Thursday, April 6, 2017

2017 Masters First Day

Can't let the Masters go by without talking about it here on the HP.  I'm not as eloquent as GoHeath but I can give my thoughts.

Golf fans will often say that spring starts with the Masters and I can see that.  It's so much fun sitting around on Sunday after church, with a warm sun and cool breeze outside, while men play golf on television in a beautiful setting.  

When I was at Heath I was on the golf team and we always started practice starting March 1st, so to me for a while that was the start of spring.  Even living in Northern Idaho where it is too cold to really get out and play consistently, I still start to feel the itch to get out and play golf on March 1st.  

Now that I think about this I'll give you my spring starts activities. 

Up to age 15 spring started when the Daytona 500 ran.
Age 15-26 spring started March 1st.
Age 26-31 spring started with MLB opening day.
Age 32-34 spring started with our first hike of the year.
Age 35-Present spring starts when I can get out on my bike consistently.

The big news so far today at the Masters is that Dustin Johnson, the number 1 player in the world, had to withdraw after he had a bad fall yesterday at his rental house.  Very sad.  

Look to comments for more thoughts on today's round.  


  1. The day is sunny but the wind is strong and so scores are high. With about half of the people through amen corner there has been 1 birdie on 11 and the leaders are sitting at -2.

    Justin Rose just sank a birdie put on 13 to go to -2 and into a three way tie for the lead.

  2. Ever since the Masters has started providing the live streaming I enjoy watching the Amen Corner coverage. Every year I'm amazed at just how hard 11 is for the players. I don't really understand why it is so difficult. I'll have to try and look into that, I'm sure there is something out there that explains why that hole is so incredibly hard.

  3. I've been away for a bit. We have a new leader, Matthew Fitzpatrick is at -3 with one hole left to play. Phil Mickelson is at -1 with two holes left to play.

  4. Oh wow went away again and came back to find that Fitzpatrick had finished at -1. McGirt and Dufner are now tied for the lead at -3. McGirt is on 18, Dufner is on 15.

  5. William McGirt posts a 69 and sits in the clubhouse as the lone leader at -3. Charley Hoffman on 12 and Jason Dufner on 16 both sit at -2.

  6. Charley Hoffman is now at -4 through 14. I'm off for a bit.

  7. So I go away and miss Charley Hoffman birdie 4 of the last five holes to shoot a 65 and take a four stroke lead.

  8. With only a few golfers left on the course we have 11 players under par. The wind is not expected to be as strong tomorrow.

    -7 Charley Hoffman (USA)
    -3 William McGirt (USA)
    -2 Lee Westwood (Eng)
    -1 Russell Henley (USA)
    -1 Kevin Chappell (USA)
    -1 Andy Sullivan (Eng)
    -1 Matthew Fitzpatrick (Eng)
    -1 Phil Mickelson (USA)
    -1 Justin Rose (Eng)
    -1 Jason Dufner (USA)
    -1 Sergio Garcia (Spa)

  9. I'm so glad you posted this, because I got a hotel USA Today the other morning and it said that the last several Masters champions all were among the top 10 of their tournaments after the first round. This really surprised me because my impression of the first rounds of the majors is that ...

    -- one, they are dominated by Lee Westwood, Fred Couples and guys I've hardly heard of (none of whom is actually going to win);

    -- the eventual winners lurk well off the pace, and

    -- a few big names play so poorly that they leave themselves too far behind to actually contend later in the tournament.

    So: You can't win a major on Thursday, but you can lose it. That sort of thing.

