The Players. Day 2. Two Tied at the Top

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There are two players tied at the top of The Players, Jerry Kelly and Kevin Na both had good rounds today, while some big names failed to make the cut.

The Players

Kevin Na / Getty Images

Kevin and Jerry hold a two shot lead at -8 under par for 36 holes at The Players at TPC Sawgrass in Florida.

Jerry with a magnificent -7 under par 65 against Kevin’s more modest -3 under par 69 to both get to -8 under par for the tournament.

Kevin has overcome a terrible bout of “The Yips” which at times prevented him from taking the club back;

“I had the yips, that’s what it was.”

“A lot of the guys when you have that, they fall off the planet.”

“They play poorly and nobody really sees and hears about it. But the weird case was, I was playing some of my best golf and I couldn’t take the club back.”

“How does a guy not take the club back every time he hits it, and it goes down the middle?”

“I don’t know. Do you want to open up my brain and check it out? I don’t know. I try to not think about it. I got over it.”

“Having the yips, I think because I went through that, I’m a better player now.”

“I hope people get over that and see me as just a guy that’s playing well on TOUR versus a guy that couldn’t take the club back.”

Bernhard Langer is a player who could not control the putting yips, which is why he uses the Long Putter. Not sure if Bernhard will retire from golf at the end of this year, when long putters will be banned. On the other side of the coin, Bernhard holds the record for the most birdies made at the treacherous 17th in The Players, some 25 of them in his career. Ironically he also holds the record for the longest putt holed at the 17th, 59 feet 9 inches. Sadly He missed the cut here this year.

The Players

Jerry Kelly / Getty Images

Jerry carded a -7 under par 65 second round, and reported that he lives on adrenaline;

“I enjoy adrenaline, I am 48. I know it almost ravages the body as much as it helps it as you start getting older, but I would like to hang out for another couple of days and have some fun with it.”

“I figured I would have another chance at this golf course, I didn’t think it would be that long, but it’s just strange. This whole career has gone by in the blink of an eye.”

There are four players tied in third place, two shots back at -6 under par for the tournament, Branden Grace, David Hearn, Chris Kirk and the ever-present Rickie Fowler.

Rickie could have had second place on his own, but a loose shot on the par 5 16th found water, leading to a bogey.

Rickie and Ian Poulter were tied in a magazine survey with 24 percent of the vote, for the most overrated player on tour. Rickie was not worried about the comments of his peers;

“If there’s a time where I need something to kind of give me a kick in the butt, then I can think of that and it will put me in the right frame of mind to go out there and take care of business.”

 World number one Rory McIlroy stumbled a bit today, he too could have been better except for a trip to the water. He finished with a -1 under par 71 and a -4 under par total;

“A lot can happen, and I feel like I’m in a decent position.”

Tiger made the cut on the number, but Phil Mickleson, Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose, Jason Day, Lee Westwood and Luke Donald all had to go home early.

Phil was left wondering how he ever won here;

“I was thinking to myself as I was walking around, `I can’t believe I’ve actually won here,’ you know?”

 

 

The Players. 1st Day, Four-Way Tie.

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There is a four-way tie at the top of The Players on the 1st day at TPC Sawgrass.

The Players

One of the four, Canadian David Hearn / Getty Images

For all the hype about the big guns at TPC Sawgrass the four who share the lead on the Stadium Course at -5 under par, are all middle order players, David HearnHideki Matsuyama, Kevin Na and Charlie Hoffman carded opening rounds of 65.

Playing the course backwards Charlie was bombing along, until his tenth hole, which was the 1st, where he managed to rack up a triple bogey;

“Obviously, you don’t ever want to take a triple, double, quad, whatever it is.”

“But at least I gave myself time to get them back. It’s better than doing it on the 72nd hole, I can guarantee you that.”

“I’ve made enough triple bogeys in my life, I’m not going to let it ruin my day too much.”

“And I’m probably going to make a few more in my lifetime. It’s one of those things, first round of the tournament, sort of took it with a grain of salt, knew there were plenty of birdies out there.”

David wants to stay focused, saying there is still a long way to go;

“Two of my best swings of the day were on 18 and that gave me a lot of confidence going to the front nine.”

“We’ve got a long way to go here, my focus is just to get out there again tomorrow and just to keep enjoying hitting good shots.”

Kevin is fully aware of the difficulty of this Stadium Course;

“It’s a difficult golf course, and if you’re not on top of your game, it’s going to be very difficult to score.”

