TG Masters 2009 Blog

Published:

Masters 2009

SUNDAY, APRIL 12, 7.34pm

Phil Mickelson came, he saw and he oh-so-nearly conquered.

He was on a proper charge. And just when all the aggression, all the momentum seemed to be leading to one inevitable conclusion, the wheels on the battlebus came abruptly off.

They were, in fact, thrown into Rae's Creek on the 12th hole. He tried to put them back on with his bare hands, but the nuts never stayed in place after that.

An easy birdie putt was missed on the 17th and a bogey on the 12th handed the title to someone else.

That someone else was El Plato - The Duck! Cabrera's acceptance speech and thank-yous lost a little in translation - literally!

And so - one of the most dramatic Sundays in Masters history - came to an end. Good job, it was getting dark as the last two mean standing - Cabrera and Kenny Perry played the second play-off hole.

SUNDAY, APRIL 12, 8.30am

Is seven shots behind too much ground to make up?

That's the question that will have been swirling around a few heads last night as some of the world's best prepare to put up one last-ditch attempt to snatch the Masters 2009 title from a few players sitting pretty at the top of the leaderboard.

When Ian Poulter finished his fine round of 68 yesterday to put himself on four under - seven back - he even said then... "Seven may be a push. If we can go out and make birdies... so can the leaders."

One only hopes that with the added pressure of a green jacket hanging over them, the ghosts of Amen Corner may yet have a say in this enthralling contest.

You'd think that with all the talent in the four-under posse.. one is going to come out with all guns blazing and set an early target. And then messrs Cabrera, Perry, Campbell and Furyk had better have their wits about them.

There's Woods and Mickelson, Westwood and Anthony Kim knows he can make up ground - he shot 11 birdies on Friday!

Nick Faldo clawed back a six-shot deficit to beat Greg Norman in 1996 and there's still hope of a surprise or two...

SATURDAY, April 11, 6pm

The Saturday of a Major is known as 'moving day' It's when those a little further back charge through the field and get themselves in contention for the final round.

Only today, there simply wasn't that much moving. Unless reverse gear counts!

Ian Poulter did manage to engage a few gears and did his best with a 68, but come close of play is still some six shots off the lead.

Chad Campbell, Kenny Perry and Angel Cabreara started the day a good few shots ahead of the rest of the field - and ended the same way.

Jim Furyk made a move of sorts. He shot a 68 and ended the day eight under.

As for Tiger and Phil Mickelson - it never really happened and they both need a miracle tomorrow to add another Major to their tallies.

Maybe there'll be some movement tomorrow?!

SATURDAY, April 11, 9am

A few players with early times are warming up on the range at Augusta National.

There are some players who are not here at all. They missed the cut. But, what a fine line there is between success and failure.

Ernie Els is packing his bags after missing the cut by a single shotr. And Greg Norman missed by two shots.

The veteran Aussie was playing solid golf and cruising into the weeknd at one under with two par-5s to play on the back nine. He holed an amazing shot out of the bunker on 12 and all was looking good for another unlikely assault on a Major title.

Then two inexplicable shots on the 13th saw him take a double bogy seven.. and that was that. A long haul home for the White Shark.

Anthony Kim went the other way - and now he's eyeing up the handful of players above him. He went from 75 on day one to 65 on day two. So, it can be done. And those players who have just missed the cut.. will be thinking just that. One more day on the course and it could all come right.

Only they won't get another day - well, not until next year anyway!

FRIDAY, 7pm

Just when it seemed like all the big names were taking the weekend off... someone must have told them that Disney Land was shut!

Suddenly Phil Mickelson got hot with the putter and - even more unlikely - so did Sergio Garcia. He stormed in with a 67 - his first round in the 60s at The Masters since 2004.

Vijay SIngh is three under and could still mount a serious challenge.

The luck of the Irish was NOT smiling on Padraig Harrington as the wind moved his ball on the 15th green. He was judged to have addressed the ball and so was penalised a shot. That saw him end the day two under.

FRIDAY, 11am

Ian Poulter is fighiting his stuttering iron play while one of his playing partners, Steve Wilson, is fighting pretty much the whole course.

Poulter has dropped a shot on the front nine and is now even par - widely predicted to be the cut mark. And while Poulter attempts to keep his Masters weekend bid on track, Wilson is just trying to keep his ball in play!

On the eighth the petrol station owner hooked a drive into the bushes on the left. A brave punch shot out flew across the fiarway and into the can of a camera buggy.

His ball actually landed on the driver's seat. He picked it out, the buggy was moved back (with the cmaermn still on his crane platfrom) and then Wilson hit into the green. He made a par!

The amateur battled to two over for the front nine. But his biggest concern?

He is suffering from really bad blisters! He told a friend in the crowd that his new shoes are making walking difficult. At least he shouldn't need to worry about another two rounds at the weekend!

FRIDAY, 8am

Ian Poulter has been on the range for over an hour in preparation for his 8.22am (1.22pm UK time) tee off. He needs a sub-par round to ensure making the cut - as do a lot of British and European players.

