik put on an imposing display today shooting a bogey free 6 under par 66 to win his biggest tournament ever. Alone in second place is Ian Poulter at 8 under par, T3 John Mallinger and Kevin Na, T5 Jim Furyk, Brian Davis and Ben Crane at 6 under, Tiger Woods takes the 8th spot at 5 under par, T9 Aaron Baddely, Vijay Singh, Tim Clark, David Toms and Alex Cejka at 4 under par to round out the top 10.

Alex Cejka bogeyed 1, 5, 6, 8, 12 & 13, had a double on 4 and a birdie on 10. His 7 over and Stenson’s 6 under combined for a 13 shot swing. What made Cejka disintegrate? It couldn’t have been pressure from Tiger since TW had 4 bogeys himself albeit tempered with 3 birdies. It makes little difference now, it’s just that not a soul on this planet had ever enjoyed a 5 stroke lead going into the final round at this tournament, then to throw it away, he took it like a man though. I didn’t see him throw any clubs or swear at nobody in particular throughout the day. How about Aaron Baddely and Vijay Singh coming back from T65 and T55 respectively to bring it in at T9, Bads started dead last alone in the first group off the tee this morning.

Final key stats for the tournament are: Scoring average Henrik Stenson at 69, field average was 72.69, Driving distance Bubba Watson 308.5 yards with the field averaging 286.3, Driving accuracy Jeff Klauk too the honor with 80.36% while the field averaged 63.11%, Brian Davis led in GIR with 72.22% and the field average was 61.2%, Scrambling was led by Ian Poulter at 83.87% with the field averaging 53.66% and Putting was led by Luke Donald with 25.75 and the field average was at 28.87. The toughest hole for the tournament was 14 and the easiest was 16.

Congratulations to Henrik Stenson. This is his second PGA Tour victory and the first in his last 27 starts. His first coming at the WGC Accenture Match Play in 2007, while he hasn’t won many he apparently likes the big ones. This round ranked as the fourth lowest final round by a Players Champion. Eclipsing Calvin Peete who also shot a 66 in the final round back in 1985, but Calvin only won by 3 strokes and Henrik won by four. While I didn’t expect Henrik to win this week, I did have him in my foursome in the fantasy league, the rest of my foursome didn’t fair as well. I can only start TW 7 more times and decided to save him this week, guess I should have used him but hindsight is always 20/20. Again congratulations to Mr. Stenson on a very fine performance indeed.

The Players Championship Round 3

Saturday, May 9th, 2009

Alex Cejka maintains his lead after three rounds of play. Shooting an even par round for a cumulative 11 under for the tournament, Alex enjoys a 5 shot lead heading into the final round Sunday. Six players are T2 at 6 under par, Tiger Woods, Retief Goosen, Jonathon Byrd, Ben Crane, Henrik Stenson and Ian Poulter. Brian Davis, John Mallinger and Kevin Na are all 5 under and round out the top ten at T8. Woody Austin and Kenny Perry shared the best rounds of the day with 68’s each moving from T61 to T11, 4 other players are tied in the 11th spot with Perry and Austin. The course played tougher today despite the favorable weather conditions. Angel Cabrera, Jason Dufner and David Toms each shot 5 over and took a considerable drop down the leaderboard. Charley Hoffman, Jeev M. Singh and Aaron Baddely each shot 4 over. Several players were at 3 over and despite his T2 status Ian Poulter has to be disappointed having lost 3 shots to the leader. The following made the cut but did not finish, after the third round they were over 218, my understanding is that it constitutes a cut after the cut; Robert Karlsson, Hunter Mahan, Martin Laird, Nathan Greene, KJ Choi, Stewart Cink, Bob Estes, Fred Funk, Graeme McDowell, Steve Marino, Dustin Johnson and Rod Pampling.

Key stats for the tournament to date are Alex Cejka leading in scoring average with 68.33 the field average is 72.54, Bubba Watson leads in driving distance at 305.5 with the field average at 285.8, Alex Cejka also leads in driving accuracy at 83.33% the field average is 63.08, Brian Davis leads in GIR at 77.78% while the field is averaging 61,32%, Ian Poulter leads in scrambling at 81.82% and the field average is 54.04%, Charley Hoffman leads in putting with 25.33 putts and the field average is 28.78. The toughest hole remains 14 this year and the easiest has been 16. The island green at 17 has played the easiest it has played in 12 years. I noticed the rough caught several balls near the pylons that were headed for the drink, whether that is thicker or taller than in past years I can’t say, but balls that would have surely been wet in the past couple years were getting caught in the rough.