“There’s some holes out there where you just have to play it safe, maybe make sure you get it in play and then when you have a chance to get aggressive you have to pull off the perfect shot.”

Hideki putted well, and was very happy with the result, reported through a translator;

“I putted very well today, that was the difference.”

 “Probably starting from last week I started putting a little bit better, and it just carried over into today. I was very happy about that.”

World number one Rory McIlroy started OK, finishing the day at -3 under par after his first round 69. He said making 14 pars was good going on this course;

“I think that’s what this course is all about, it’s about staying patient.”

“There’s a lot of pars on my card, but I was able to pick off a couple of birdies and a nice eagle on 16. I’m happy with the start, for sure.”

World number two Jordan Spieth had another of those off days, shooting +3 over par 75, he needs to find some answers, to avoid missing the cut;

“It’s just one of those days where I started maybe looking into it a little too much rather than just accepting it and going forward.”

“Just going to have to find some answers. Just a really, really poor day.”

Tiger Woods opened with +1 over par 73, he even found a creek with a tee shot on the par three 8th hole, which he did not know was there, the shot was some 40 yards short of the green he was aiming for;

“I didn’t know it was there until now, probably the highest score I could have shot today.”

 

 

The Quest for the Green Jacket. Day 3. Jordan Gets the Jitters.

White Dragon GolfThe Masters

In the quest for the Green Jacket, Jordan Spieth got the jitters in the third round of The Masters at Augusta.

The Masters

Jordan Spieth / Getty Images

Jordan got the jitters, shooting a third round -2 under par 70 at The Masters, and he still set a new 54-hole scoring record at -16 under par. To comfort him a little, he still has a formidable four shot lead going into the final on Sunday at Augusta. Jordan thought -2 under today was a good score;

“I thought two under would be a good score today but obviously being four under and closing at two under is disappointing, but it could have been worse and I was very pleased with that up and down on eighteen.”

“It took some guts to hit that flop shot and the par putt was huge, one of the biggest putts I have ever hit.”

“Obviously I would have liked to finish the round a little better, but it could have been worse.”

“I was very frustrated. I didn’t do any scoreboard watching until the 15th and then knew I was six clear and pars were good scores on the last two holes.”

“Driver should never have come out of my bag at that point. I was getting a little erratic with the driver and could have hit three wood, eight iron.”

The chasers made up some ground today, most notably Justin Rose, who was one of those who fired third rounds of -5 under par 67. Justin now stands in second place at -12 under par for the competition, and will probably have to equal, or better that score in the final round if he wants to win the title.

Justin will be with Jordan tomorrow, and said it will be nice to keep watch on him;

“He’s playing incredible golf but it’ll be great to keep an eye on him.”

“You have to put it on the line and you’ve got to make committed, aggressive swings under pressure. That’s what I’m going to do tomorrow.”

Another -5 under par 67 came from Phil Mickelson, giving him third place on his own at -11 under par. Charley Hoffman slipped back today, a -1 under par 71 leaving him with -10 under for the competition, which is still four shots clear of the main bunch.

The chasing posse are all at -6 under par, ten shots off the pace, Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods, Kevin Na, Kevin Streelman and Dustin Johnson.

Rory and Tiger both had rounds of -4 under par 67, and still have a long way to go to even challenge for second place. Which probably is why Tiger dropped the F-word rant on live TV, “Oh my F-ing God,” for which the TV presenters had to quickly apologize. Not so easy to apologize to God.

Forgetting his low point verbal rant on the course today Tiger said his round should have been lower;

“It could have been something seriously low today, I had it really going.”

“All in all, if you probably look at it, it should have been about two shots better.”

“It’s in Jordan’s hands right now, I’m going to have to put together a really special round of golf tomorrow. And you just never know.”

“To come back here and play a major championship and to be in the mix, granted I’ve got to shoot a low one tomorrow, but at least I’ve given myself a chance.”

Rory knows it would take something extraordinary for him to win;

“I’ll try and get off to a good start like I did today.”

“If I do that it really depends, if I was to go out and shoot 30, I’m going to need something around 61 or 62 to have a chance. Not sure that’s going to happen.”

The Quest for the Green Jacket. Day 1 Super Spieth Shows The Way at The Masters

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The quest for the Green Jacket has begun, and at the end of Day 1 super Jordan Spieth sits on top of The Masters leaderboard at Augusta.

