Adam Scott endured Augusta National Golf Club’s intense labyrinth of challenges and beauty, a prowling tiger and a wet Sunday trek through some of the most difficult holes in golf.
It was a week in which world No. 1 Tiger Woods was supposed to get back up on his high horse and claim his first major championship since the 2008 US Open. Since 2005, Woods has only finished outside the top six and top 10 once (40th in 2012).
Tiger had finally reclaimed the top spot in the world rankings a few weeks prior and has won three times already in 2013. A two-stroke penalty that was reviewed Friday night and handed down Saturday morning is what seemingly kept Tiger from challenging for the Green Jacket.
Heading into the final round of play, 2012 FedEx Cup Champion Brandt Snedeker and 2009 Masters champion Angel Cabrera were tied for the lead at -7. Adam Scott held sole possession of third place a shot back (-6) and Jason Day and Marc Leishman were tied for fourth at -5.
The last time Adam Scott was in contention at a major was the Open Championship just a year ago where he blew a four shot lead with four holes to play as he watched Ernie Els pry Scott’s first major victory away from him.
Headed to the eighteenth tee tied for the lead with ’09 Masters Champion Cabrera, Scott made it onto the green cleanly in two shots, leaving himself a 20-foot putt for birdie. Scott watched the ball roll smoothly online and rattle around the cup before it sunk, giving him a birdie and a one stroke lead with just one pairing behind him.
Unfortunately for Scott, that pairing included Cabrera. With Scott in, signing his scorecard, Cabrera hit his second shot to within three feet of the hole, on his way to a birdie to force a playoff.
Tied at -9, Cabrera and Scott headed back to the 18th tee to begin the sudden death playoff. In ’09, it was Cabrera defeating Chad Campbell and Kenny Perry in a playoff to capture the Green Jacket.
On 18 for the second time, both players drove the ball almost directly to the exact same spot, Cabrera just a few yards further. Scott’s second shot landed softly on the front edge of the green and rolled just off the front edge. Cabrera then almost mimicked Scott’s efforts landing a matter of inches behind him.
With everything on the line, Cabrera chipped his third shot sending the ball just over the outside lip of the hole, leaving him a tap-in for par. Scott sent his chip within a few feet and drained his par putt as well.
The playoff moved to the 10th hole where both Scott and Cabrera were on the green in two with makeable birdie putts ahead of them.
Cabrera was first to play his putt from about 15-feet. The putt looked to be online but for the second straight hole, grazed the outside lip of the cup sitting just on the edge where he would tap in for par.
Scott then had a 12-foot putt to win the Masters. With impending darkness looming, Scott called over caddie Steve Williams to help him read the putt.
“Do you think it’s just more then a cup?” Scott asked Williams.
“It’s at least two cups,” said Williams. “It’s going to break more than you think.”
With that bit of information fresh in his mind, Scott rolled the most important putt of his career. He rolled the putt 12-feet straight into the cup for his first major victory and the first Masters win for the country of Australia.
Scott overcame the demons clouding his mind of the 2012 Open Championship and sealed the victory.
With one 12-foot putt, the Aussie prayers had been answered.
Adam Scott endured Augusta National Golf Club’s intense labyrinth of challenges and beauty, a prowling tiger and a wet Sunday trek through some of the most difficult holes in golf.
It’s not unfamiliar for athletes to decline and seem to fall off the face of the earth later in their careers.
They get older, their play declines and they become expendable. Then there are others who make a bonehead decision and are pushed away and looked at as a shell of their former self.
I can’t think of anything more painful as an avid sports enthusiast than seeing an all-time great stick around too long. One could say that Michael Jordan, the greatest basketball player of all time (for now), stayed a few years too long with his stint in Washington. As recent as last winter, golf fans worldwide couldn’t help but ponder if Tiger Woods was done.
For the longest time, Tiger Woods was the number one player in the world. Woods has won over 25 percent of the PGA Tour events he has ever entered. When it looked as if Tiger was primed to go on a run to catch Jack Nicklaus’ major victories record, Woods’ world crumbled around him.
The outside perspective of Tiger was that he had everything: money, fame, a beautiful wife and he was at the top of his game. What more could he need?
As it turned out, Woods had a soft spot for beautiful women and lots of them. So there we sat. Tiger had a bum knee, was going through a tough divorce and his game seemed to be falling apart before his very own eyes.
At this point, many athletes would have packed their things, counted their losses and moved into a life after sports (I’m looking at you Barry Bonds.)
Not Tiger. I like to think that in my 20-plus years of living that I’ve loved and was glued to sports for every second of it. In those 20-plus years, I’ve yet to see anyone hate losing more then Tiger Woods. Woods has an unreal desire to succeed and an unrivaled hatred for defeat. The man may hate losing more then he loves winning.