Since Tiger was the first in at 6 under, he will be paired with Cejka in the final group, they will tee off at 2:25, Goosen and Byrd will tee off at 2:14, Crane and Stenson at 2:03, Poulter and Davis at 1:52, Mallinger and Na at 1:41 and the Perry/Austin group will tee off at 1:30. The 1:30 group could be an interesting one to watch. A lot will be made of the intimidation factor with Tiger being in the final group with Cejka during the telecast. If Tiger is to come back and win this thing, he needs to hit his fairways, if he does that he may in fact pressure Cejka into mistakes. If he doesn’t hit his fairways and Cejka does I’d say Cejka has it in the bag. Don’t get me wrong a 5 shot lead is by no means secure and I was a little disappointed in Alex’s play in that I thought he started laying up way too soon. It was like from 13 on he was just playing it safe or playing not to lose but there is still a day left to play. Tiger came back from 5 shots down to defeat Sean O’Hair just a couple weeks back and he can do it again, but he had help from O’Hair in that win whether or not that was the intimidation factor or not is left up to each of us to decide on our own. Just saying, Alex, make him earn it if he is to win, play your game, keep it in the short grass and aim for the pins, if you do that you can win the biggest game of your career.

The Players Championship Round 2

Friday, May 8th, 2009

Alex Cjeka has taken the lead by 2 strokes over his nearest competitor; he sets at 11 under par shooting rounds of 66/67. Ian Poulter is alone in 2nd place at 9 under par with rounds of 67/68. At T3 are Kevin Na, Angel Cabrera, Jason Dufner, John Mallinger, Henrik Stenson and David Toms. Na and Cabrera made significant strides up the leaderboard today shooting 6 and 7 under respectively. Four players round out the top ten at T9, those being Ben Crane, Richard S. Johnson, Tim Petrovic and Jeff Overton.

Key stats are Alex Cejka scoring average 66.5 with the field averaging 72.2, J.B. Holmes driving distance at 305.8 with the field average at 284.9, Michael Allen leads in driving accuracy at 85.71% with the field is averaging 63.83%, Steve Stricker leads in Greens in Regulation with 83.33% while the field average is 63.02%, Ryan Moore in scrambling with 85.71% and the field average a mere 54.3% and lastly Kevin Na led in putting with 24.5 putts and the field averaging 28.81. So far the easiest hole has been 14 while the hardest has been 16.

In the disappointment category is Anthony Kim who shot 10 over par today to end at 11 over for his two rounds of this tournament, astoundingly last years Masters Champion Trevor Immelman matched that feet and his Players Championship run is also over this year. Some of the other players missing the cut include: Rory Sabbatini, Rory McIlroy, Freddy Couples, Y.E. Yang, J.B. Holmes, Sean O’Hair, Charlie Wi, Lucas Glover, Vaughn Taylor, Ross Fisher, Davis Love III, Stuart Appleby, D.J. Trahan, Charles Howell III, Will MacKenzie, Adam Scott and Jerry Kelly. I was somewhat surprised the cut remained at even par. That leaves 83 players with 23 of them tied in 61st position. The tour has made efforts to keep the cut as close to 70 players as possible. They have in the past not let some of the players who technically make the cut play on Saturday and Sunday. Be interesting to see what they do with it.

For the Tiger Woods fans he is setting 7 strokes back at 4 under par T22 and for the Phil Mickelson fans he is T61 at even par 11 strokes off the pace. Some of the players who have been struggling of late that made the cut include Ernie Els, Padraig Harrington, Vijay Singh, Sergio Garcia, Jeev M. Singh, KJ Choi and Stewart Cink. It would not be unheard of to make up 11 strokes in two days, but it sure is a long row to hoe.

