Archive for the ‘The Masters’ Category

Again playing in the pine straw, Phil Mickelson rescues himself

Phil Mickelson grips it and rips it on No. 2 Friday. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Phil Mickelson grips it and rips it on No. 2 Friday. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Augusta — A third of the 75th Masters had been played, and the champion of the 74th Masters (and also the 70th, and the 68th) found himself in some danger of not being around for what he would call “my favorite two days of the year.” Phil Mickelson was even par after 24 holes and headed the wrong way.

He’d bogeyed No. 5. He’d bogeyed No. 6. Forget that he’d entered this event as its prohibitive favorite. At issue just past noon Friday was whether he’d make the cut.

Saturday and Sunday at the Masters without Phil Mickelson? It’d be like Phil Mickelson without pine straw.

A Mickelson 6-iron from the pine straw on No. 13 spawned last year’s famous victory, and similar escapes on Nos. 7 and 8 Friday led to the birdies that ensured his continuing presence this weekend. Nothing much happened the rest of his round — he parred the final seven holes — but he’d done what he needed to do without nearly …

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Live from the Masters: Wondering about rain, Rory and Phil

Here's Phil Mickelson, noted horticulturist. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Here we see Mr. Phil Mickelson, noted horticulturist. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Augusta – Back at the press center. Play underway. Thirty percent chance of thunderstorms.

Ian Woosnam has completed four holes. His scores: 4-4-4-4. I’m thinking about posting this pertinent information on foursquare, as soon as I figure out what foursquare is.

Theme of the day, as best I can discern: Can Rory McIlroy, tied for first after Round 1, break 80? (At the 2010 British Open, he opened, as it were, with a 63. He followed that with the aforementioned 80?)

Subplot: Can Phil Mickelson, the overwhelming favorite and the people’s choice, make his move, or does he wait until the weekend? By his standards, Mickelson had a fairly serene opening round — three birdies (two on par-5’s, which should count as only a half-birdie) and one bogey. I’m planning on watching Phil a bit, so I’ll keep you abreast of developments.

And with that I leave you.

By Mark Bradley

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No longer the world’s best, can Tiger Woods still turn tiger?

Tiger Woods tees off in the 75th Masters. (AP photo)

Tiger Woods tees off in the 75th Masters. This shot went straight. Others didn't. (AP photo)

Augusta — At 10:41 a.m. on April 7, 2011, the green-jacketed starter said, “On the tee, Tiger Woods.” The assembled crowd applauded, and one man yelled “Tiger!” rather softly. (A soft yell? Welcome to Augusta National.) The man himself touched the bill of his white cap and then, looking neither right nor left but only dead ahead, sent a big drive down the first fairway.

For the first time since April 10, 1997, Tiger Woods had teed off in the Masters not being favored to win the thing.

That was the year of Tiger’s first Masters victory, and he arrived here ranked No. 1 in the world every time since. He began the 75th Masters ranked No. 1 no longer — he’s No. 7 — and his recent play has been awful by the standards he set and maintained for more than a decade. He hasn’t won a tournament since he wrecked his Escalade and his marriage the night after Thanksgiving 2009.

That said: He’s still …

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Live from the Masters: My main man Tiger Woods has a cough

Here's Tiger, feeling the pressure of playing for the Bradley college fund. (AP photo)

Here's Tiger, feeling the pressure of playing for the Bradley college fund. (AP photo)

Augusta – I walked the front nine with Tiger Woods, and not just because he was my No. 1 pick in the AJC Masters draft. About which, I probably should explain.

The AJC Masters draft is a tradition like no other. The late and much-missed Tom McCollister instituted it at the communal AJC rental house, wherever said house happened to be that year. Esteemed colleague Steve Hummer now serves as the torchbearer and draft poohbah, and he takes this responsibility very seriously.

(Mr. Hummer also cooks, and well. He prepared the steak and potatoes for our crew Wednesday. It’s the best meal I’ve ever had in Augusta, Ga.)

But enough about food. I drew the No. 5 position from the slips in Mr. Hummer’s NBC Sports cap. (The hat is multi-purpose: Mr. Hummer is wearing it as we speak. He’s two seats down, typing away on Mr. Ken Sugiura’s computers, Mr. Hummer’s first two computers — that’s correct; I said …

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Under Payne, Augusta National acknowledges a world outside

Billy Payne: Master of New Media. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Augusta National chairman Billy Payne. Who figured he'd be Master of New Media? (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Augusta – In reminding us that this is A Tradition Like No Other, the Masters comes perilously close to wallowing in the past.  Nothing about the membership of Augusta National Golf Club (mostly white, mostly old, all male) suggests this crew would be familiar with any cutting edge not manufactured by Gillette.

And here again we realize: Appearances can deceive.

This place may be easy to lampoon, but this famously staid tournament is working to ensure its future. Innovation? From Augusta National? What’s next? Understatement from Lady Gaga?

Billy Payne, Augusta National’s chairman, quoted someone Wednesday — “No public event ever stands still; it either gets better or it gets worse” — and that someone wasn’t Steve Jobs. It was Clifford Roberts, who with Bobby Jones co-founded the Masters 75 years ago. (To his discredit, Roberts also said: “As long as I’m alive, …

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