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The Masters. Brilliant Bubba at his Best.

dragon logo darkMasters Flag

 

 

 

Bubba Watson was at  his brilliant best as he won his second Green Jacket winning The Masters at Augusta National.

Bubba Watson held off 20-year-old Jordan Spieth to become the 17th player with multiple Masters wins. (Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Bubba Watson receiving his jacket from Adam Scott / Getty Images

 

Bubba confidently cruised around Augusta National to card a final round -3 under par 69 and slipping on the Green Jacket once again. Apparently green is Bubba’s color;

“This one is a lot different, it’s almost like I lucked into it in 2012, and this one was a lot of hard work and dedication. After giving away that jacket last year, I wanted to get it back, I told Adam we should just kind of switch back and forth.  I never loved green so much.”

Jordan Spieth had to settle for a tie in second place with Jonas Blixt, both of them three shots adrift at -5 under par for the tournament.

Jordan said is was fun to be in the final group, but losing hurts;

” That was fun, but at the same time, it hurts right now, I wanted to get in contention on the back nine Sunday, but didn’t come out on top.”

After starting level with Bubba at the start of play on the final round, Jordan let it all slip away with some casual putting, carding a last round of level par 72. It was still an amazing tournament for the 20 year-old, and hopefully he will have learned a lot from this experience.

Jonas also enjoys playing in the Majors

“I think they are a lot of fun to play, it’s really tough. You beat your head in a little bit but you can’t beat yourself up too bad. The atmosphere, there are so many people here, the excitement of being here, it just adds to the experience. I love majors. I love when it’s tough. The harder the better.”

 

A very honorable mention must go to Miguel Angel Jimenez, next week this man will make his Champions Tour debut. He shot a final round of -1 under par 71 Sunday which gave him a creditable  fourth place on his own. He really wants a place on the next European Ryder Cup team;

I’m going to play only next week. I plan to focus myself for the Ryder Cup and then I need to play in the European Tour for that. If you don’t play over there you won’t have as good of chances. I would like to play on the Ryder Cup and I would like to help Europe defend the Ryder Cup. I would love to do that.”

This has been another very good golfing contest, both with the high standard of play, and the exquisite lay-out of the Augusta National course.

 

The Masters. Bubba Backs Up. Jordan Jumps Into Share of the Lead.

dragon logo darkMasters Flag   Bubba Watson backs up in The Masters on Saturday as Jordan Spieth jumps into a    share of the lead at Augusta National.

 

 

 

 Jordan Spieth / Getty Images

Bubba Watson could only move backwards on moving day at The Masters, shooting a third round +2 over par 72. Jordan Spieth carded a -2 under par 70 to join Bubba at the top of the leaderboard on -5 under par for the tournament.

While Bubba seemed to lose concentration, Jordan just stayed focused, as the 20 year-old, vying to become the youngest ever Masters champion explained;

“You can’t let your focus go astray for one moment. It was about being patient, knowing that bogeys were going to come, and take advantage of the par fives. I’m able to take a lot of confidence out of today, a lot of positives. I wanted to get into contention, not just as a goal to get into contention, but to see how I can perform on a Sunday.”

“Today was a day to stay patient and try and get myself a later tee time even than today, and that goal was accomplished. And tomorrow is about seeing how I can control my game and emotions out on the golf course against guys that have even won here recently. So they have been in the position I haven’t. Doesn’t necessarily mean, I don’t think, that they have an advantage in any way. I think that I’m very confident in the way things are going, and really looking forward to tomorrow.”

Matt Kuchar and Jonas Blixt are tied in third place, just one shot back at -4  under par. Matt put together a -4 under par 68 third round. Jonas with a more conservative -1 under par 71.