The Players Championship Round 1

Friday, May 8th, 2009

Ben Crane leads the way shooting a 65, just two shots off the course record. Alex Cjeka, John Mallinger and Richard S. Johnson are T2 with rounds of 66. Nine players are T5 to round out the top 10, those being Camilo Villegas, Brad Adamonis, Ian Poulter, David Toms, Retief Goosen, Scott Verplank, Jonathon Byrd, Jason Dufner and Bubba Watson. Tiger Woods is 1 under with a 71 and Phil Mickelson is 1 over with a 73. The projected cut after round 1 is even par.

The talk amongst the players is to expect to see more low scores today as the winds are supposed to be minimal again. Even with the favorable weather conditions 89 balls found their way into water hazards on day 1. Ben Crane led the way in scoring average and putting (65 with 22 putts), Bubba Watson in driving distance (318), Jason Bohn in driving accuracy (92.86%), Martin Laird in GIR (88.89%) and John Mallinger in scrambling (an impressive 100%). There were 57 players under par and 17 players are T58 at even par.

The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

The stadium course at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL would be the third leg of my dream golf excursion, one and two being Augusta and St. Andrews. Some think it should be the fifth major, I won’t go that far myself being somewhat of a tradionalist I like the status quo just the way it is, thank you very much. The fact that it really stands alone makes it unique, the players want to be there, it is their tournament although many are on record as not particularly liking the course and I believe it is because the course outshines the stars.

The course is a Pete Dye design, originally in 1979 and re-designed in 2006. In its current configuration it plays 7,215 yards. The course was ranked 6th in difficulty in 2008 on the PGA Tour. There are 93 sand bunkers, 24 water hazards and the greens run 12 on the stimpmeter. Tees and fairways are 419 bermudgrass, the rough is bermudagrass and the greens are mini-verde bermudagrass. There have been 24 aces recorded 10 at 13, 6 at 17, 5 at 8, and 3 at 3. The course record is 63 shared by Freddy Couples in the 3rd round of 1992 and Greg Norman in the 1st round of 1994. In last years tournament the easiest hole was the 16th a short par 5 that enjoyed 5 eagles, 188 birdies, 195 pars, 35 bogeys, and 4 doubles. The hardest was the 18th a wicked dogleg where accuracy is paramount. It saw 0 eagles, 31 birdies, 202 pars, 146 bogeys, 40 doubles and 8 triples or worse. The most famed hole is the 17th the signature hole at Sawgrass that has had 312 balls dropped into the water around the island green in the past five year’s, it is a wedge for most of the professionals and only plays 137 yards

Televised coverage provided by the Golf Channel Thursday and Friday 9-7 and on NBC Saturday and Sunday from 2-7.

Quail Hollow Championship Final Round 2009

Sunday, May 3rd, 2009

It wasn’t Zach Jonson who started the day with the lead, nor was it Tiger Woods who CBS had billed has the biggest threat to Johnson at the beginning of their telecast. But lack of excitement was no problem at Quail Hollow today. At one point 5 players shared the lead, it was a hard charging Sean O’Hair who walked away victorious today 11 under par for the tournament. After a bogey on 2 O’Hair settled down putting together 6 birdies and headed to 17 at 13 under par, bogeys on 17 and 18 wasn’t enough to drop him from the lead and he held on for his second win of the season and vaulted into 3rd place in Fed-Ex cup points. Bubba Watson and Lucas Glover were T2 at 10 under. Tiger Woods was alone in 4th who despite overcoming a couple bad drives on the front and pulling back to even par, never got his putter going today. Rounding out the top 10 at T5 were Phil Mickelson, Jonathan Byrd, Tim Petrovic, Ted Purdy, Ian Poulter and Jason Dufner. Mickelson put together a fine round of 67 today but that wasn’t enough to overcome his poor showing on Saturday. Zach Johnson was 4 over par at 76 today, a triple on 2 hurt him badly followed by a bogey on 3 after which he seemed to calm down and had back to back birdies on 4 and 5 but two more bogeys down the stretch, ending up in a 7 way tie for 11th.

Sean O’Hair was 7th in driving distance at 312.6 yards, T3 in GIR with an even 75% and 31st in putting at 1.778, his scoring average 69.25 the rest of the field averaged 72.42. Bubba Watson led in driving distance falling off some but still averaging 331.6 with the field average at 299.8, he also led the field in greens in regulation at 76.39% while the field average was 64.61%. Will MacKenzie led in driving accuracy at 69.64% with the field average at 46.14%. Lucas Glover led in scrambling at 82.76% with the field averaging 53.94% and he also led in putting with 26.75 and the rest of field at 29.75.