  10. Anyway, here's the top 10 through two rounds:

    -4 Rickie Fowler (USA)
    -4 Sergio Garcia (Spain)
    -4 Charley Hoffman (USA)
    -4 Thomas Pieters (Belgium)
    -2 William McGirt (USA)
    -1 Fred Couples (USA)
    -1 Ryan Moore (USA)
    -1 Jon Rahm (Spain)
    -1 Justin Rose (England)
    0 Phil Mickelson (USA)
    0 Adam Scott (Australia)
    0 Jordan Spieth (USA)

    That's an awfully pleasing leaderboard for a run-of-the-mill golf fan like me, who is paying attention pretty much only during the majors. But, in fact, maybe the key list to keep in mind in terms of figuring out who is going to actually win is that top 10 list from Thursday that you posted: Hoffman, McGirt, Westwood, Chappell, Dufner, Fitzpatrick, Garcia, Henley, Mickelson, Rose and Sullivan.

  11. I am rooting for Matt Kuchar (who is 1-over after two rounds), Fowler, Mickelson and Spieth. Also, I'm keeping an eye on the greatest player in the world, Justin Rose.

  12. Hearing Jim Nantz come on CBS for the third round just makes me all mad about UNC again.

  13. OK, Jordan Spieth (1-under, four behind leader Charley Hoffman) has a 10-foot eagle try coming up on No. 8 in his third round, and its result is going to have a lot of bearing on how much spring cleaning gets done around my house this weekend.

  14. Jim Nantz primes our pumps for the Spieth moment with a replay of the Arnold Palmer moment of silence and Gary Player/Jack Nicklaus tee shots from Thursday morning.

  15. Birdie ... Spieth is now 2-under through eight.

  16. And now back to Hoffman ... birdie at No. 4 ... he's two clear of the field.

  17. Getting good, getting good ...

    -6 Hoffman (through 40 of 72 holes)

    -4 Fowler (41)
    -4 Garcia (40)
    -4 McGirt (41)

    -3 Pieters (41)

    -2 Paul Casey (45)
    -2 Rahm (42)
    -2 Spieth (44)

  18. McGirt and Casey both give back shots, and now Spieth zips a 158-yard second shot to within about two feet of the cup on No. 9 ...

    Dan Jenkins has been stumping on Twitter for a Sergio win, and, with his playing partner Hoffman parring No. 5, Garcia is within a stroke of the lead after a birdie at the same hole ...

  19. Nantz points out that--with the exception of Mickelson, who has played 3-over today, and Spieth, who has played 3-under--the top 10 is all about where they were at the start of today ...

    -5 Garcia (44 holes)
    -5 Hoffman (44)

    -4 Fowler (45)

    -3 Pieters (45)
    -3 Rahm (47)
    -3 Spieth (48)

    -2 McGirt (46)
    -2 Moore (46)
    -2 Rose (48)
    -2 Scott (48)

  20. Hoffman rolls in a birdie putt to finish his front nine today, and Nantz pulls out a Craig Stadler reference to commemorate the husky San Diego 40-year-old's retaking the tournament lead (6-under, two ahead of Fowler and Garcia, who bogeyed No. 9 right after Hoffman's birdie ...

  21. ... and SPIETH, who is rewarded for a couple of early par saves on the back nine with a simple-looking birdie on No. 13).

  22. Hey, Adam Scott's using a real putter, and he sinks a 15-foot birdie putt at No. 13 to move to 3-under. Several minutes ago, Fowler bogeyed No. 10 to fall back to 3-under. And now the greatest player in the world, Rose, makes a five-footer for bird on No. 13. Got some reshuffling among the pack just off the leaders. Good tournament.

  23. -6 Hoffman (46 holes)

    -4 Garcia (46)
    -4 Spieth (49)

    -3 Fowler (46)
    -3 Moore (48)
    -3 Pieters (46)
    -3 Rose (49)
    -3 Scott (49)

  24. Spieth's tee shot at No. 15 bounds through the gallery and into some tree traffic, and here comes the signature self-flagellation, which, OK, maybe it works for him, but I doubt it.