 

 Miguel Angel Jimenez, the 50 year-old, who is known as “The Mechanic” aims to put a spanner in the works and try to win the tournament, just before he plays his first Champions League event;

“If you are fifty doesn’t mean that you cannot play well, I’m still moving, I’m still flexible. I love the place, it’s a beautiful place, a beautiful golf course, always manicured and I feel great here.The main thing is enjoy yourself, enjoy what you are doing and smile. Not enough people smile on the golf course. I love what I’m doing, and I hope I’m still in the same conditions for another 25 years. I’m not going to get bored of myself.”

 “Doesn’t matter how you play, you feel good, because everything is prepared for us the way it is. If you don’t hit good, you don’t want to be there. You need to hit good and you need to be patient, and you need to be into your own zone. I like it and that’s my style of game and what I love, what I love to do.”

 Miguel is tied in fifth place with Rickie Fowler at -3 under par.

 Lee Westwood is a shot further back at -2 under par, and  he has not finished lower than 11th in his last three appearances at Augusta National;

“Augusta is one of those places where I feel like I can get around, and I felt like I know how to get around here, even if I’m maybe not on my game. But I’ve hit the ball well this week and that’s why I’m in contention.” 

” The par fives are no gimmes around here, but if you’re going to shoot a low score then you’ve got to play them a couple under. There’s little birdie chances out there and I used all of them the first two days. And today played solidly and had a lot of chances out there. I was a bit unlucky at times on the greens. I had a lot of good putts that didn’t go in.”  

I guess that anyone in red figures now, has a chance to don the Green Jacket tomorrow, and that’s basically what Lee Westwood is thinking;

 “Anywhere within five, even six shots of the lead going into the final round of the Masters is given a good chance, especially with the way the golf course is playing out here. Even a good shot can drop you shots out there. Kind of on the knife edges of the greens.”

 

 

The Masters. Amazing Bubba Blitz at Augusta.

dragon logo darkMasters Flag

  

 

 

 

An amazing blitz from Bubba Watson sees him top the leaderboard in The Masters at Augusta National

 

Bubba Watson stood out among the crowd after shooting a 68 on Friday at the Masters. (Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Bubba playing to the crowd / Getty Images

Bubba shot a second round -4 under par 68 to top the leaderboard at Augusta by three shots. He said he was trying not to get too excited, and stay focused, he remembered the hang-over he suffered after his Green Jacket win;

“Just keep my head down, not try to focus on the crowds cheering for me and stuff. Trying to stay level, not too energized, not too excited. Never been drunk before, but had a hangover from the green jacket, if you had one, you would celebrate it for a year or two.”

“It’s not science here, it’s try to hit the greens. And if you’re hitting the greens, that means you’re obviously hitting your tee shots well. So that’s all I’m trying to do is just hit the greens, maybe throw in a birdie here or there. That’s what I’ve done the last two days and it’s worked out so far.”

Bubba’s  putt on the 14th hole easily traveled around 50 feet after it turned almost 90 degrees to the left and rolled into the cup. It was just his luck that Sergio had a chip shot that rolled over the very spot where Bubba had marked his putt. The Sergio chip showed him the way.

“Without Sergio’s chip, I probably would have three-putted it.”

John Senden is in second pace at -4 under par, after he had completed his second round of -4 under par 68, the same as Bubba. He is playing with a smile on his face;

If I keep believing in myself and enjoying it, that’s the difference, it’s about keeping a smile on your face when you’re under pressure. I’ve been here five times now and learned where to go and where not to go. You just have to accept where the ball ends up and play the best shot you can.”

” The secret of this course is keeping the big numbers off the card. They kind of put you straight out of contention and if you can do that well you have a chance. There are plenty of ups and downs on this golf course. I just want to go out there and do my best and hope that’s good enough.”

There are four players tied in third place at -3 under par, Thomas Bjorn, Jonas Blixt, Jordan Spieth and defending champion Adam Scott, who carded an even par 72 second round.

Adam reported that it was all too easy to drop shots out on the course today;

“It was very difficult out there today. It’s starting to get pretty easy to drop shots out there, tomorrow is a big day for everyone. Anything even par or better at a major is normally a good score, especially today, I would say. It kept me in the tournament.”

