2005 MASTERS -
MASTERS OFF TO A SLOPPY START - April 7, 2005 -
My goodness, this weather is unrelenting! Once again, Mother Nature
has shown an ugly face and dampened spirits, this time at Augusta.
The first round of The Masters suffered through a five and one-half
rain delay. After getting underway in the afternoon most of the
field was still on the course when play was suspended at approximately
7:20 PM. In spite of the dark gray skies and soggy conditions several
of the world’s top players got off to a good start. Chris
Dimarco leads with a four under score through 14 holes playing on
the front side when play was suspended. Three of the Fantastic Five
are tied at minus two;. Number five ranked Retief Goosen, fourth
ranked Phil Mickelson and number one in the world, Vijay Singh.
Second ranked Tiger Woods was plus two through twelve holes having
started on 10 and third ranked Ernie Els as at plus three through
11 also starting on the back side.
USA/CBS covered Tiger Woods ad nauseam as they insisted on showing
his every shot even at a struggling plus two and then covering his
walk between holes while we waited as much as 20 minutes to see
the other top players in the world hit a shot. When will the television
media learn that there are others in golf that viewers want to watch
besides Tiger. Quite frankly gentleman, I don’t think this
tournament was named for Tiger Woods. He is a great player but he
is not the only player in the world of golf. In my opinion this
over-exposure is not in Tiger's best interest.
The first round will resume on Friday, weather permitting, at 9:45
AM. Some of the leading and best known golfers and their scores
Player Versus Par Holes Played
C. Dimarco -4 5*
L. Donald -3 5*
R. Goosen -2 13
P. Mickelson -2 11
V. Singh -2 11
S. Appleby -2 11
P. Harrington E 14
S. Cink E 13
A. Scott E 11
T. Woods +2 12*
E. Els +3 11*
J. Nicklaus +4 12
J. Daly +4 11*
Former champion Billy Casper shot 106 which included a 14 at the
par 3, 16th.
*Started on back nine
GOD WILLING AND THE CREEK DON'T RISE - April 8,
2005 - Well, if God is willing and Rae's Creek don't rise too much,
the 2005 version of The Masters will get going again on Saturday.
The rain and thunder bumpers have severely interrupted play so that
only a few holes were completed today, Friday, April 8th, 2005.
Most of the field was attempting to finish their first 18 while
only a small number teed off on their second round dodging puddles
of water and lightning strikes. So this mumbo-jumbo affair of stop
and go, stop and go competition seems similar to each of the preceding
weeks on tour. Not much was accomplished today as the day was pretty
much a wash out.
Here are the leaders thus far: Englishmen David Howell and Luke
Donald are at minus five. Howell has played 26 holes while Donald,
the Northwestern University graduate, has only completed 20 holes.
Chris Dimarco dropped another shot against par and is at minus five
through 19 completed holes. Other leaders include Vijay Singh at
four under through 18 holes, Mark Hensby and Stuart Appleby, both
Australians, at minus three. Hensby has completed 25 holes while
Appleby has played 18 holes. Kirk Triplett got hot on his second
18 and is two under through 26 and five under on the day. Mickelson
has completed his first round and waits at two under through 18.
Other members of the Fantastic Five are Retief Goosen at even par
through 21 holes, Tiger Woods who stands plus two after 19 holes
and Ernie Els who is plus three after 18.
The plan for Saturday is to resume play at 8:30 in the morning,
complete round two, make the cut and then begin round three in mid-afternoon.
Weather forecasts for Saturday look much better so it appears the
field can catch up and finish the third round before Sunday. It
is much too early to get a feel for how things are developing but
you have to be impressed by young Luke Donald who is at minus five.
If you remember, he finished a strong second two weeks ago at the
THE SUNSHINES AND TIGER LURKS - April 9, 2005 - Tiger Woods
is charging with nine hole scores of 33, 33, and 31 to post -11
through his 27 holes today at Augusta National on a day when the
sun came out and shown brightly to erase the memory of the first
two days of darkness and rain. His magnificent play at The Masters
allowed him to gain significantly on the field and second round
leader, Chris Dimarco, in particular. But...Dimarco is not surrendering
as he played 27 holes at minus eight. So we have a shootout, but
not between the Fantastic Five, but between Dimarco at -13, Tiger
Woods at -9 and Thomas Bjorn at -8. Number one ranked, Vijay Singh,
finished the day at -4 while fourth ranked, Mickelson, is hanging
in at three under but with a real challenge left over the final
26 holes. Other members of the top five ranked players, Els and
Goosen have seemingly played their way out of the tournament. With
scoring made easier with the soft greens and warm temperatures the
number of golfers under par on Saturday doubled from nine to 18.