  25. But, for sure, it seems to have worked for him here. Spieth gets around the trees and back out into the open fairway with his second shot, and then he sails and amazing wedge shot over the pond and to the back of the green on 15, which then rolls to within just a few inches of the hole. CBS shows him pumping a fist on the walk to the hole, and then he taps in for a birdie. Jordan Spieth scored a nine on this hole on Thursday, but, with the birdie at No. 15 today, Spieth is 5-under for the tournament and in second place alone, one stroke behind Charley Hoffman.

  26. -6 Hoffman (47 holes)

    -5 Spieth (51)

    -4 Garcia (47)
    -4 Moore (49)

    -3 Fowler (48)
    -3 Rose (50)
    -3 Scott (50)

  27. Hey, excellent! I just realized that Verne Lundquist apparently only quit doing college football last year! He just described Jordan Spieth's first putt on the par-3 No. 16, so Verne's still doing golf. That's outstanding.

  28. Verne on the mike: "Jordan Spieth ... for par ... first blemish of the day ... so, a three-putt from 60 feet."

  29. -6 Hoffman (48 holes)

    -4 Fowler (49)
    -4 Garcia (48)
    -4 Moore (49)
    -4 Rose (51)
    -4 Spieth (52)

  30. On No. 13, Garcia survives an adventure into a ravine just short of the green. People were cheering, and CBS surmised that they were happy to see that the ball stopped short of going into the water. Sergio made the most of the good fortune and turned it into a birdie to break from the 4-under pack, momentarily moving to within one of the lead.

    But then his playing partner, steady Hoffman got his own birdie to improve to 7-under and fluff back out the two-stroke cushion.

  31. On No. 14, Hoffman's tee shot lands in some pine straw, and he faces a second shot in which he'll need to thread between trees toward the green. This is absolutely the kind of shot that most anyone would ricochet off the tree and further off the fairway. But not steady Charley ... his ball sails safely long of the hole.

    The greatest player in the world birdies No. 17, and now he's tied with Garcia at second-place 5-under.

  32. Spieth leaves himself four feet for par on No. 18.

    Hoffman leaves himself about 16 for same on No. 14.

  33. Spieth yes. Par. 4-under (68 today).

  34. -6 Hoffman (50 holes)

    -5 Garcia (50)
    -5 Rose (53)

    -4 Fowler (50)
    -4 Moore (51)
    -4 Spieth (54)

  35. Fowler birdies No. 15, and he joins the second-place tie at 5-under.

  36. Well, heck, I went outside, and the greatest player in the world just closed out his third round with another birdie. Justin Rose is now tied with Charley Hoffman for the lead, at 6-under.

  37. Oh, and now here's Hoffman working with the course officials to move spectators away from his ball ... we've got some real turbulence here at the end of Saturday.

  38. Hoffman scrambles to save par on the par-5 No. 15, and that's a missed opportunity. Then Sergio steps up and sinks his birdie putt to move to 6-under and a three-way tie for the lead with his playing partner and the greatest player in the world.

  39. Well, heck, now it's officially off the rails for good, old Charley Hoffman. It's a double-bogey on the par-3 No. 16, and suddenly Garcia and Rose are going all Ryder Cup Revenge up in here!

  40. -6 Garcia (52 holes)
    -6 Rose (54)
    -5 Fowler (53)
    -4 Hoffman (52)
    -4 Moore (53)
    -4 Spieth (54)

  41. Charley Hoffman has two holes to play, and it doesn't look like he's having a lick of fun, squinting in the late-afternoon sun. If I were him, I'd want to go sit in a dark, air-conditioned room with a big icy Diet Coke and watch some old NFL Films or an old Partridge Family or something.

  42. The CBS crew is now debriefing us on the last few shots of Charley Hoffman's decline. I hope Charley Hoffman messed up and set his VCR to quit recording CBS at 5:31 or 5:32 this evening; he doesn't want to see this.