With the pin set back 17 was playing 225 yards today, most of the players seemed to be opting for 4 and 5 irons and bailing to the right but that left them with a near impossible chip to get over the hill and then with the green slanted toward the water it got very fast leaving them a long up hill putt, that is what caused most of the bogeys there today. PGA Tour still listed 18th as the toughest hole but 17 nearly took that dubious honor today.

Congratulations to young Mr. Sean O’Hair on a very fine performance today.

Quail Hollow Championship Round 3 2009

Saturday, May 2nd, 2009

With just 4 players left on the course play was suspended due to the approaching storm in Charlotte. The PGA Tour has to play it safe whenever lightning is in the area and at approximately 5:50 PM they blew the horn to suspend play. Johnson and McNeil have pegs in the ground on 18 while Goosen and Watson finished on 17 but have yet to tee off on 18. The lead stands thus at this point, Zach Johnson leading at 11 under par, George McNeil in 2nd at 10 under, Lucas Glover and Tiger Woods are T3 at 9 under, Brendon DeJonge, Sean O’Hair, Retief Goosen and Bubba Watson T5 at 8 under, Y.E. Yang, David Toms, Ross Fisher, Davis Love III and Jason Dufner are T9 at 7 under par.

McNeil has 135 yards with his 3rd having caught his shot fat coming out of the bunker on 18, however even if he bogeys he will still play in the last group with Johnson, if he doubles the last group would most likely be Zach Johnson and Tiger Woods, generally on ties the tour goes by first in first out for pairings. Of course it is possible that Bubba or Retief will birdie 18 in which case one of them would be in the last group if McNeil gets the double. I think he will be fine, probably choke up on a pitching wedge to leave him a little bit below the hole and make his par when play resumes. I suspect the pairings will be Johnson/McNeil, Woods/Glover, Goosen/Watson, and DeJonge/O’Hair.

The lead did change hands a few times throughout the day, starting out with Watson/Goosen, but Woods, McNeil and Zach Johsnon all head the lead alone at times while at one point there was a four way tie at the top with McNeil, Johnson, Woods and Glover all at 10 under. Woods bogeyed 17 and 18 getting bit by the green mile yet again today. Young Danny Lee in only his 2nd tournament as a professional was 5 under on his round, 9 under for the tournament going into 17 but a nasty double bogey on 17 and a bogey on 18 dropped him to 6 under for the tournament standing at T14, pretty good showing regardless in my opinion. It was disappointing for Phil Mickelson and Jeff Maggert today as they dropped from T7 to T30 both shooting rounds of 3 over par 75 today. Very unlike Phil with a wedge in his hand from the bunker at 10, to not get out once but twice then running his putt past the hole and having to settle for a double bogey 7.

Zach Johnson stats are not official until the end of the round, currently Lucas Glover is shown as the leader in scoring average with a 69, once Zach finishes his round that will change unless of course he has a meltdown, stranger things have happened on the PGA Tour, however he is averaging 293.5 yards off the tee (61st), 73.6% greens in regulation (T4) and 1.69 putting (3rd). Bubba Watson continues to lead in driving distance at 337.2 while the field is averaging 299.9. Will MacKenzie leads in driving accuracy at 73.81% with the field at 46.77%. Jason Dufner leads in GIR with 75.93% hit while the field average is 64.43%. Lucas Glover leads in scrambling at 83.36% the field average is at 53.85% and Kent Jones leads in putting needing only 26 putts while the field average is 29.79. The toughest and easiest holes remain 18 and 15 respectively; a change from last year as 17 was the toughest. I believe that 18 has been the hardest hole all weekend.

With the storms in the area and the darkened skies I would take a guess that unless play can resume by 7 PM they will just wait until tomorrow, weather permitting. The rain is still over the metro Charlotte area on radar, tomorrow’s forecast is for scattered thunderstorms.

