Is Jordan Spieth the best 18th hole putter the game has ever seen?
- Sneds lost to three of the EuroTourFive. He leads the other two by a single stroke. If all five of these guys (some of whom are playing the course for the first time) make the cut, I think we can put to bed the nonsense about the “massive inferiority” of the European Tour.
- Jason Day was on fire on the back nine. Too bad he faltered a bit before getting to the clubhouse.
- How many “excellent” and “spectacular” shots did Woods hit today where you could see one of his playing partners’ balls inside of his?
- Anirban Lahiri shot -1, tying Bubba Watson and Rory McIlroy. And Tom Watson.
- Keep an eye on DJ and Reed at -2, Henley at -4. Justin Rose at -5 could be in it for the long haul. Rory will need a good round to make up ground; He’s T-19, but he’s four shots out of 5th, and there’s no reason to think Spieth and Day will falter. Still early, though. No need to panic or take risks, just get the ball in the fairway.
- Nick and Nantz say this is a “great day” for Woods. I wonder what an average one looks like.
4:25 pm That shot of Wood’s… They said it went 30 degrees to the right. That is EXACTLY what I described yesterday. Let me fetch my quote… (by the way, Woods hits two consecutive shots that were lucky to stay on the course, then hits a shot over the green from a bad location…. Nantz is all “Oh, my, that was an incredible shot. How remarkable.” Okay, here’s what I wrote yesterday, in a reply to someone’s comment:
It’s been VERY weird. And when I saw a look-in at him at the range today, I saw a sequence of three drivers. 1. He hit it, then twirled the club. 2. He hit it and it looked to me like it headed right right off the clubface. (Not a shank, just a big push-slice or something). No twirl. The coach went and talked to him for a moment. 3. Looked like the right thing again, and coach, caddy, and Woods all stood looking for a long time. No twirl.
Now… if I could see that just watching television, why didn’t all those wonderful golf reporters who obsess over Woods, whose companies paid for them to go to Augusta, and who described every kid hug and earphone and dance and his mood…. why didn’t a single one of those guys see the shots at the practice range veering off to the right?
3:03 pm Rory birdies No. 15!!! Moves to 1-under!!!
2:40 pm In case you have to miss the opening of ESPN’s coverage in twenty minutes, I’ll give it to you in advance.
In a hushed tone… “Tiger Woods started off with a bogey, and things looked bleak, but then he came charging back with THIS shot on No. 2. He would make a birdie and put himself back into the hunt! Rumors of his demise were greatly exaggerated. The buzz around here is that the old Tiger is back! Hold onto your hats, it looks like Tiger is chasing Jack again! And we’ll be here to show you every shot.”
Rory sits at even par, T-26, through eight holes. Hard to say if he’s lucky or unlucky to be on that number. Rory is now just two holes away from the Amen Corner coverage. I’ve had my fill of this Masters Tracker. This is ridiculous. It froze up on Sneds. I had to refresh to find he was already two holes ahead. With Rory, he sat in the No. 8 fairway for 20 minutes, then suddenly the entire hole shows up all at once. Augusta is a laughingstock with their antiquated coverage. The tradition of the Masters? Yeah, the tradition of 1960’s coverage.
Rory birdies? Oh, yeah! Back to level par! Three more holes until he reaches the Amen Corner coverage cameras.
The Masters Tracker is the way to go. You choose the player you want, then get a nice display of their shots. I’ve turned off my TV; it was a distraction hearing Golf Channel repeat the same crap they’ve been repeating for days. I’ll turn on the Amen Corner stream when Rory reaches No. 11.
[NOTE: The Masters website Amen Corner live stream is active now.]
Golf.com Live Blog: The SI/Golf live blog will start at 8:00 am EDT and is usually pretty decent. [Connell Barrett is doing a good job on the morning shift.] Way too much focus on Tiger Woods, but if you want to ask a golf reporter a tough question, this is just about the only place you can do it with any expectation of getting an answer. I guarantee you’ll see some Tiger PED comments and questions. The hosts will be Connell Barrett, Brendan Mohler and Josh Sens. I’ve often criticized Josh Sens — the $15 Billion Dollar Man — but he’s always been willing in these live blogs to answer any tough questions I asked him (including one about that $15 billion).
On the first tee, ESPN: The burning question is, “Will we see Augusta National at all, or will our entire screens be obscured by scrolls and banners and graphics and ads swooshing in and out?” I want to say, “Hey, it can’t be any worse than GC, NBC, and CBS,” but with ESPN, yes, it can.
Weather: Today looks fine, Friday wet, Saturday and Sunday okay. Not horrible. Better than what was being predicted a few days ago. I’m glad today is okay, so we’ll have an uninterrupted start to the tourney, anyway.
Online Streams Running Dry: I’m not pleased with the streams. No Rory featured group today, for example, and the streams don’t start until noon. (I’ll have to check on when spotlight holes coverage begins.) My patience with the Masters seems to grow thinner every year. For starters, it’s a limited-field tournament which is weaker than all of the other three majors — plus three additional tournaments to boot! And the limited coverage is silly in 2015. If the idea is to “grow the game,” how does it help grow the game to limit coverage in this manner? The course is beautiful, but too easy for today’s equipment; tricked up greens are its only defense. My point is that this is by far the weakest of the majors, and yet it’s the tournament which goes all prima donna on us. I think making a push to put Augusta National in a 3-year rota with Dubai and Abu Dhabi being the sites for the other two years would grow the game and allow golf fans to see more of the actual event. “The Masters” could be played anywhere, and Dubai and Abu Dhabi would be able to handle full-field events, making the Masters equal in player quality to the other three majors. I’m sick and tired of following Rory’s rounds on a 1930’s tickertape.
Take that, Augusta National!
Feelings, Nothing More Than Feelings: What is it with all the focus on “how it feels”? Cook is asked, “How do the players feel now it’s starting?” They ask DiMarco, “How did you feel when you teed off?” I think all of us have been nervous about something before; I don’t need Chris DiMarco to tell me players are keyed up on the first tee. Besides, not every player is going to feel the same, anyway.
Tiger’s Excellent Vacation: Photos of Woods’s kids have dominated the first five minutes of Morning Drive. In today’s world, we often hear about a need for transparency, but there is nothing more transparent than the Golf Channel’s agenda.
Grand Grand Slam: I guess it’s a replay, but I’m watching Jack and Arnold and Gary being interviewed, and Jack is making the point that their big goal was to win the Grand Slam. Which means all four majors in a year. That’s what I have been trying to tell people, but for some reason — cough, cough, the media — total career majors became the only achievement worth mention. Now that Woods is apparently going to fall well short of that mark, the media seems to think consecutive made cuts is what it’s all about.
Remember the Euro Six Five! Don’t forget five of the Euro Six will be facing off against American champion, Brandt Snedeker.
Make Me Pay: I need to make this official: The Lanny H Golf “Make Me Pay” picks are Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth. Should either of those players win this week, Lanny H Golf will donate $100 to the St. Jude Children’s Hospital. If Rory wins two majors this year, we will donate $300; if he wins three, we will donate $600; if he wins all four, we will donate $1000. Rory, make me pay!
Wattniacki: Apparently an NFL football player, J.J. Watts, is now seeing Caroline Wozniacki, and the two were recently in the spotlight at the March Madness finals. Some have pointed to this as a distraction for Rory, but Rory will be elated at this, as he was the one who called off the engagement. He will be happy, and relieved, that Wozniacki is moving on with her life and finding happiness.