  43. Phew. Charley's short par putt on No. 17 tumbles over the front lip.

    -6 Garcia (53 holes)
    -6 Rose (54)
    -5 Fowler (53)
    -4 Hoffman (53)
    -4 Moore (54)
    -4 Spieth (54)
    -3 Scott (54)
    -2 Pieters (53)
    -2 Schwartzel (54)
    -1 Westwood (54)

  44. Fowler ... about six feet for par on No. 18 ... dunks it in ... Nantz: "A boost going into the night!"

  45. Hoffman's second shot on No. 18 lands about hole high but well left of the cup, and then it rolls backward every bit of 40 feet.

    Somebody needs to be a champ and go pick up Charley in a cart and drive him up to the green to close this baby out. I always liked to go get an original-recipe three-piece dinner at the Lone Oak Kentucky Fried Chicken after a late afternoon at Rolling Hills like good, old Charley is having right now.

  46. Hooray! Hoffman gets his two-putt par on No. 18, and he whips off his cap and flashes his first grin of the last 90 minutes.

    Sergio gets his par, too, after an adventurous 18th. And that's your third round.

  47. I wonder if Wikipedia already has its third round wrap-up posted ...

  48. Masters through three rounds:

    -6 Sergio García (age 37, of Borriol, Castellón, Spain)
    -6 Justin Rose (36, Johannesburg, South Africa)

    -5 Rickie Fowler (28, Murrieta, California)

    -4 Charley Hoffman (40, San Diego, California)
    -4 Ryan Moore (34, Tacoma, Washington)
    -4 Jordan Spieth (23, Dallas)

    -3 Adam Scott (36, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia)

    -2 Charl Schwartzel (32, Johannesburg, South Africa)

    -1 Thomas Pieters (25, Geel, Belgium)
    -1 Lee Westwood (43, Worksop, Nottinghamshire, England)

  49. Jason Sobel‏ @JasonSobelESPN

    Final two pairings tomorrow:

    Justin Rose-Sergio Garcia
    Rickie Fowler-Jordan Spieth

    That work for you guys?
    6:09 PM - 8 Apr 2017

  50. OK, here we go ...

    -7 Garcia (56 holes)
    -6 Fowler (57)
    -6 Rose (56)
    -5 Hoffman (58)
    -3 Spieth (57)

  51. Sergio Garcia rolls in a bending putt on No. 3 for his second birdie of the afternoon, and now he's at 8-under and two ahead of the field.

    Adam Scott joins Jordan Spieth at 3-under.

    Rickie Fowler misses just left on a 10-footer for par on No. 4, and now only Justin Rose is within two of Garcia.

  52. Dan Jenkins‏ @danjenkinsgd
    Sergio's not only playing well, he's getting help from the others.
    2:31 PM - 9 Apr 2017

  53. Charley Hoffman misses at No. 5, back to 4-under.

    Justin Rose's tee shot on the par-3 No. 4 rolls to about 90 feet from the cup.

    As Dan Jenkinsgd said, everything's turning up Sergio at the moment.

  54. Ryder Cup Revenge …

    -8 Garcia (59 holes)
    -5 Rose (59)
    -4 Casey (63)
    -4 Fowler (60)
    -3 Moore (61)
    -3 Scott (61)

  55. Jim Nantz tells us that, of the last eight golfers to tee off today, only Sergio is under par thus far today.

  56. Rose gets a birdie at No. 6, so now he's back within two strokes of his playing partner, Garcia, with 12 to play.

  57. No. 7 ... we're starting to have a little drama in the last pairing. Garcia is playing through the trees along the right of the fairway, while Rose is on the green with about five feet to putt for bird ...

  58. Sergio gets out of a green-side bunker with a pop that then rolls back toward within about six feet of the hole. He'll have that putt for par.

  59. He gets it. The ball rims around the right side of the cup and curls in. Sergio holds at 8-under.

    And Rose gets his birdie, so the greatest player in the world is now back within one of the Masters lead.