Quail Hollow Championship Round 2 2009

Friday, May 1st, 2009

Bubba Watson and Retief Goosen share the lead after round at 8 under par. Tiger woods was 9 under going into the final three holes but bogeys on 16 and 18 left him at even par for the day, 1 shot back at 7 under. Zach Johnson, Jim Furyk and George McNeil share the T3 spot with Woods. Zach Johnson and Jim Furyk were both on fire today, Johnson toying with a course record shooting 8 under par heading into the final three holes but bogeys on 16, 17 and 18 brought down to 5 under on the day, Furyk had 6 birdies and an eagle but bogeyed 2 and 17 for 6 under on his round. Furyk may have moved up farthest on the leaderboard as he moved from T43 to T3. Rounding out the top ten were Camilo Villegas, Phil Mickelson, Jason Dufner and Jeff Maggert all 2 shots back at 6 under for the championship. Villegas moved up from T43 to T7 the rest of that group tied for 7th dropped slightly down the leaderboard. The next bunch drop out of the top 10 at T11 with Steve Marino, Lucas Glover, AK, Robert Karlsson, Davis Love III and Ted Purdy all 3 shots back at 5 under for the championship. Marino and Glover dropped down the leaderboard with the other 4 players all moving up from T20 to the tied 11th spot.

Bubba Watson stats were impressive in that he not only led the field in driving distance at 337.5 yards but also led the field in GIR, hitting 80.6% of his greens in regulation and he led the field in scoring average at 68. His putting is at 1.69 where he stands alone at 16th. The rest of the field is averaging 72.47 in scoring, 298.8 off the tee and 64.73% greens in regulation. Martin Kaymer led the field in scrambling at 91.67% with the rest of the field averaging 53.73% and Bo Van Pelt leads in putting at 25.5 with the field averaging 29.86. Scoring wise the toughest hole today was the 18th while the easiest was the 15th.

Some of the players missing the cut were Stewart Cink, Ben Crane, Johnson Wagner, Nick O’Hern, Woody Austin, Kirk Triplett, Angel Cabrera, Rory Sabbatini, Chris DeMarco, Padraig Harrington, Ryuji Imada, Steve Elkington, KJ Choi, Aaron Baddely, David Duval, Vaughn Taylor, Sergio Garcia, Vijay Singh, Jason Gore, Jeev M Singh and Stuart Appleby.

Pairings for the top 10 Saturday are Watson and Goosen at 1:50, Johnson and McNeil at 1:40, Woods and Furyk at 1:30, Villegas and Mickelson at 1:20, with Dufner and Maggert at 1:10.

It is a tight leaderboard so it should be an interesting moving day Saturday. I’m still pulling for a Tiger/Phil showdown on Sunday.

Quail Hollow Championship Round 1 2009

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

Tiger Woods shot a bogey free 7 under par 65 to take a two shot lead over Phil Mickelson, Robert Allenby, Jason Dufner and Steve Marino all at 5 under par 67.
The scorecards of Mickelson and Allenby were bogey free as well, Phil with 3 birdies and an eagle (on 7) and Allenby with 5 birdies, Marino had one bogey with 6 birdies to his credit while Jason Dufner had 3 bogeys but did make 8 birdies. At T6 and 4 under par are Jeff Maggert, Retief Goosen, Hunter Mahan and Lucas Glover. Ten players are tied for tenth at 3 under par, those include; Bo Van Pelt, Nick O’Hern, Steve Flesch, Jeff Klauk, Charles Warren, Sean O’Hair, Mark Calcavecchia, Bill Haas, George McNeil and Cliff Kresge.

Woods driving average is 297.5 and is T78 in driving distance, his Putts per GIR 1.571 where he is T7 and his Greens in Regulation 77.8% where he is T18, being the leader he is leading the field in scoring with a 65, field average is 72.18, he is also leading the field in scrambling an impressive 100% with the field average being 54.36%. Bubba Watson leads the field in driving distance at 337.5 (no surprise there) the field average is 298.2. David Mathis leads the field in driving accuracy at 85.71% the field average is 47.15%. Kevin Streelman leads the field in GIR at 88.89% with the field averaging 68.34% hitting their greens in regulation. Steve Flesch leads in putting with 25 while the field is averaging 30.35. The old adage drive for show and putt for dough is as true in the pro ranks as it is for your weekend scrambles.

