3-7:30 p.m., ESPN Live coverage (Replay 8-11 p.m.)
11:30-11:45 p.m., CBS Highlight show
10:45 a.m.-6 p.m. Amen Corner live video
11:45 a.m.-7 p.m. Nos. 15 and 16 live video
Noon-7:30 p.m. Featured Group 1 and 2 live video
3-7:30 p.m. Masters In-Depth live video highlights
2 p.m. Masters Radio live audio of action
Saturday, 3:30-7 p.m., CBS Live coverage of third round
Sunday, 2-7 p.m., CBS Live coverage of fourth round
11:45 a.m.-6 p.m. Amen Corner live video
12:30-6:30 p.m Nos. 15 and 16 live video
12:30-7 p.m. Featured Group 1 and 2 live video
3:30-7 p.m. (Saturday) Masters In-Depth live video highlights
2-7 p.m. (Sunday) Masters In-Depth live video highlights
2 p.m. Masters Radio live audio of final rounds
http://www.golf.com/tour-and-news/se...1_a0&eref=sihpTiger Woods and Rory McIlroy bumped into each other on the putting green earlier this week, two alpha dogs sharing space at Augusta National Golf Club.
They had a private conversation in front of a gallery of hundreds, each golfer standing with his shoulders back and his chest high, each possessing the unmistakable air of a winner.
Woods turned to walk away first, the elder signaling to the younger that their chat was over and it was time to return to work. McIlroy lingered for a moment and then dutifully followed suit.
It was a brief encounter in what many believe could be a decade of jousting in major championships -- a decade that could begin during this year’s Masters.
“He has all of the makings of being a great champion for a long period of time,” Woods said of McIlroy. “He’s very feisty.”
After three months of delicious prologue, the most anticipated Masters in recent memory is nigh, with the potential for a collision of leading men on golf’s grandest stage.
From the craggy shoreline of the West Coast to the swaying palms of Florida, the 2012 season has been steadily building to a crescendo in Augusta. Phil Mickelson threw the first salvo of the year, besting Woods by 11 shots in the final round of his win at Pebble Beach in February. McIlroy entered the fray at the Honda Classic in March, holding off Woods to briefly seize the No. 1 ranking.
Then two weeks ago, at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Woods awoke from a 30-month slumber to win by five shots at Bay Hill, an ideal appetizer before his 18th appearance at the Masters.
Luke Donald won in Tampa, Justin Rose in Miami, Hunter Mahan in Tucson and Houston. So many big names playing at a high level at the same time, so many believing they can win the Masters.
“Obviously, [Woods and McIlroy] garner the most attention right now, [but] I think it’s a little na´ve to say that they are the only two that have a chance to win around here,” said Donald, the current No. 1 player in the world. “Just in the last three or four years of majors, I don’t think there’s been a multiple winner. There’s a chance for a lot of people to win this week.”
Said Lee Westwood: “You could probably pick out 30 guys. Rory has never won here. Tiger’s not won here since 2005. I think Phil might have a little bit of something to say about that. Luke might. I might.”
Not since Woods’s chase for a fourth consecutive major at the 2001 Masters has the energy around Augusta National been so charged, with loud roars echoing through the pines during practice rounds.
Even the Masters fledglings believe they can fight their way into the mix, their lack of tournament rounds at Augusta National notwithstanding.
Scott Stallings, who earned his Masters badge by winning last year’s Greenbrier Classic, played his 16th practice round at the course Tuesday. (His first one was on Dec. 10.) Every time out he says he picks up a nuance from the course, the way a green breaks or a fairway runs. Each time he feels more comfortable.
“My game sets up good [here],” Stallings said. “I hit it far and fairly straight. We all know what we have to do. It all comes down to doing it.”
Webb Simpson, also playing in his first Masters, has gleaned course tidbits from his veteran caddie, Paul Tesori, and tried to narrow the knowledge gap between himself and players like Mickelson and Woods.
“This is [Tesori’s] 11th Masters, and he told me he’s seen the course in all types of conditions,” Simpson said. “You need to know where you can miss shots here. There are certain holes where you cannot get it up and down, and you just have to know where you can chip the ball close and hopefully get up and down for pars.”
Mickelson speculated that the showers that have peppered Augusta National could leave the course more vulnerable to low scores, and that Masters newbies would have less fear of a softened course. That may be the case, and the Masters does occasionally turn out a surprise winner, but the 2012 version of the year’s first major tournament seems headed for something memorable and perhaps historic.
Too many top players are peaking. Too many know what’s at stake. Mickelson, who will be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame next month, can tie Woods and Arnold Palmer with four green jackets. Woods can nab his fifth green jacket and 15th major, closing the gap on Jack Nicklaus’s record six Masters victories and 18 major championships. McIlroy can add a second major and obliterate the memories of last year’s Sunday meltdown at Augusta National.