  60. Fowler taps in on No. 8 for birdie (a lot of people are birdie-ing this one today), and he's back to even on the day and 5-under for the tournament, three back of Garcia's lead.

  61. -8 Garcia (61 holes)
    -7 Rose (61)
    -5 Fowler (62)
    -3 Casey (65)
    -3 Hoffman (62)
    -3 Moore (62)
    -3 Schwartzel (64)

  62. This has been a very good tournament but not a very good Sunday.

  63. But it's picking up steam. Rose knocks in his third birdie in a row at No. 8, and now he and Garcia are tied at 8-under.

  64. -8 Garcia (62 holes)
    -8 Rose (62)
    -5 Fowler (63)
    -4 Schwartzel (65)
    -3 Casey (66)
    -3 Moore (64)
    -3 Pieters (66)

  65. Fowler, Casey and Rose miss birdie tries in short order, and then CBS tunes in to my main man, Matt Kuchar, getting a fairway-iron shot to loop to within just a few feet of the hole on No. 13. He's 2-under for the tournament.

    Then Rose and Garcia finish off pars on No. 9. Our leaders are both out with 2-under 34s.

  66. I really wish we had been labeling all of our majors posts with the two-digit year after "Masters," "U.S. Open," "British Open" or "PGA Championship." Maybe I'll go back and do that for all of them someday.

    Anyway, here's where Charl Schwartzel won the 2011 Masters.

    Wait. It occurs to me that I might've indexed all of these majors winners in one post. Maybe I'll run across that one.

  67. Hold up, yo. Kuch birdied 14. He's now 3-under and T5. Good for Matt Kuchar!

  68. Matt Kuchar is the James Garner of the PGA Tour.

  69. OK, here's Sergio for his second shot on No. 10 ... he's starting to look a little peaked to me ...

  70. Garcia's in pine straw to the right of the green.

    Rose's second shot also isn't on the green--I didn't see where it landed.

  71. Thomas Pieters birdies and Rickie Fowler bogeys to join Schwartzel at 4-under. With half of their final-round holes to be carded, Garcia and Rose share a four-stroke lead.

  72. Tangling into a tree branch with his backswing, Garcia gets out of the pine straw on one side of the No. 10 green and rolls to the fringe on the opposite. He's got a long way to save par.

    Rose chips to within about six feet.

    Garcia putts it about a foot past, and he gets out of his mess on 10 with just one stroke taken on: 7-under. At the moment, the greatest player in the world leads the Masters by himself.

  73. And Justin Rose rolls in the nervy par putt to preserve his 8-under through 65 holes.

  74. And CBS goes to our old, young friend, Jordan Spieth. He's 3-over today, so you know it's either going to be very good or very bad. It's very bad--into the water on No. 12.

    Jordan, take heart. I went into the water several times in the 1986 First Region tournament, and I've bounced back just fine.


  76. One for Kuch on No. 16, and the 38-year-old from Winter Park, Florida, is 5-under and tied with Schwartzel for third! Then he signs the ball and gives it to some boy on the rope line. GOOD FOR MATT KUCHAR!

  77. Well, now here's Sergio in some more pine straw, and the tree is a lot bigger this time. What the heck's happening with Sergio?

  78. You know, it's just fun to say "Sergio." What a beautiful name, "Sergio García."

  79. Very nice shot. Sergio gets the ball around the tree and hits a bouncer onto a mound to the right and high of the green. The ball rolls back onto the green on the par-4 11th.

    But par saves aren't going to do it against the greatest player in the world. Justin Rose's second shot leaves him with a manageable putt for birdie.

  80. There he is. Here's Matt Kuchar.

  81. Well, there's groans from the CBS crew as Kuch misses long left on No. 17.

  82. -8 Rose (65 holes)
    -6 García (65)
    -6 Pieters (69)
    -5 Kuchar (71)

  83. Kuch needs another ace on No. 18.

  84. By the way, the current top four in the Masters finished 1, T8, 4 and 3 in the fantastic men's golf tournament in the Olympics last summer.