Several players need to turn it up a notch if they are to make the cut after today’s performance. Padraig Harrington, Steve Elkington, Adam Scott, Trevor Immelman, Justin Rose, JB Holmes, Kirk Triplett, Jason Gore, DJ Trahan, Vijay Singh, Jeev M Singh, David Duvall, and Ryuji Imada all are in need of an under par round tomorrow if they want to play over the weekend.

The shot of the day had to belong to Phil Mickelson with his chip at 7 for eagle, I can’t fathom how he gets the spin to put the brakes on with those low trajectory chip shots he pulls out of his bag on a routine basis. Any faster and it would have careened off the pin and any slower and it would have come up short. Guess that is why he can sell his short game secrets videos for $49.95 on

Will the stars continue to shine tomorrow? I would expect an exciting round of golf Friday. Saturday and Sunday for that matter, since the golf world didn’t get the Le Tigre/Lefty showdown at the Masters (well we did get the mini version, but not for whole enchilada) it could be coming this weekend for all the marbles.

Quail Hollow Club 2009

Monday, April 27th, 2009

The PGA Tour heads to Charlotte, North Carolina for the Quail Hollow Championship. Televised coverage will be on the Golf Channel Thursday and Friday and on CBS Saturday and Sunday.

Original architect: Pete Dye (2003)
Par is 72
Ranked 32 out of 54 in difficulty
Plays to 7,341 yards (reduced from 7,520)
Grass is TifSport bermudagrass (tees, fairways, greens, rough)
71 Sand bunkers, 5 Water hazards and greens run 11 on the stimpmeter
Course record is 64 shared by Kirk Triplett (2004), Bo Van Pelt (2006) and Rory Sabbatini (2007)
One ace has been recorded in tournament history at the 6th hole by Jay Williamson in 2008
The most difficult hole is the par 3, 217 yard 17th. In 2008 it saw zero eagles, 31 birdies, 260 pars, 146 bogeys, 18 doubles and 14 at triple or worse. This is Quail Hollows signature hole, nearly an island that does forces players to carry the ball 200 yards to clear the water. The shot will also need to be faded to settle the ball on a precariously perched, back-to-front and right-to-left sloping green.
The easiest hole is the par 5, 566 yard 15th. In 2008 it saw 7 eagles, 203 birdies, 234 pars, 72 bogeys, 3 doubles and zero triples or worse. Water hazards to the right and left of the fairway where accuracy and caution is the order of the day. Most of the professionals will have little trouble on this hole.

Some of the biggest names in golf will be playing this week including; Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia, Geoff Ogilvy, Padraig Harrington, Vijay Singh, Camilo Villegas, Nick Watney, Zach Johnson, Brian Gay, Sean O’Hair, Retief Goosen, Pat Perez, Angel Cabrera, Dustin Johnson, Jerry Kelly, Steve Elkington, Trevor Immelman, Ben Curtis, David Duvall, Rich Beem, Jim Furyk, David Toms, Davis Love III, Todd Hamilton, Mark Calcavecchia, Justin Rose, Jeev M. Singh, Ryuji Imada, Y.E. Chang, KJ Choi, Rory Sabbatini and Robert Karlsson are just a some of the players. Four late withdrawals after the deadline for various reasons; Brandt Snedeker, Alex Cejka, Dudley Hart and Arjun Atwal if you were looking for any of those four players you maybe disappointed. This is normally a fun tournament to watch. The 17th hole in particular has the players can go from hero to zero in one swing of the club. At 217 yards the players need a club with enough loft and the fade to hold the green. I would need a four iron just to get there and that would definitely run right through the green and end up in the drink.

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.

The Masters – Round 1 2009

Thursday, April 9th, 2009

They wanted to bring the roars back to Augusta and they did it in a big way, off to a record start with 38 players under par. Chad Campbell leads the way at 7 under but the impressive round of the day belongs to Jim Furyk who hit every green in regulation and played a bogey free round. Furyk and Hunter Mahan are T2 at 6 under par; Larry Mize and Shingo Katayama are T4 at 5 under par. John Merrick, Aaron Baddely, Todd Hamilton, Kenny Perry, Sean O’Hair, Tim Clark, Angel Cabrera and Mike Weir are all at 4 under tied for 6th. Seven players are T14 at 3 under that includes Graeme McDowell, Ross Fisher, Prayad Marksaeng, Andres Romero, Stewart Cink, Kevin Sutherland and Padraig Harrington. At 2 under par T21 are Lee Westwood, Greg Norman, Bernhard Langer, Nick Watney, the mechanic Miguel Angel Jiminez, Tiger Woods and Zach Johnson.

