Saturday, April 13, 2013

The Masters - Round Two


Round two of the 2013 Masters is now in the books, and the excitement and drama has risen to new levels.  Along with an abundance of great golf being played, by the likes of Jason Day, Fred Couples and others, much of the days excitement surrounded two rules 'infractions' which ended in penalty strokes being assessed.

Before I get into those two situations a little further, here's a look at the top 10 after the second round:

  • 1 - Jason Day -6
  • T2 - Fred Couples -5
  • T2 - Mac Leishman -5
  • T4 - Angel Cabrera -4
  • T4 - Jim Furyk -4
  • T4 - Brandt Snedeker -4
  • T7 - Adam Scott -3
  • T7 - Jason Dufner -3
  • T7 - David Lynn -3
  • T7 - Lee Westwood -3
  • T7 - Justin Rose -3
  • T7 - K.J. Choi -3

Due to some damp and rainy weather early in the day, the course played a little slower than round one, and as such players were put to the test.  Among those who were able to raise to the occasion, Jason Day shot the lowest score of the day (68) moving him up to the top of the leaderboard.  With another five players less than two shots back, and dozens more in the hunt, the green jacket is still very much up for grabs.  Other noteworthy play, although not in the top 10, Rory McIlroy had a consistent day, bringing him to two under for the tournament and still very much in contention.

Tianlang Guan - Assessed Slow Play Penalty But Makes Cut


Tianlang Guan made twice as much history as he wanted Friday at the Masters.

In a dizzying day of wonder and confusion, the 14-year-old phenom from China became the youngest player to make the cut in a major championship. He also became the first player known to be assessed a penalty for slow play in 77 years of the Masters.

Guan was grinding hard on the back nine to make the cut. Stepping to the 17th tee, he was sitting right on the cut line for players within 10 shots of the lead. The penalty threatened to knock him out of the tournament. It made him sweat out an afternoon of wondering whether Tiger Woods, Jason Day or somebody else would do the duty.

In the end, after Woods stumbled coming home, after Day missed a 10-foot birdie chance at the 17th hole, Guan survived, barely.

Though the Masters has a cut to the low 50 scores and ties, Guan made the cut despite finishing tied for 55th. He made the cut by virtue of being within 10 shots of the leader.

Guan accepted the penalty after a lengthy stay in scoring pleading his case.

“I respect the decision,” he said after signing a scorecard for a 75 that included the penalty-incurred bogey at the 17th.

There is little doubt Guan was in violation of the Masters’ slow-play policy. The larger questions surround the timing of the decision to penalize him. Guan is the first player in Masters history to be hit with the slow-play penalty, but is he really the first player to be in violation of the policy? Was it worth jeopardizing his wonderful story, as a 14-year-old from China, a qualifier who earned his way here as the winner of the Masters’ own Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship?


Tiger Woods - Two Shot Penalty



After a lengthy review of the situation, Golf Channel has confirmed that Tiger Woods will play the weekend at the Masters, albeit two strokes further back then he thought he’d be when he walked off property late Friday afternoon.

Woods met with officials early Saturday at Augusta National regarding his drop on the 15th hole during the second round. After bouncing his third shot off the flag stick and into a lateral hazard fronting the green, Woods returned to the spot from where he’d originally played to hit his fifth shot.

At issue is how close Woods dropped to the original spot of play.

“I went down to the drop area, that wasn't going to be a good spot, because obviously it's into the grain, it's really grainy there. And it was a little bit wet,” Woods said. “I went 2 yards further back and I took, tried to take 2 yards off the shot of what I felt I hit.”

Under the Rules of Golf, a player must drop nearest to the spot of the original shot in that situation and the replay of the drop shows Woods playing his fifth shot a few feet behind that location.

In the end, the decision has been made, whether or not the right one, Tiger will continue the tournament and has his work cut out for him if he is going to win his fifth green jacket.