Justin Rose is two over, Luke Donald one over and Paul Casey limped to a level par. If conidtions and course set-up is similar to yesterday, scores will be low again and the cut could well be around the even par mark.

There is a 30 per cent chance of thundertsorms later - then again.. that means there's a 70 mper cent chance there won't be any!

The general feeling is that players out early could get the best of the weather. Tiger is out just before 11am (4pm UK time) and could benefit.

And if the Great One can get a few putts to falll, he should come into the weekend breathing down the necks of the leaders.

He hit 14 greens in regulation on the opening round, but couldn't et many putts to drop.

THURSDAY, 2pm

Gary Player may be making his last Masters appearance but he's still giving the fans something to cheer about. After he hit a 'hole-in-one' (it was his third off the tee) in yesterday's par 3 contest, he was still 'styling it up'!

After chipping his third shot onto the treacherous par-4, 11th, he then rolled a delicious 25-footer in for par.

His total of 78 may not worry the leaders but at 73, he's still more than capable of kncking it around one of the toughest courses in the world in a respectable manner.

Another golden (not-wuite as...) oldie, Ian Woosnam battled to a decent 74. He was struggling with a bad back all the way round and sat down on the benches by the tee at every opportunity.

He made the cut last year and could do so again if he can loosen up his back and stiffen up his putting!

THURSDAY 8am

Anrie Palmer gets it all under way with a straight (yet short) drive down the first. A security guard nips out and pockets the ball saying: “They’d shoot me if I didn’t get this back safe!”

Ian Woosnam made a good start and should have birdied the first and second. He then dropped a shot at the tough, par-3 fourth after putting a bunker shot to within three feet.

He was being watched by close friend Ian Botham and was hanging on around the turn.

WEDNESDAY 3pm

Phil Mickelson looked really out of sorts on the par 3 contest.

He missed the green on the 130-yard first and put two in the water later in his round.

Whether he wasn’t trying or just playing badly, only time will tell. He missed the cut last week in Houston and there’s a big question mark over his putting right now – he’s 108th on the PGA Tour for putts within five feet.

WEDNESDAY, April 8, 8am

The weather is finally starting to brighten up. With the par-3 contest later today it's expected that quite a few players will get out on the course early and get some practise in.

The course is closed from 1pm and it will be players' last chance to tread the fairways of Augusta National before the tournament starts tomorrow.

European rules supremo John Paramor is getting ready for the main event and is expecting there to be some focus on slow play.

Last year there were rounds of over five hours on the final day and it seems unlikely that the powers-that-be will allow that to happen again.

TUESDAY, APRIL 7, 10am

Harrington arrives in the press centre, fresh and relaxed.

He tries to play down talk of driver-swapping and when asked exactly what driver he's using he would only say 'a good one'!

It seems he may be experimenting with something other than a Wilson.

He practised later in the day and was having fun. Although he's only just coming into form he said: "He has prepared as well as he could." But Harrington always like to play down the hype and let others take the limelight - and the pressure.

TUESDAY, APRIL 7, 2pm

Vijay Singh steps to the front of the tee on the 16th to showboat with a skimmer across the water. The ball takes a massive bounce early on its journey and another yards before the green. It then pops up, land in the middle of the green and starts to meander to the hole.

The crowd are on their feet as it trickle to the hole... and then disappears into the cup.

Chants of "Vijay, Vijay, Vijay' echo around the Augusta National course. Vijay holds his arms aloft. Will he be doing the same in five days time?

 

MONDAY, APRIL 6 - 4pm

Lee Westwood is one of the last players to take to the course. He has short-game coach Mark Roe and his fitness coach in attendance.

Westwood is playing lots of different chip shots around the greens and Roe is pleased and positively excited. "You can HEAR the difference", exclaims the Sky Sports presenter.

Westwood rips a 3-wood on the 232-yard par-3 4th. It's into the wind but he hits it so well it goes off the back of the green. Westwood pulls a 5-wood from his bag and hits a second tee shot. This time it pitches right into the middle of the green, stops and then trcikles to within about eight feet of the hole.

He's hitting the ball miles and seems to be chipping it close under the watchful eye of Roe.

As he putts out on six, Greg Norman and Adam Scott are playing the 16th.

Norman hits one long and then wanders off the front of the tee to skim a ball over the lake. His ball bounces about four times on the water before popping up wo within eight feet of the pin. The late-afternoon crowd go crazy. His 'skimmed' ball is closer than his 'proper' tee shot!

MONDAY, APRIL 6 - 10am

The Masters week has well and truly started.

Rain met players heading for an early practice round and soggy fairways meant a lot of the short hitters were struggling. Ian Woosnam was still managing to get from tee to green pretty well despite being out-slogged some 50 yards off the tee by partner Soren Hansen from Denmark.

Ian Poulter left it late to get out and tread the Augusta fairways. He was looking as 'dashing' as ever with pastel tartan trousers! He played with amateur Danny Lee and Ross Fisher. All three players are big hitters, but Fisher took the honours on the first smashing a drive to 300 yards.

Rory McIlory decided to just play the back nine and teamed with Oliver Wilson. Wilson spoke to us just before he headed out to Augusta and you can see what he made of the challenge facing him below...