  85. I cannot wait until the 2018 Winter and 2020 Summer Olympics!

  86. Nantz, obviously following the HP, points out that the leaderboard "looks a lot like Rio."

    Jim, welcome to the HP. Sorry about all of the snide comments over the years.

  87. CBS reports that it is working to confirm the location of García's No. 13 tee shot. This is starting to sound like a wrap for the greatest player int he world, Justin Rose.

  88. But then a guy goes out to get a hamburger; Sergio steadies and fires birdie-eagle over 14-15; Rose gets his own bird at No. 15, and now both the leaders land tee shots within 15 feet of the hole on the par-3 16th.

    Amid all of that excitement, Schwartzel shut it down with a birdie on No. 18 to finish at 6-under for the tournament. He's the new leader in the clubhouse--and almost certainly will remain so until either García or Rose win this thing.

  89. -10 Rose (70 holes)
    -9 García (70)
    -6 Schwartzel (72)
    -5 Kuchar (72)
    -5 Pieters (72)

  90. Rose's 17th tee shot flies into the "second cut," as CBS calls it, of taller grass just to the right of the fairway.

    García's drive lands in the middle of the fairway.

  91. Rose's second shot looks great--apparently even to Rose himself, as he starts walking toward the hole with the club still erect at the top of his followthrough. But it turns out, over the hill and through the woods, that the ball landed in the center of a bunker just beside the No. 17 green.

    Then Sergio puts his second ball within about 10 feet of the cup.

  92. Rose rolls his bunker shot to about eight feet.

    García leaves his birdie try three feet short.

    Rose for par: edges off to the right. Taps in for bogey. Back to 9-under.

    García for par ...

  93. Good! Sunday's final pair walk to the tournament's 72nd hole tied at 9-under.

  94. With Sergio setting up to drive, there is a giant roar from the 18th green gallery as the tournament officials post Rose's No. 17 bogey that brought the leaders even again.

  95. Jason Sobel‏ @JasonSobelESPN
    Penultimate pairing of Jordan Spieth-Rickie Fowler shot 75-76 today.
    5:47 PM - 9 Apr 2017

  96. The drives land within about 10 yards of each other. Rose's second shot kicks off a ridge between a bunker and the green and rolls to within about 12 feet, almost perfectly in line with the shadow of the flag. Sergio's second takes a more direct route, punching just right of the pin and rolling to within about five feet behind the hole.

    Amazing stuff.

  97. I think Nantz has decided that Sergio's going to finally get his major; he's talking about García's upcoming wedding.

  98. Rose's putt looks perfect, but NO! It sails just right of the cup, and the greatest player in the world covers his mouth in shock.

    Taps in for par. Finishes 9-under.

    Sergio for the win ...?

  99. If Sergio could have hit either put on 17 or 18.

    1. Oh, this is exciting that you were watching--I missed this comment until just now.

  100. But then Sergio wins it.

    Rose's tee shot flew left into the trees. He got a fortunate bounce away from a lot of the interference, but the ball was still resting on pine straw. He missed his second shot, landing only slightly closer to the hole than Sergio's drive.

    García's pitch got to within about 10 feet of the hole. Rose gave it a go, getting to within about 15 feet and then putting just right of the cup on his par try. That left Sergio with two shots to win the tournament, and he needed only one--the ball spiraled clockwise around the back and into the cup for the birdie and victory.

  101. If it was going to be either Rose or Sergio, I'm glad Sergio won.

  102. They were both part of that first day top 11.

    1. There you go.

      I like them both. I was pulling for Justin Rose, because it was kind of like rooting for the Olympics. But Sergio did well in Rio, too, so this worked out fine. I was mostly happy that Matt Kuchar came in so strong and that Verne Lundquist bubbled up on the CBS broadcast every now and again.