Category Archives: Augusta National

  • 0

Sophomores Finau and Schauffele shine at 2019 Masters

The elation of Tiger Woods winning his fifth green jacket at the 2019 Masters has begun to subside. Well maybe not, and maybe it never will, but the roars have at least died down considerably since this past Sunday. However, the 15-time major winning veteran wasn’t the only player to showcase his talents at Augusta National this year.

While Woods was busy racking up the final round highlights six players were trying to make the most of just their second year playing at one of the most iconic courses in all of golf. Each of the Masters sophomores surprisingly made the cut in a place where experience is greatly favored. The only to finish over par was 2018 RBC Heritage winner Satoshi Kodaira (+6).

Haotong Li (-1)  and the talk of the tour the last two weeks, Canada’s Corey Conners (E) each managed a respectable top-50 finish. One year removed from missing the cut at his first attempt at a green jacket Patton Kizzire (-6) cracked the top-20 in a tie for 18th. But above the others stood two second-year, rising contenders.
Finau finds a rhythm at Augusta
In his maiden Masters voyage in 2018, Tony Finau had a memorable rookie outing for more ways than one. Every golf fan, die-hard or casual, remembers the images of the then 28-year old making a hole in one at the Wednesday Par-3 Contest. Then celebrating, dislocating his ankle, and popping it back into place by himself.

Remarkably, Finau shot 6-under par on his final round alone for the third lowest score of the day and a share of 10th place. Throughout his 2018 campaign on the PGA Tour he climbed to sixth in FedEx Cup rankings, finished top-10 in three of the four majors (including solo fifth at the U.S. Open) and made the most of his first of what is sure to be many more Ryder Cup appearances.

It seemed a logical prediction that with a year of momentum behind him, and two good ankles, Finau would be a force to be reckoned with around Augusta in 2019. Over his opening two rounds the Salt Lake City native stayed stead with below par rounds of 71 (-1) and 70 (-2). It wasn’t until Saturday when then Tongan-Samoan sensation truly broke out with an 8-under third round of 64.

Following his near record-breaking Saturday, Finau found himself in the final pairing Sunday with none other than Tiger Woods and Francesco Molinari. Scoring was difficult to come by early on in their closing 18 holes. Making only one birdie before dumping his tee shot into the water on the par-3 12th, the closing six holes were a completely different story.

The 14th ranked player in the Official World Golf Rankings closed with three birdies including back to back at 15 and 16. Finau’s ability to finish and bounce back after difficult holes helped propel him into a four-way finish for fifth place. Two years, two top-10 finishes and continued improvement each put Finau into the early discussion for a future green jacket sooner rather than later.
Schauffele starts slow but surges Sunday
In 2017 a San Diego State University standout by the name of Xander Schauffele won twice in his first year on the PGA Tour. Perhaps still the biggest win of his career to date came in September 2017 when he bested Justin Thomas by one stroke in the finale of the FedEx Cup playoffs at the Tour Championship. While Thomas still captured the FedEx Cup Championship it came as no surprise when Schauffele was announced as the 2017 PGA Rookie of the Year.

The 2018 Masters wasn’t a breakout first trip to Augusta by any means but Xander was still able to make the cut and finish tied for 50th. Compared to his rookie season 2018 was slow by Schauffele standards. However, in the 2018-2019 wraparound season, the reigning ninth-ranked golfer in the World has already secured two victories. His first of which came at the HSBC Champions event in a playoff with none other than fellow Masters sophomore standout Tony Finau.

The 2019 trek to Augusta National started rocky for the already four-time Tour winner. Schauffele turned in a first round 1-over par 73 but bounced back quickly on Friday shooting the low round of the day with a 7-under 65. A steady 2-under 70 on Saturday put him right back in the mix just five shots off the lead heading into Sunday’s final round.

Despite being 1-over through seven holes, a birdie at the par-5 8th began a surge of five birdies before finishing 12-under par for the tournament where the 25-year old, in just his second Masters, took a share of the clubhouse lead. As everyone knows that lead was ultimately overtaken by Tiger Woods but would still leave Schauffele finished in a three-way tie for second with major champions Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka (not a bad way to improve after an 8-over finish at his first Masters).

With both men still improving and bettering their game each and every tournament, both Tony Finau and Xander Schauffele still have plenty of Masters, and majors, moments ahead of them. Finau will be taking a brief break this week while Schauffele will tee it right back up at the RBC Heritage from Harbour Town Golf Links.

MAIN PHOTO

Embed from Getty Imageswindow.gie=window.gie||function(c){(gie.q=gie.q||[]).push(c)};gie(function(){gie.widgets.load({id:’Y8W_8FPLTcpA5I9T33v_qw’,sig:’akh6iXmNNF-QZ_qqsbfH8z59ybbwzcIKK47BIPBUQag=’,w:’594px’,h:’396px’,items:’1054515002′,caption: true ,tld:’com’,is360: false })});The post Sophomores Finau and Schauffele shine at 2019 Masters appeared first on Last Word on Sports.


  • 0

Tiger Woods: A Redemption Story

Tiger Woods’ Redemption
Tiger Woods did what many thought would never be done. Not only did he win again after years of injuries and making no progress on his fragile back, but he won at Augusta National Golf Club claiming his fifth green jacket, his 15th major championship, and his 81st PGA tournament. Simply incredible.