The start of his on-course demise began when he lost the number one ranking to Lee Westwood. Woods then began a free fall to number 58 in the world, his lowest ranking since breaking onto the scene as a rookie in the ’90s. Everyone thought Woods was done. They thought that his game and knee had deteriorated and became so bad that we had seen the last of the once iconic Tiger Woods.
Woods’ drought spanned over the length of two years. Woods went from 2009 at the BMW Championship until early 2012 without a victory. Tiger’s luck seemed to be turning around in early 2012 and it all started at Bay Hill at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, an event he had won six times prior.
So here we are, just over a year removed from that moment and the unthinkable for many has occurred. Woods regained his ‘Tiger-esque’ play, reclaimed his number 1 ranking and is the favorite to win The Masters next week. Including the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Woods won three times in 2012 including The Memorial hosted by Jack Nicklaus, and the AT&T National.
Now, a week before the 2013 Masters, Woods has already won three times this calendar year. Tiger won at Torrey Pines, where he seems to play well year after year, the Cadillac Championship at Doral and the Arnold Palmer Invitational for a record eighth time. With the win at Bay Hill, Woods solidified his position back at the top.
Still there are the critics who say Tiger needs to win a major before they will say he is “back.” And there are still those who dislike him for his former off-course antics and affairs.
Who cares what he does in his personal time? He is a human being just like the rest of us. We all make mistakes and we all have the right to do as we please. His personal life does not take away that he is one of if not the best golfers to ever play the game.
So while there are others who still whine and moan that he isn’t “back” I say watch out: Tiger’s on the prowl.
The JU Men’s Golf Team traveled to Gainesville, Fla., this past weekend to take part in the Sun Trust Invitational where the Dolphins finished 14th.
The Dolphins were led by senior Jamey Salmon and sophomore Brett McKinnon who both tied for 37th place. Sophomore Nick Torrance and Colin Monagle also tied for 58th place with a score of 222. Senior Christian Vickers finished up the bunch with a 75th-place finish with a score of 238.
Florida State took the title with a score of 832, 8-under par, with North Florida coming in second 15 strokes back at 847. South Alabama finished in third place, a single stroke ahead of host Florida.
JU was in 12th place at the end of the first two rounds of play. The team shot a 581 (+21) on the day, after finishing the morning round in third. Salmon led the Dolphins for the day (68-74) followed by McKinnon (69-74). Salmons score of 147 set him up in 12th place over all going into the second day.
The Dolphins will not have to travel as far for their next match, as it is slated for Feb. 24 at the Sawgrass Country Club in Ponte Vedra, Fla.
He was at a bar with Clint Eastwood. After playing six holes, Eastwood was surprised that Gary Holmes, Jacksonville University alumni, didn’t play professional golf.
“I make more money gambling,” Holmes said.
After graduating from Jacksonville University in 1960 with a business administration degree, four years on the basketball team and three years on the golf team, Holmes discovered a world infused with golf and gambling.
“I played Evel Kneivel and Bobby Riggs,” Holmes said. “[Bobby Riggs] in the fifties was a big deal gambler. He got me to go play gin rummy with the dumbest people you ever saw. We got money.”
In a good year, Holmes could make $80,000 gambling on the golf course, he said in a Florida Times Union article by Gary Smits. Once, he played against Evel Kneivel who lost $4,000 to Holmes over 18 holes. But Holmes’ life wasn’t all gambling.
After achieving accomplishments such as being the first to receive the Alumni Patron Medallion given by the JU Alumni Association, serving as president of the Jacksonville Area Golf Association in 1969, and earning his pilot’s license, Holmes considers the film “The Last Real Gambler” to be his biggest success.
The film details Holmes and his life as a golfer and gambler. He developed a script and according to an article in The Florida Times Union, shooting for the film could begin as early as May. Holmes described the movie in the article as “Tin Cup meets The Sopranos.” Though the film focuses on a big part of his life, golf and gambling, it does not overlook the relationship Holmes has with his wife of more than forty years, Maria Holmes. According to movie editor and producer Mark Grossman in the article, “there is strength in Gary and Maria’s story.”
“It’s a gambling movie but it’s more of a story about me and Maria in a way,” Holmes said. “The movie kind of depicts my life. I’ve had some wonderful times. I’ve built several courses around the states. I’ve enjoyed everywhere I played; I played in courses around this country.”
The film’s budget of $11 million is not fully funded yet, but the sooner the film is funded, the earlier Holmes will begin to shoot in areas around Jacksonville, including Best Bet, Hidden Hills and JU.
“I’d like to come over and see [Cost] and talk about what we could do here,” Holmes said.
Before Holmes found success as a golfer and a gambler, he was a student at Jacksonville University.