“This is the week we look forward to the most,” Mickelson said.
http://www.golf.com/tour-and-news/hi...1_a3&eref=sihpWith his game and his words, Tiger Woods shows this is his Masters to lose
Here it comes, the opposite of going out on a limb: Tiger Woods is the most likely winner of this week's Masters. When I say he's back, I don't mean that I guarantee he's going to win his fifth Masters this week. Four lipped-out putts -- or a Phil Mickelson onslaught -- could change that in a heartbeat. But I've seen enough from Tiger in the last six months, and heard enough on Tuesday, to be convinced.
Assuming he stays healthy, Tiger is going to win more tournaments and more major championships and yes, at least one more Masters. It will happen sooner or later. Forced to wager, I'd take sooner and give the points.
There are only two things you really need to study to understand where Tiger's game is right this minute, two days before he tees it up with Miguel Angel Jimenez and Sang-Moon Bae: the way he played in his blowout win at Bay Hill two weeks ago, and what he said at Augusta National on Tuesday.
Woods didn't muster even a hint of a satisfied smile when he told a roomful of the world's golfing media that he has more shots now than he did in 2000, his greatest year of golf. For overall consistency, Woods added, he's hitting it as well now as he did then. He said it so matter-of-factly that it should be scary to his competition. He doesn't think he's ready to win the Masters this week, he knows it.
"I'm driving the ball much better than I have," he said. "I've got some heat behind it, and it's very straight. My iron game is improving... As far as controlling the ball, yeah, I feel like I'm hitting the ball just as consistently day-in and day-out as I did then."
Then, you may recall, included four major championships in a row, a feat so singular that it earned its own name -- the Tiger Slam.
Sometimes things are almost too obvious, like Kentucky winning the NCAA basketball championship. The Wildcats were the best team, by far, and the question shouldn't have been, Could Kentucky beat an NBA team? It should have been, Could Kansas beat an NBA team? That's what they were facing in the championship game. It used to be the same on the PGA Tour. There was Tiger, and everyone else.
This has the feel of a milestone Masters. Mickelson has revived his putting and looks once again like a guy who can win anywhere, anytime. Luke Donald won the Transitions and has regained the No. 1 ranking. Lee Westwood has never been fitter and looks as if he's gone all-in this year in his drive to win a major. Hunter Mahan is reaching his potential. Young stars like Kyle Stanley, who hits it a mile and has Vijay Singh's lunch-pail work ethic, are making a name for themselves.
But most of all, there's Rory McIlroy. The world's golf writers have fallen hard for Rory. He's friendly and charming and open and pleasant -- all the things Tiger has never been. Last year Rory had his memorable Masters meltdown followed by a rising-from-adversity romp at the U.S. Open. The media saw it as a changing-of-the-guard moment, what with Tiger's game and body apparently in tatters. The media has decreed this Masters as the official start of the Rory-Tiger rivalry, but that's almost certainly wrong. Even young Rory knows this isn't about him vs. Tiger. "It's not about two or three guys; there are 80-plus players in this field," he said. "Every guy has to think about himself and play the course as best he can. That's all you can do in any tournament."
Actually, this is the same old rivalry, Tiger vs. Everyone, The Sequel. And it's only a matter of time, possibly a matter of days, before we resume Tiger vs. Jack's 18 major titles, a story we were once sure we'd write, then sure we would never write.
The signs are there. Tiger repeated his favorite new clichÚ here Tuesday when he talked about the state of his game and his gradual improvement being "a process." Dull stuff, as usual, from the man who doesn't like to give away anything to anyone. But it's accurate. We've seen Tiger slowly rebuild his game from the ground up. He showed signs of superior ballstriking at the Presidents Cup in November, then showed a little of his old clutch form when he won a PGA Tour-sanctioned golf outing in December that Tiger hosts and insists on counting as a W. Even if winning an 18-man outing was something of a mirage (OK, totally a mirage), it worked for Tiger's confidence, and that was enough.
There was that closing 62 at the Honda Classic that put a scare into McIlroy, and moments of contending in the Middle East and at Pebble Beach.
"I've been putting together two good rounds, eventually three and now four," Woods said Tuesday, "so I just had to keep sticking with it. You can see the numbers. I've been in contention the end of last year and most of this year. I'm just continuing the process."
This week, his swing looks better than it has since his pre-Hank Haney days, and his ballstriking at Bay Hill backed up that observation. (Tiger's quote about hitting it the best he has in years, with Sean Foley's help, was also a dig at Haney's legacy.)
Take another look at Bay Hill in the rearview mirror. Most of the field finished more than a touchdown behind Woods. Even Graeme McDowell, playing his best golf since his U.S. Open victory, couldn't keep up with him through the final nine and finished five shots back. This is how Tiger used to play, remember? At his best, he was unbeatable. Playing well, he usually won. Playing average, he still had a chance.