The projected cut is the lowest 44 scores and ties plus those players within 10 shots of the leader. The groups will remain the same tomorrow as they were today, the only difference being those who went out in the morning will go out in the afternoon and those who went out in the afternoon will go out in the morning. That may actually favor the groups who will be playing Friday morning as the winds are predicted to pick up on Friday afternoon.

Several story lines are being bandied about on the Golf Channel and ESPN. The young guys versus the old guys, Tiger and Phil, can Chad Campbell hold onto the lead, and will Jeff Ogilvy break the Aussie draught? As for me I’m just glad the course was set up to accommodate the lower scores and the weather is predicted to be reasonable this year. Don’t get me wrong, it is great to see Greg Norman and Bernhard Langer in the mix, it is great to see three teenagers in the field, Tiger is five strokes behind the leader and he has never had a sub 70 round in round 1 at the Masters, and even though Phil is one over we know what he is capable of, Chad Campbell has won the tour championship even though he is streaky at times he still can win and of all the Aussie’s out there this week Jeff Ogilvy is definitely playing the better golf so far this year. Golf tournaments and particularly majors are not won on Thursday, it’s two days to make the cut to play on the weekend and two more days to accumulate the lowest score in a four day stretch. It takes consistency and more than a little bit of luck to don the green jacket.

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.

The Masters – Facts and Trivia

Monday, April 6th, 2009

It is finally upon us, in my opinion the most anticipated golf tournament of the year. The Masters, the hallowed ground of Augusta National, I thought it would be appropriate to start the week off with a few facts and a little trivia about the course and history of the first major of the year, something we just simply call – The Masters.

This will be the 73rd Masters tournament. April 9-12, 2009 at the Augusta National Golf Club, course length is 7,435 yards, par is 72, 36 out and 36 in. Television coverage will be provided by ESPN Thursday-Friday, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., and by CBS Sports Saturday, 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday, 2:30 to 7 p.m. The field is comprised of 96 players, 5 of whom are amateurs. Defending champion is Trevor Immelman.
Ten years ago: Jose Maria Olazabal held off Greg Norman on the back nine to win his second Masters.
Twenty-five years ago: Ben Crenshaw holed a 60-foot putt on the 10th hole and went on to his first of two Masters Titles.
Fifty years ago: Art Wall became the only Masters champion to start the final round out of the top 10.

Tiger Woods, who last won a green jacket in 2005, has never gone more than three years without winning the Masters since he won his first green jacket in 1997.
This year’s field has three teenagers – 17-year-old Ryo Ishikawa, 18-year-old Danny Lee and 19-year-old Rory McIlroy. provides one hour of coverage each day before the telecast. That includes live video of Amen Corner starting at 10:45 a.m. Thursday and Friday, 12:45 p.m. on Saturday, 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, live video of the 15th and 16th holes starting at 11 a.m. Thursday and Friday, and 1 p.m. on Saturday and noon on Sunday.

Fun numbers
Gary Player earned $313,162 making 51 appearances while Mark Hensby earned $304,500 in just two appearances.
$500—Room rate for the Augusta Marriott Hotel & Suites the Monday of the Masters.
$179—Room rate for the Augusta Marriott Hotel & Suites the Monday after the Masters.
$200—Cost of a Masters ticket for all four rounds.
$36—Ticket price for the practice round on Monday or Tuesday.