So can Dimarco stay on top? Last year he played in the last pairing
with Mickelson and went four over to let a great opportunity slip
away. Chris is a passionate competitor. He cherishes the head to
head match-ups at events like the Presidents Cup, the Ryder's Cup
and the majors. He is not someone to dismiss easily. He can play!
So let's see if he can hang in and whip a charging Tiger Woods.
Singh and Mickelson have an outside chance but they must go low
over 27 holes. Keep in mind that everyone has to play the back nine
twice tomorrow. That means they each have a chance at the eagle
prone, par fives (13 & 15) on the back side, twice. So watch
out, as anything can happen. To me, it looks like Tiger just might
win his fourth green jacket but I am certainly not rooting against
Jack Nicklaus tearfully waved to his fans as he closed out round
two in a manner indicating this was the end. He later announced
he just could not compete at Augusta any longer and was retiring
from competitive golf. He said the course was just too long for
him, now at age 65. He will be sorely missed. As Lanny Watkins put
it on CBS, "hearing Jack say he is retiring makes me feel old".
Don't we all, Lanny, don't we all.
TIGER TAKES FOURTH MASTERS TITLE - April 10, 2005
- Tiger Woods fought off a face-off with Chris Dimarco in the final
round and sank a 15 foot birdie putt on the first place off hole
to win his fourth green jacket and his ninth major title and he
did so at the age of 29.
Tiger played the third round at 65 to take the lead finishing Sunday
morning. In sculpting his third round Tiger managed to birdie an
incredible seven consecutive holes. He played holes seven through
13 at seven under par which catapulted him into the lead as Dimarco
was struggling to a five over back nine (41) in the morning hours.
The final 18 had Dimarco and Woods paired together in the last group
and these two pretty much ran off by themselves for the remainder
of the day. Over the last 18, Tiger managed a one under 71 while
Dimarco challenged with a strong finish and a 68 to tie Woods at
minus 12. The door was opened by Tiger to allow Dimarco to catch
him by posting bogies at the last two holes. On 18, Tiger missed
a 11 foot putt for par while Chris makes a par putt after chipping
close from below the front of the green. Off to a sudden death playoff
replaying the 18th.
This time Chris came up short of the green again from the fairway
on his second and Tiger nailed his eight iron approach to within
12 feet. Dimarco hit a terrific chip again from in front to within
a tap-in range. Tiger, after stalking the hole from every angle,
finally hit his putt softly and watched as it rolled over the lip
for the win. Tiger and his caddie Steve celebrated, as usual, with
fist pumps and high fives.
My hat is off to Chris Dimarco for the way he battled and especially
over the last nine holes. He was unrelenting in his pursuit of a
green jacket but it was just not to be. For the second year in a
row he has been in the final pairing on Sunday only to watch someone
else take the big prize. You have to think that this man will eventually
win himself a Masters or a major title somewhere in the world. He
is a fighter and has the intestinal fortitude, and game, to battle
any of the world's great golfers.
What can you say about Tiger Woods? He has rebuilt his swing and
worked hard to get back to the top after a couple of years in repose.
The shot he hit on 16 this PM will go down as one of the great shots
of all time. If you missed it you'll see a replay, I promise. He
just has that extra something deep down inside that is necessary
to become one of the games greats. It is almost as if Tiger was
miffed at all the hoopla about the "Big Four" or the "Fantastic
Five" and he wanted to show the world of golf who is the real
boss, who is number one...and he is number one, once again. One
thing for sure is the world of golf has some really great players
going at each other week after week. We will see over the coming
months if the top players in the world are still capable of combating
a "new" Tiger Woods. Isn't this great entertainment?
Of the top five ranked players in the world, all finished in the
red numbers except Ernie Els who was 47th out of 50. I picked Els
to win which shows you what I know.
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