Take another look at the last two Masters in the rearview mirror. Tiger's game was in shambles, he had no discernible confidence or swing thoughts, and there were distractions galore, including an impertinent skywriter. Playing on guts and guile and whatever's behind the fašade of Tiger Woods, he finished fourth twice. Now he's got a swing and a short game straight out of 2001 -- a golf odyssey may be on deck.
"People are quick to forget," McIlroy said. He reminded writers about Tiger's winning the 2008 U.S. Open on one good leg, and that Woods can do things that others can't. "You don't win 14 majors and 70-odd PGA Tour events for nothing, you know."
To bounce back from where Tiger has been, McIlroy said, takes time. At 22 (he'll turn 23 next month), McIlroy's time is coming.
Starting this week, it may well be Tiger's time once more. Whatever happens, it'll be a Masters to remember.
made a three-way bet with my brother and dad. I took Luke Donald, bro took Rory, and dad took Tiger. Should be interesting
http://espn.go.com/golf/masters12/st...ad-botching-18On a day when he was clearly off his recent form, Tiger Woods emerged from the first round of the Masters fortunate to still be in touch with the leaders.
Saying he had a poor warm-up session prior to the year's first major championship, Woods bogeyed the last two holes at Augusta National Golf Club to shoot even-par 72.
Five times Woods missed fairways to the left with badly hooked shots off the tee, including the first, second and 18th holes. He was four shots behind leader Louis Oosthuizen.
"Today I squeezed a lot out of that round," Woods said. "Didn't hit it very good at all. Warmed up bad, too, and it continued on the golf course. I just felt my way around today. I really grinded, stayed very present. And you know, I know how to play this golf course. I think it's just understanding what I need to do."
Woods headed to the driving range immediately after briefly discussing his round with reporters.
Scotland's Paul Lawrie, Spain's Angel Miguel Jimenez -- who played with Woods -- and Italy's Francesco Molinari shot 3-under-par 69s. Sweden's Henrik Stenson got to 6 under at one point but made a record-tying 8 on the final hole to drop back.
"This golf course is playing too difficult to go super low on," Woods said. "What Henrik was doing early, that was pretty impressive. Some of these pins are really tough. No one was tearing it up."
The 14-time major champion, who has won the Masters four times, came to Augusta off his first official victory in more than two years. He won the Arnold Palmer Invitational on March 25 and figured to be a strong contender here, where he has not finished worse than sixth since his last victory in 2005.
And he still may be.
Significant rain preceding the tournament left Augusta National soft but playing long, and officials appeared to set up the course more difficult to combat it. While there are many scores under par, there are not a lot of low ones.
Woods hit just six of 14 fairways and 12 of 18 greens and was 0 for 3 from the sand. But he needed just 29 putts.
He got off to a poor start, snap hooking his drives on both the first and second holes, the tee shot on the second hole requiring him to take an unplayable lie. But Woods scrambled to make par at both holes, then finally found a fairway and green at the third and made his first birdie.
His only front-nine bogey came at the seventh when his ball collected mud and his second shot landed in a front bunker. Woods then followed with birdies at the eighth and 10th holes but was unable to make birdies at either of the back-nine par-5s.
Woods found the back bunker at the par-5 13th and then blasted long, then hit a poor drive left at the 15th, meaning he had to lay up. A poor drive led to another bogey at the 17th when he failed to get up and down from a greenside bunker, and then another bad drive at the 18th caused him to take another unplayable lie and a penalty stroke.
Absolutely," he said. "I didn't warm up well. I hit a few loose ones, but I said just stay committed. Whatever happens, just stay committed on each and every shot. I did that. I really stayed committed to what I was doing.
"I made some bad swings. That's fine. My commitment to each and every shot, what I was doing, my alignment, my setup, everything was something that I'm excited about and I can take some positives going into tomorrow about that. Granted, it might be late tomorrow, but at least I have something to build on."
Woods was referencing his late tee time and the fact that a poor weather forecast could cause problems on Friday.
Only once in 18 Masters has Woods broke 70 in the first round. That came two years ago, when he was returning after a five-month layoff, and shot 68. Woods has broken 70 during the first round of a major on 14 occasions, and seven times went on to win.
"He's been No. 1 before and now he's not there but his game is there," Jimenez said. "And he's only 36, and he's on top of the wave. It's his passion. He's a great player. It was always nice to play with him before and it's nice to play with him now.
"I think he's playing very, very well. The only thing is from the tee on this golf course, you are not in the right place from the tee, you have nothing to do here. And he's managed to make -- he finished level par, he finished bogey, bogey, and as I say, he's playing very well."
Phil really stepped on his dick today.
I'd like to see Westwood finally win his first major
I can't believe he hasn't at this point. The way he's playing, he's my favorite to win.
Last edited by pGekko; 04-05-2012 at 10:19 PM.
I enjoy listening to woman on cnbc debate whether women should be allowed in Augusta...
rory on fire today early
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