The Masters

Jordan Spieth / Getty Images

Jordan opened his account at The Masters with a superb first round of -8 under par 64, to sit on top of the leaderboard with a three shot lead at Augusta. He also becomes the youngest player ever to lead this tournament after the first round.

The fast start has worried his opponents, but has excited Jordan;

“I was excited about the way I struck the ball, I’m excited about the start.”

“It capped off a really fun round.”

“I played well last year, but I never broke 70.”

At the other end of the age scale Ernie Els is among the players all tied in second position after scoring -5 under par 67 for their opening efforts. Charlie Hoffman, Justin Rose and Jason Day complete the quartet sharing second spot.

Nobody would appreciate winning The Masters more that Ernie, he wants to leave Augusta wearing the famous Green Jacket;

“That’s the plan, we’ll see what happens.”

“I just felt comfortable, I felt at ease for some reason.”

“There’s definitely a different kind of mind‑set in the whole family coming up here, it’s more of an enjoyment.”

“We kind of are running out of time a little bit here, so we are really trying to enjoy what we’ve got left out here.”

“It’s been 21 years coming to Augusta. It’s been unbelievable, but nothing lasts forever. Samantha had a great time at the Par 3, and I just have a different appreciation, I think, for the place.”

This group is followed by Russell Henley and Sergio Garcia, both on -4 under par for the day.

Rory McIlroy’s opening tee shot, was the longest shot hit at Augusta all day, he finished at -1 under par, which would have been OK, except he is now seven shots off the lead, but he said he will just have to play better in round two;

“Today was a pretty good day. I feel like I can do better. But happy after Day 1 and go out and just try and do a little bit better tomorrow.”

“I haven’t put too much pressure on myself. Look, I obviously know what I can achieve this week, but I’m not letting myself think about it too much.”

Tiger was two shots further back after a first round +1 over par 73.

Tom Watson today became the oldest player to break par at The Masters,  shooting a marvelous opening round -1 under par 71.

The Masters

Tom Watson / Getty Images

The opening tee shots came from Arnold, Jack and Gary.

The Masters

Arnold, Jack and Gary / Getty Images

 

 

Arnold Palmer Invitational. Matt Makes It Again.

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Defending Champion Matt Every makes it again at the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill.

Matt Every and Arnold / Getty Images

Matt Every and Arnold / Getty Images

Matt joined Tiger Woods and Loren Roberts as the only players to repeat at Bay Hill, shooting a final round -6 under par 66, and an Arnold Palmer Invitational total of -19 under par, a one shot victory;

“It’s easy to get down on yourself out here, it’s the biggest waste of time because nobody really cares.”

“The last three feet I was begging for it to hang, and I was like, ‘Gosh, these are the ones that always lip out. Be so cool to see this one dive in,’ and it did. Cool moment.”

“I was playing so good, yesterday when I got done, that was the best I hit it in a long time.”

“I told Tiger I’d hold it down for him until he gets back.”

“I’m like, you’re already in the Masters.”

“After Augusta last year, I was really bummed out, I felt really good about my game and then I got there and got my butt kicked. “

“I’ve got to get better because I don’t want to be a guy who can’t compete there.”

“I do want to win more tournaments, though, scratch that I said that, but it’s neat to get them both here.”

Henrik, who finished second at -18 under par, was annoyed at being put on the clock by the officials, on the 15th hole, when he was leading the tournament, and I am inclined to agree with him, what a stupid decision;

“I’m a little bit disappointed with the outcome, but I’m as much disappointed with the PGA Tour officials for putting us on the clock on 15, starting to chase us down the stretch, and that’s not really the way to close out a golf tournament.”

“It’s hard enough to finish out a golf tournament and play those finishing holes without being on the clock.”

“I didn’t see the reason for that really. I didn’t even read my putt more than just one quick look on 15. Three-putted that one from long range. Morgan got a bad time on 16 on the second shot. I kind of rushed my putt from the back fringe.”

“It’s just hard when you don’t feel like you can take the time that you want to take. That surely didn’t help the cause.”

Ozzie Matt Jones finished in third place at -17 under par, with -4 under par 67 final round.

Rory, T11 at -11 under, spoke about the odds of him winning The Masters;

“I guess if you go on form, then probably no. But it depends how far you take that form back and you’ve got to look at previous results there and all sorts of stuff. I’m not a bookie.”

“The main goal was to come here and try to win, couldn’t do that. At least I got a couple of things out of this week, which is good.”