“It wasn’t exactly what I was looking for, but given everything, I’m absolutely satisfied with that. It just means tomorrow’s round’s extremely important for me. It’s going to have to be maybe the best round of the week.”

The patrons favorite, fabulous Freddie Couples, not only made the cut, but is in contention following a spirited second round -1 under par 71, to be tied in seventh place at -2 under par. Not bad for a 53 year-old.

Among those missing the cut were the big names of Phil Mickelson, Luke Donald, Sergio Garcia, Ernie Els, Webb Simpson, Graeme McDowell, Zach Johnson, Dustin Johnson and Jason Dufner.

The Masters. Haas Heads the Field.

dragon logo darkMasters Flag

 

 

 

Bill Hass heads the field following the conclusion of the first round of The Masters at Augusta National.

Bill Haas / Getty

Bill opened his account at Augusta with a -4 under par 68 round that took him to the top of the Masters leaderboard. He admitted it could easily have been worse, his putter saved him over the first five holes;

“I easily could have still been 1 over, the putter kind of saved me and settled me down. I know there’s tons of golf left, and maybe understanding that, I know that I can’t expect too much. You’ve just got to go out there and keep playing golf, try to hit that fairway on No. 1 tomorrow.”

The defending champion Adam Scott is sitting comfortably, tied in second place at -3 under par after his first round of 69, and spoke about nerves;

“The first few holes of the Masters is the most nervous I ever get on a golf course. I certainly feel like I prepared very well for this event and I was comfortable with my game anyway.”

Bubba Watson and Louis Oosthuizen are tied with Adam at -3 under par after they also carded opening efforts of 69. Bubba  was the only player to go bogey-free, and it put him within one shot of the lead.

Brandt Snedeker takes a penalty, but thinks the course is in perfect shape, scoring a first round -2 under par 70;

“The ball was on a spot on a hill on the side of the bunker and in the rough, it was right on the edge. I couldn’t believe it stayed where it did. I took a practice swing and the ball;  just kind of nestled over. Then it rolled an inch or something like that and I had to replace it and take a shot penalty.”

“The greens are as firm and fast as I’ve seen for a Thursday, the wind changed 15 times today. This golf course is right on the edge, it’s in perfect shape, and they got it exactly how they want it. The pin positions today were brutal. There was not one getable pin out there where you felt like you can make a birdie and get it going. You had to hit some quality golf shots to make birdies.”

I have a lot of good memories here, I have a lot of good friends here. I love the golf course, and it comes through in my play, I have a lot of fun here. I like the challenge of this place and how much pressure it puts on you on every shot.”

Phil Mickelson and Justin Rose both shot a +4 over par 76, while Rory McIlroy returned an opening scorecard of -1 under par 71 to be T12.

Rory was happy to be under par on the day;

“For the most part, I felt like I put my ball in the positions they needed to be in and it was just one of those days it was tough to get it close to the hole, the greens are firming up. The wind was all over the place. Anything under par today was a good score.”

“It’s about putting your ball in the right place and it becomes more of a mental challenge than anything else, just playing to your spots. It almost becomes like chess, where you’re just making these moves. That hasn’t been my forte in the past, but I’ll learn to love it this week.”

Looks like Phil and Justin will have to fight to make the cut.

Valero Texas Open. 1st Round play Suspended. Fog in Texas ?

dragon logo darkValero Texas Open Logo

TPC San Antonio was shrouded in fog during the opening round of the Valero Texas Open, causing a suspension in Play.

Valero Texas Open - Round One    Valero Texas Open - Round One

                                          Pat Perez   and Danny Lee/ Getty Images

At the time the horn blew Pat Perez and Danny Lee had completed their first rounds and sat at the top of the leaderboard of the Valero Texas Open. They both carded opening rounds of -4 under par 68. The fog kept temperatures in the 50s before it burned off and gave way to sun and readings in the 80s.