Jack Nicklaus has played 163 rounds and made 506 career birdies at the Masters.
0-Bunkers found on the 14th hole.
1-Number of years it took Fuzzy Zoeller to win the Masters.
$1.50—Cost of a pimiento cheese sandwich.
2-Gene Sarazen’s score on the par-5 15th hole in the 1935 Masters.
3-Bridges at Augusta National.
4-Tom Weiskopf’s runner-up finishes at the Masters.
5-Largest first-round lead, by Craig Wood in 1941.
6-Green jackets won by Jack Nicklaus
$6.25—Cost of a Masters club sandwich, beer and potato chips.
7-Consecutive birdies made by Tiger Woods in 2005 and Steve Pate in 1999.
8-Largest final-round comeback to win the Masters, by Jack Burke Jr. in 1956.
9-Jack Nicklaus’ margin of victory over Arnold Palmer and Gary Player in 1965.
10-Cabins at Augusta National where members can stay.
11-Players who have made an ace on the 16th hole.
12-Tiger Woods’ margin of victory in 1997.
13-The score taken by Tom Weiskopf on the par-3 12th hole in the 1980 Masters.
21-Age of Tiger Woods when he won his first Masters.
40-Tiger Woods’ first nine holes as a professional.
42-Fewest players in the field, in 1938 and 1942.
109-Most players in the field, in 1962.
61-Number of Magnolia trees on the road that leads to the Augusta National clubhouse.
1,600-Azaleas on the 13th hole.
72-Lowest score ever shot by Bobby Jones in the Masters.
63-Lowest 18-hole score, by Nick Price and Greg Norman
97-Gene Sarazen’s age when he hit the ceremonial first tee shot for the last time.
70-Age of Charles Coody when he made a hole-in-one in the Par 3 Contest.
270-Lowest 72-hole score, by Tiger Woods in 1997.
235-Yards to the 15th hole when Gene Sarazen made double eagle in 1935 with a 4-wood.
Arnold Palmer competed in 50 Masters Tournaments.
Jack Nicklaus won his final Maters tournament at the age of 46.

WGC Championships – CA Championship Wrap up

Sunday, March 15th, 2009

Phil Mickelson made a statement in a big way by winning the WGC Championship – CA Championship this weekend. It was his first WGC Championship victory, it was the first time he has ever been able to close the deal at Doral, it was the first time any professional golfer (out of some 3600) that ever managed to win a tournament at Doral by shooting four sub 70 rounds, the victory moved him to second place in Fed-Ex Cup points and he vaulted past Sergio Garcia to claim 2nd place in the World Golf Rankings and closer to Tiger Woods than he has ever been. That is a big weekend for anybody but, considering the fact that he was dehydrated, hadn’t eaten much in three days and had to have IVs due to the dehydration after the third round is really phenomenal.

Nick Watney turned in a very solid performance for 2nd place. He can what if, and if it wasn’t for all he wants, he too has made a big statement this weekend. 2nd place on the biggest stage of his career is pretty darn good. Watney finished one shot back with a 270. Jim Furyk finished 3 shots back with a 272 ironically enough his four rounds at Doral this weekend were also sub 70 rounds it wasn’t enough though. Jeev M. Singh finished alone in fourth with a 274 effort; his highest finish at any PGA Tour event even though he has won several times on the Asian and European tours. Oliver Wilson and Camilo Villegas were T5 shooting 275, Thomas Aiken and Soren Kjeldson were T7 with a 276 and rounding out the top ten were four players at T9 including Tiger Woods, Rod Pampling, Kenny Perry and Justin Leonard.

I actually found myself agreeing with Johnny Miller, after Phil’s tee shot on 18 a fan yelled out “Go in the water” that is just uncalled for and whether a fan supports a player or not, behavior like that is rude and unsportsmanlike. Golf is a game of sportsmanship and integrity; it’s great to see the fans show emotion but do so with aplomb and dignity. Speaking of sportsmanship the post game interviews with Nick Watney and Phil Mickelson were a very good example of that. While Watney was obviously displeased with his performance today he didn’t make excuses and took his lumps like a man. Phil had nothing but praise for his competitors, acknowledged the fact that he didn’t pay much attention to Watney’s shots due to his ill health but still found a couple Atta boys for him and when pushed about vaulting to number two and being closer to Tiger than ever before said that was great, but Tiger is still the best golfer who has ever been and that he had been off for nearly a year. He has definitely found something, I have no doubt he wants to be number one but at the same time he wants to earn it. His sights are set on Augusta in April and make no mistake his desire and determination at this point make him a contender like never before. Whether or not that will carry him to another green jacket can and will be debated until then. I’d be pumped for another Tiger/Lefty showdown and where better than Augusta?