 

Valspar Championship. Super Spieth Wins Play-Off

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Super Jordan Spieth won the Valspar Championship after a three-way play-off at Copperhead.

Valspar Championship

Jordan Spieth / Getty Images

Jordan finished the Valspar Championship at -10 under par, tied with Patrick Reed and Sean O’Hair, he won with a 28 ft birdie putt on the third play-off, the par three 17th.

Jordan  is just the fourth player since 1940 to win twice on the PGA TOUR prior to his 22nd birthday, he joined Tiger Woods, Sergio Garcia and Robert Gamez;

“This is huge momentum for me, it will jump me closer in the world ranking, which is obviously the number one goal long-term.”

“Most of all, it’s big momentum, positive momentum for us going into the major championships.”

“I like studying the game, historian of the game, it’s really cool to have my name, you know, go along side those.”

“But right now currently and what I’m really focused on is Rory McIlroy is No. 1 in the world. That’s who everyone is trying to chase.”

“That’s our ultimate goal is to eventually, you know, be the best in the world and this is a great, great stepping stone.

“But going into the four majors of the year, to have closed one out in this kind of fashion is going to give me a lot of confidence.”

“Putting down the stretch, when you’re tense and pressure is on, I really needed to make some putts, especially after 10 and 11, that would kind of ooze that confidence back into me that I can do this, you know.”

“Your hand, you’re shaking. Your stroke doesn’t feel as comfortable as it does on Thursday morning and it’s about controlling that, seeing the line and still hitting it and the last few holes proved that to me.”

Sean is on the comeback trail, and this result proves he is well and truly back;

“It was a lot of fun, I was looking forward to being in that situation come Sunday.”

“You know, I haven’t been in that situation in quite some time and to have those nerves again and be able to handle it in regulation the way I did, I played fantastic on the back nine.”

“So, I gave myself a chance. That’s really all I can do. I played solid all day, played solid all week and, you know, then the playoff was a ton of fun. You know, two young guys made me feel really old actually.”

Patrick had a wonderful -5 under par 66 in the final round, and he beat Jordan in a play-off at the Wyndham Championship in 2013 for the first of his four PGA Tour wins.

 

Farmers Open. Harris English Leads.

White Dragon GolfFarmers Insurance Open

Harris English leads the Farmers Open at Torrey Pines in San Diego at the mid-way point.

Farmers Open

Harris English / Getty Images

Harris shot a second round -6 under par 66 on the easier North Course to lead the Farmers Open by two shots with his -10 under par total. He admitted to reporters that it is easy to find what is not right with your game, when it is not going well;

“When you start struggling, it’s easy to try to find stuff that’s wrong with your game, wrong with your swing.”

“I definitely was more swing-oriented than playing golf. That’s not me. That’s not how I grew up playing the game.”

“You’re standing over shots thinking about swing positions instead of trying to see your ball flight and trying to play golf. That’s what I was doing the latter half of the year, it was really frustrating.”

“I’ve been having a lot more fun since I know where the ball’s been going these past couple months and I’m looking forward to the next couple years with working with Scott and to see what we can accomplish.”

Tied in third place are three players, all on -8 under par for the competition, Nick Watney, Jhonattan Vegas and Martin Laird.

Nick had a superb second round of -7  under par 65 on the North Course to haul himself up into contention at the week-end. Jhonattan had a steady -3 under par second round and Martin -4 under par, all three on the North Course.

On his own in fifth place is Nick Thompson who struggled round the South Course today carding +1 over par 73 and losing touch with the leaders, he is now at -7 under par overall.

There are some BIG names not making cut, apart from the withdrawn Tiger Woods.

Phil Mickelson continues to struggle, and described his putting performance as pathetic;

“It’s very frustrating for me right now, I felt really ready to start the year and these first few weeks have been very poor.”

“I feel like I’m hitting the ball tee to green quite well, really well, but my putting is beyond pathetic and if I can’t get back to the levels of 2013, I’m not sure what I’m going to do, because this is very frustrating.”   

”It was one of the worst putting performances, and the first few weeks really have been the same way, and you simply can’t compete at this level putting like that.”

Justin Rose, Luke Donald, Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth all joined the queue to go home early.

Dustin, playing for the first time since a six-month break to get professional help for “personal challenges,” should have used the time to sharpen up his game;

“The last two days, I think normally I probably would be at least five or six under right now instead of even par, but I’m happy with where it’s at. Just a little rusty, that’s all.”