Pat spoke of the conflicting temperatures;

“This morning it was freezing, and I hit balls on the practice range in four layers of clothes. Now, I’m sweating.”

What is worrying, and noteworthy, is the form of Phil Mickleson, who shot a +5 over par 77 opening round, to fall nine strokes back of the lead.  That horrible 77 was Phil’s highest score since he shot a 78 in August in the PGA Championship.

It seems Phil was as surprised as the rest of us;

“I had been playing real well at home, so to come out and play like this is disappointing, just didn’t feel quite sharp. I didn’t putt well, I had a couple of three-putts that hurt. Iron play wasn’t great. I didn’t drive it bad, until that last hole.”

In his previous two starts, Phil missed the cut in the Honda Classic, and then tied for 16th at Doral in the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship. This is not good preparation for The Masters, just two weeks away. Phil will play in the Houston Open before heading to Augusta National.

Looks like Phil will have plenty of time to practice, making the cut here is a long way off, currently T 135 out of a field of 144.

Tiger the TV Ref ? No Way

Focus: Woods puts in some putting practice with his coach Sean Foley ahead of the Players Championship

Sean Foley & Tiger, putting practice  ahead of the Players Championship.

Tiger has admitted he would not pick up the phone and call in any infringement he may have witnessed on TV, no matter what sport he happened to be watching;

“I don’t ever see myself calling in and saying that Kobe traveled or things like that;  or some offensive lineman held. But it’s our sport, and that’s what we’ve accepted. Certain groups are going to get more heat than others just because they’re on TV. It is what it is.”

Tiger was speaking at TPC Sawgrass, where he is preparing for The Players Championship, he was referring to the incident at the Masters, which eventually cost him a triple bogey, and lost him the chance of winning the tournament;

” I had a lot of momentum going at that time,’ I think I was tied for the lead with Fred, and I thought I’d stuffed it in there and I thought it was going to be a birdie and I could take the lead there and maybe sneak one in on the final three holes and basically start building a lead in the tournament. And it kind of turned the other way with a good shot. When I was away from it I reflected on the things I did right, but also the things I did wrong. Unfortunately, I hit a good shot and caught a bad break. I still had an opportunity over the next 36 holes to get it back but I just didn’t do it.”

Talking about The Players Championship, and its importance in association with the four Majors, Tiger thought if there was to be another Major, this would be it;

“We have our four major championships, and that’s that. But if there was going to be another one, this would be it. This is the best field that we have. We have guys from all over the world playing, and probably next to the PGA Championship, one of the deepest and stiffest fields we’ll face.‘It is one of those tricky courses where they have some very tough lines off the tee and if you are not playing well you are going to get exposed,’ said Woods. ‘On top of that the greens are now a lot more fiery coming into them, so that makes it even more important to hit the ball in these fairways. And if you miss these greens at all, you’ve got some of the weirdest, funky little shots you will ever face.”

Tiger Woods’ whistle blower was one David Eager, a rules official, who not only embarrassed himself, but other officials, and TV commentators, who were on the course at the time. Maybe those guys will be seeking revenge on him the next time he tees it up on the Champions Tour. If Tiger never quite gets passed Jack Major record, misses out by one, just think.

Tiger Woods's Masters TV whistleblower revealed to be rules official David Eger

Tiger and The Drop / AP

 

The Masters, Play Off Win For Broomstick Scott

Adam Scott won the Masters in a play-off against Grand-dad Angel Cabrera, using the soon to be banned Broomstick putter.

Worth the wait, mate

Adam Scott / Ehrmann / Getty Images

Adam Scott won the second play-off hole at the Masters with a birdie, using the broomstick putter. He is the first Australian to win the title, so cements his place in history. Lucky for him the R&A and the USGA seem to be waiting a long time before banning the use of  the long anchored putter. Adam had a last round of -3 under par 69, for a total of -9 under par.  Four of the last six Major champions used a putter pressed against their belly or chest, a stroke that might be banned in 2016.