“I got out of the navy two or three weeks early to come here and go to school,” Holmes said. “I stayed in a house for about three months. Then I got an apartment. Lived happily ever after. It was a great, great time.”
Holmes, 79, has played golf around the world, from Miami to Britain. And though he spent most of his time gambling on the golf course, he is still a player who knows how to become successful in the sport.
“Get with a teacher,” Holmes said. “One of the things I did is I learned how to fade the ball instead of hook it. In the heat you can control a fade. Some of the best players learned to fade the ball. Work out. Get as strong as you can. Look at old Tiger; he’s as strong as an ox. But I think that’s a good thing.”
Holmes prides himself in being a JU alumnus and is thankful for the experiences he had at the university. In one experience he relishes, he was on his way to Cuba with his basketball team. Everyone passed customs “except Gary Holmes, who was clad in his famous walking shorts; he had to change the trousers before they would let him through,” his coach at the time, Rollie Rourke, said.
His business administration degree from JU aided him to purchase Jacksonville’s Hyde Park in 1963, reorganizing it and turning it into the successful Pine Tree. He has also built and owned other golf courses across the state.
“Getting a college education is what I wanted to do,” Holmes said. “Jacksonville University was the highlight of my life. Maria graduated in 1972 and her brother Steve Taylor graduated in 1977 from JU. So we’re all JU-ites.”
Along with the ever so familiar green and yellow, patrons, golfers and all past champions alike must familiarize themselves with the newest color that represents the masters; pink. That would be the iconic, unmistakable pink driver of one Bubba Watson, the 2012 Masters Champion.
Born Gerry Lester Watson, Jr. on November 5, 1978 Bubba has always represented free spirit. Originally from Bagdad, Fla. Watson now calls Arizona home where he lives with his wife Angie and newly adopted son Caleb. His life has been full of ups and downs, scares and triumphs, and his weekend at the 76th Masters was no different.
Watson spent the whole weekend near the top of the leaderboard but never broke through until late Sunday. At the end of day one, Lee Westwood was atop the leaderboard. Fred Couples, the 52-year-old 1992 Masters Champ was in first at the end of day two.
Lurking behind Couples was Jason Dufner, Lee Westwood, Louis Oosthuizen, world number two Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia, Paul Lawrie, and then there was Bubba.
When Sunday came around, there were familiar names and storylines surrounding the culmination of the tournament. Tiger Woods was in his Sunday red, despite a disappointing effort throughout the weekend, not breaking below par in a single round. Phil Mickelson found himself at the top of the board in the final pairing in search of his fourth green jacket. And the only man to win twice on the PGA tour this year, Hunter Mahan, found himself only a few shots behind the leader in the third to last group.
Once again there was Bubba, quietly having an outstanding tournament, set to tee off with Louis Oosthuizen in the second to last group.
The early Sunday favorite, Phil Mickelson, saw his score fall early after a triple-bogey but was able to claw his way back for a tied for third finish.
Englishman Lee Westwood started the day -3 and had four late birdies to end the tournament at -8 and also tied for third. Westwood frequently finds himself finishing in the top -3 at majors it seems. One would be inclined to think the 38-year-old is soon due to break through and capture his major victory.
Oosthuizen and Watson undoubtedly stole the show on Sunday. Oosthuizen had a double eagle on the Par 5 second hole to jump start his round early. Watson played a steady front nine birdying the second and fifth holes. On the back nine, Watson started shaky, bogeying 12 but came back huge, birdying 13 through 16 to get to -10 to tie Oosthuizen on top of the leaderboard. The duo pared their final two holes to send it to a sudden death playoff.
For the first hole of the playoff, the two re-played the 18th hole. They both went on to par the 18th for the second time in the past half-hour.
Oosthuizen’s long time friend, fellow countryman and 2011 Masters Champion Charl Schwartzel waited nervously in the shadows waiting to present a Green Jacket to the winner of the Masters.
Watson’s and Oosthuizen’s next hole was the Par 4 10th. Watson’s tee shot hooked right deep into the trees leaving him without a view of the green. Oosthuizen was just off the fairway but his second shot failed to get up onto the green. Then, from deep in the trees, Watson pulled a 52-degree wedge and shot a draw that came about 40 yards left to right leaving him not only on the green but within distance to win the tournament. Oosthuizen got his ball up onto the green leaving him a chance at par. His par putt went right over the outside edge of the hole and Oosthuizen would tap in for bogey. This left Bubba Watson with two putts to win the Masters. Watson’s first putt barley missed leaving him a 6 inch tap in for the win.
“I never got this far in my dreams so I have no idea what to say,” Watson was quoted as saying.
Watson had defied all odds. Without a single golf lesson or watching himself on tape, he had won the Masters.