Adam said about his win;

” We like to think we’re the best at everything. Golf is a big sport at home, and this is the one thing in golf we hadn’t been able to achieve. It’s amazing that it’s my destiny to be the first Australian to win. It’s incredible.”

Some of us with long memories know the lengths Australians will go to avoid defeat in sport, but to be fair to the man the authorities have not yet banned the use of this putter, will be interesting to see him defend the title next year with a conventional putter. Steve Williams was responsible for reading Adam’s winning putt, Adam asked Steve;

 ” Do you think it’s just more than a cup?”

Steve replied;

‘It’s at least two cups. It’s going to break more than you think.”

Afterwards Steve remarked;

“The winning putt might be the highlight putt of my career, because he asked me to read it.”

Steve Williams, probably the best Caddie in the world, must be laughing up his sleeve at this win. Everyone knows that if he had been Tiger Woods caddie, he would not have let Tiger play an illegal shot, Steve is too professional for that kind of mistake.

Angel Cabrera knocked his approach shot on eighteen for an easy birdie, and a -2 under par round of 70, to tie the scores and head off into the play-off. He was such a gracious loser;

“Such is golf, Adam is a good winner.”

Jason Day, the Aussie everybody thought was going to win today, finished in third place, at -7 under par. Jason had a two-shot lead when he stepped to the 16th tee. Jason said;

“I think the pressure got to me a little bit.”

 

Brandt Snedeker, who was tied with Angel Cabrera for the lead going into the final round, sadly closed with a last round 75, and finished five shots behind. He was naturally upset at not being able to convert a winning position into a win;

“Any time you have a chance to win the Masters and you don’t come through, my lifelong dream,  you’re going to be upset, you’re going to cry, but I’ll get through it.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Masters. Aussie Assault at Augusta

Three Aussies have made a third day assault on the Masters at Augusta National, Adam Scott in third place, followed by Marc Leishman and Jason Day tied in fourth place. They are vying to be the first Aussie to win the Masters Title. For them to accomplish that feat they will have to overcome the two leaders at the top of the board.

Wide-open Sunday

Angel Cabrera and Brandt Snedeker / Getty Images

Angel and Brandt both completed the third round in -3 under par,  for a tournament total of -7 under par. Brandt has made a bold statement about being here to win;

” I’ve spent 32 years of my life getting ready for tomorrow, I’m going to be disappointed if I don’t win. Period. I’m not here to get a good finish, I’m here to win.”

Angel, who won here in 2009, is a two-time Major winner, and you would think that he has the extra experience to overcome the mental factors of coming down the stretch in a Major contest, Angel had this to say, via an interpreter;

” I’ve been working very hard for this moment, and I’ve got to take the opportunity.”

Adam Scott said it would be fantastic to win the Masters, I think that is an under statement;

” Obviously, to win the Masters would be incredible, it would be great for Australia. We’ve never looked better odds-wise going into a Sunday, except that one year in 1996. It’s going to be a hell of a round tomorrow.”

Jason Day lead the tournament for most of the day, but made bogey on the last two holes;

“My favorite tournament of the year, I love this place. Obviously, there’s a lot of pressure on my shoulders, being from Australia and no Australian has ever won the event. They have been very, very close, but I’ve just got to try to get that out of my mind and just plug away.”

The day started with some high drama as Tiger Woods was penalized two shots, following his violation of the rules in dropping his ball yesterday, after his shot had hit the pin and found it’s way into the water. Tiger dropped his ball to replay the shot, but instead of dropping according to rule 26-1; ” Play a ball as nearly as possible at the spot the original ball was last played.” Tiger went two yards further back, to give himself the correct distance for the shot. In a game of political maneuvering the tournament committee handed Tiger a two shot penalty. There are a lot of people who felt that he should have been disqualified. Ultimately what saved Tiger, was a new rule, just two years old, that states disqualification will not be handed down when the complaint has come from someone watching TV. Seems like a fair assessment to me, a TV pundit gets umpteen replays, officials on the course get one look. You could argue that Tiger and his caddie should know the rules, I bet Steve Williams would not have let his man violate a rule.