The Men’s golf team showcased their talents this past weekend at the Linger Longer Invitational at Reynolds Plantation. In the first round of match play on Sunday, March 27, JU struggled posting a 21-over par and shooting an overall 309. This was due to a weak finish to the day, and caused them to be tied for 12th by the end of the first round.
The Great Waters Course at the invitational was a little more generous to the golf team in the second round.
The Dolphins were led by Jamey Salmon who personally jumped up 23 spots after shooting a one-under 71. JU shot a 292 in this round and moved into 10th place after day two of action.
In the final day of action Tuesday, March 29, junior Bobby Fredeking brought his big boy clubs to the invitational. He carded a three under par 69, with three birdies and 15 pars to piece together his best performance of the year. The team as a whole shot a 14-over par, 302, and this caused them to drop one spot to finish 11th overall. Senior Gavin Frost had the second best outing for JU carding a three-over par 75. JU head coach Mike Blackburn discussed what the team needs to work on for its next match play.
“We’re going to look at how we finish rounds this week because we have lost a lot of shots in the last few holes this week,” Blackburn said.
The Dolphins will try to fix their late match woes on April 8 when they participate in the River Landing Intercollegiate.
The Women’s Golf team played at the inaugural World Golf Village Intercollegiate on April 3 and 4. In the first round JU was on a tear. The Lady Fins shot a strong 309, and locked down second place after day one. Kristen Boettcher carried the Dolphins shooting a 75, and a 79.
In the second round JU wasn’t as successful, posting a 330 and dropping 5 spots to seventh place. Daytona State led the field after two rounds on the Slammer & Squire Golf Course.
The final day of action was canceled due to storms in the area. This caused Daytona State to take the early crown at the WGV Intercollegiate. Senior Meghan Hughes talked about the event that was cut short.
“We played solid in the first round, but didn’t really come through as good as we wanted to in the second round, I just really wish we could have played the final round to redeem our top half positioning,” Hughes said.
The Fins get back to it on April 11 for the Atlantic Sun Conference Championship at Victoria Hills Country Club.
The Jacksonville University Women’s Golf team opened up their spring campaign Sunday, Feb. 6, at the JU classic. The team took little time to jump on the competition as they tied a tournament record in the first round of play. Senior Kristen Boettcher led the Dolphins carding the third-best round in the tourney’s history shooting an even par 72.
By the end of the first round JU sported three golfers in the top five of the days scoring. Both senior Jessica Williams and junior Morgan Jackson finished the first round strongly carding a one-over par, and two-over par respectively.
JU Coach Mike Blackburn expressed his joy in the way the ladies played.
“I was really pleased with how we played today, everyone did a good job of managing their game and their emotions today,” said Blackburn.
Due to weather issues the second round of play was suspended and shortened the tournament to 36 holes which was completed Tuesday, Feb. 8. JU went into the “final round” holding a one-stroke lead over the University of Miami. In the final round of play JU carded a 322, Miami shot a 321 and Daytona State made an amazing comeback shooting a dominant 303. JU golfer Melissa Magdor led the Fins shooting a six over par. Magdor was joined by senior Meghan Hughes who also had a solid finish, with a 12 over par.
“I feel that we did really good, and the only thing we need to do is play the course one shot at a time, and not stress about the big picture,” said Hughes.
The Fins look to take the seniors advice in their next outing Feb. 20 at the Edwin Watts-Kiawah Classic.
The Jacksonville University Men’s Golf team had a busy weekend, as they competed at the SunTrust Gator Invitational on Mark Bostick Golf Course.
On the first day of action, Saturday Feb. 12, the dolphins shot a 30-over par, and an overall 310 in the opening round. They quickly cleaned up their act in the second round by shooting 21-over par, and a 301. The fins were led by Junior Bobby Fredeking who shot an even par in the first round but then recorded a six-over par 76 in round two, tying for 25th after 36 holes. JU Men’s Golf Head Coach Mike Blackburn commented on his team’s first two rounds.
“We didn’t play as well as we liked today, but we kept fighting, this is a great learning experience for our guys as we continue to build this spring,” Blackburn said.
Top-Ranked University of Florida led the 14-team Invitational at the end of two rounds shooting three-over par.
The Final round of action continued the next day on Feb. 13, as the fins were once again by Fredeking’s strong play. He carded a one-under par, 69, to place 11th in the event. His performance shot the dolphins up the ranks on the final day due to a 10-over par outing by JU. This helped pass the likes of Georgia State, Georgia Southern and Mississippi State. Sophomore Trey Douglas carded a five-over par 75, which was his best outing of the event.
“The team chemistry is as high as it’s ever been; we’ve got a great schedule with tons of opportunity,” Douglas said. “We hope to compete with the best teams in the nation and win the conference title.”
JU hopes to build on their solid finish, during their next outing Feb. 27 at the John Hayt Intercollegiate at Sawgrass Country Club.