Tiger admitted the mistake;

I went back to where I played it from, but went two yards further back and I tried to take two yards off the shot of what I felt I hit, and that should land me short of the flag and not have it either hit the flag or skip over the back. I felt that was going to be the right decision to take off four yards right there. And I did. It worked out perfectly.”

Masters. Sergio Suddenly Surprises.

Sergio Garcia suddenly surprised everyone by sharing the first round lead of  the Masters at Augusta National with Aussie Marc Leishman.

Sergio Garcia / Reddington/ Getty Images

Sergio Garcia grabbed a share of the Masters lead on day one of the Masters with Aussie Marc Leishman, both players at -6 under par after their first round scores of 66. Having Sergio’s name at the top of the leaderboard came as a surprise to all the pundits, who were all of the opinion that he hated Augusta National;

” No, I mean, well,obviously, it’s obviously not my favorite, my most favorite place, but we try to enjoy it as much as we can each time we come here. Sometimes it comes out better than others, but today it was one of those good days. And let’s enjoy it while it lasts. But like I said before, every time I tee it off, I try to play as well as I can, hope that my best that week is really, really good, and if I manage to do that, I will have a chance at winning. If my best is not that good, then, I’ll struggle a little bit. Today my best was pretty good, and I’m looking forward to doing the same thing the next three days. We all go through those moments, the beauty and the bad thing about this game is that it can have such highs and such lows, because it’s a lot more mental than some of the other games. So you know, the most important thing is to make sure that you get through those nicely and learn from them. Sometimes I do feel like there is such a thing as being too hyper about something, you’ve still got to keep calm. I still get very excited about playing the game and every single week and trying to win tournaments. It’s obviously not the same feeling that I had when I was 19, 20 or 21. But that’s kind of normal.”

Keep it going tomorrow Sergio.

In third place alone is Dustin Johnson, who came through the first round at -5 under par. Many think that the big hitting American can do well here this week, and his opening round of 67 goes a long way to substantiating those claims.

There are six players tied for fourth spot, they are; David Lynn, Rickie Fowler, Gonzo, Trevor Immelman, Fred Couples and Matt Kuchar. These all had opening rounds of -4 under par, 68.

This is The Masters, so don’t be surprised if this top section of the leaderboard changes dramatically  tomorrow. Bad weather is forecast so anything could happen.

 

 

 

Masters Warm Up, Phil and Condoleezza

  

Augusta National / photo from website

Phil Mickelson and Condoleezza Rice play a warm up round at Augusta National, in preparation for Phil’s challenge in the Masters.

Phil Mickelson and Condoleezza Rice played a practice round together at Augusta on Sunday. (Getty Images)

Phil and Condoleezza  / Getty Images

Phil was full of praise for Condoleezza and her game, especially her prowess at putting, Phil spoke about the former U.S. Secretary of State;

“It was awesome. She’s one of my favorite people. She’s got the greatest personality and attitude, and she’s so much fun to be around. She’s so knowledgeable about world affairs. It’s just incredible. It’s a great experience. On the greens, she’s a phenomenal putter. As soon as I saw she was a member, I called her to work up a game, just like I did Arnold Palmer back in the days as an amateur. She’s just one of my favorite people to be around. She kept asking me about the course. And I kept asking her about countries. It was really fun. And she really can putt.”

Condoleezza was just as nice about Phil;

” He’s such a good friend, I’ve known him for years.” 

View image on TwitPic website

Condoleezza Rice in her Green Jacket / Getty Images

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