But the road to another green jacket didn’t come easily. Over the 11-year drought between the 2019 Masters and the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, and the 14-year drought between Masters, Woods went from the top of the world to the bottom of the barrel on multiple occasions. For over a decade, Woods’ life wasn’t littered with major championships and a further ascent in the world of golf. Instead, it was defined by injuries, scandals, and at times, total disconnect from the game he dominated for years.
The Road from the 2008 U.S. Open to the 2019 Masters
The Downfall
June 16, 2008: Tiger Woods battles Rocco Mediate in an 18-hole playoff at Torrey Pines. It took 19 holes on a serious leg injury for Woods to claim his 14th major championship. It would be his last for 11 years.

Embed from Getty Imageswindow.gie=window.gie||function(c){(gie.q=gie.q||[]).push(c)};gie(function(){gie.widgets.load({id:’0RxG1SWRTUdM3ncL7TksMg’,sig:’S-taeutL2_EgLf3d4XubEldVV3k0YiZEIb_cnduiCMg=’,w:’594px’,h:’411px’,items:’81592763′,caption: true ,tld:’com’,is360: false })});

June 18, 2008: Shortly following his win at Torrey Pines, Woods announces he will miss the remainder of the PGA tour season due to ACL surgery on his left knee.

November 27, 2009: Woods crashes his Cadillac Escalade into a fire hydrant close to his Florida mansion. He was injured in the crash and spent less than a day in a Florida hospital. The crash unleashes the scandal involving his wife and the number of extramarital relationships Woods had.

December 2009 – March 2010: Woods spends time away from golf to work on trying to save his marriage after multiple women stepped forward speaking about affairs they’d had with Woods. His wife at the time, Elin Nordegren, files for divorce amidst Woods’ sex scandal and there is some speculation Woods’ crash was a result of him being beaten up by his wife. Multiple endorsements part way with Woods’ including Gilette and Gatorade.

April 2010: Woods makes his return to golf at the 2010 Masters where he finishes in a tie for fourth.

2011: Woods’ 2011 is plagued by an injury suffered during the 2011 Masters. He missed the 2011 Wells Fargo Championship due to a Grade 1 MCL sprain and Achilles strain. He then withdrew from the Players Championship and didn’t play again until the 2011 WGC Bridgestone. During the injury, Woods parted ways with caddie Stevie Williams and fell out of the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking for the first time in 15 years.
On the Rise
December 4, 2011: Woods wins the Chevron World Challenge to get his first professional win since November of 2009.

March-July 2012: Woods wins another PGA Tour event, this time the Arnold Palmer Invitational and goes on to win the Memorial Tournament and the AT&T National.

2013: Woods returns to the top of the game regaining the OWGR No. 1 spot in March. In 2013, Woods won five times on tour including the Arnold Palmer Invitational, the PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP, and the WGC Bridgestone.

Embed from Getty Imageswindow.gie=window.gie||function(c){(gie.q=gie.q||[]).push(c)};gie(function(){gie.widgets.load({id:’I76Vq63HSrB22eugB39u7g’,sig:’JapV7bPN4ueuUXVXNRbuBO9o3aU9JFzZ4-vwvFmsHY8=’,w:’594px’,h:’387px’,items:’164622086′,caption: true ,tld:’com’,is360: false })});
Tiger Woods’ Injury-Plagued Years
March 2014: Woods announced he will undergo a microdiscectomy for a pinched nerve in his back. He would return later in the year but withdraw from the WGC Bridgestone and miss the cut at the 2014 PGA Championship.

August and December 2015: After missing the cut at the last three majors of the year, Woods’ undergoes yet another microdiscectomy in August with hopes of returning in the early part of 2016. Woods undergoes a third back surgery in December

2016: Woods misses the entire 2016 season recovering and dealing with his back.

Spring 2017: In April, Woods undergoes spinal fusion surgery in hopes of fixing his back after three previous surgeries were ultimately unsuccessful. In May, Woods is arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence in Jupiter, Florida. Woods sited an unexpected reaction to prescription drugs as the cause of the incident.

Embed from Getty Imageswindow.gie=window.gie||function(c){(gie.q=gie.q||[]).push(c)};gie(function(){gie.widgets.load({id:’ljWt8y7gTq9wcqma5V-ScQ’,sig:’hfV_RrF7VzgrfOVEOSIh2BXBucRsoYSIU2hhWqQd9Eg=’,w:’478px’,h:’594px’,items:’689757316′,caption: true ,tld:’com’,is360: false })});
The Return to the PGA Tour
December 2017: After a long wait of over 300 days, Woods returns to the golf course at the Hero World Challenge where he finishes in a tie for ninth.

March 2018: Woods gets a taste of success on the PGA Tour again finishing in the top five in back-to-back weeks at the Valspar Championship and Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Summer 2018: Woods returns to form in major championships. He led at one point on the back nine at the Open Championship, finishing sixth and finished in solo second at the PGA Championship.
A Winner Again
September 23, 2018: Woods wins his 80th PGA Tour event at the Tour Championship at East Lake. The win was his first since he claimed the 2013 WGC Bridgestone Invitational. The win moved him to 13th in the Official World Golf Rankings.

Embed from Getty Imageswindow.gie=window.gie||function(c){(gie.q=gie.q||[]).push(c)};gie(function(){gie.widgets.load({id:’4o4R6tPKR8Fci0twX6EXoA’,sig:’qlvZ8oKr4OvM7xgka8b5fDBGU3tQ0GqC1dryCYC7Bh4=’,w:’594px’,h:’396px’,items:’1040080910′,caption: true ,tld:’com’,is360: false })});

April 14, 2019: Tiger Woods, with a final round 70, wins the 2019 Masters. It is his fifth Masters, 15th major championship, and 81st PGA Tour victory

As you can see, the long 11-year journey from Torrey Pines to Augusta National was not easy and challenged Woods both on and off the course. Many thought the former world No. 1 would never win a tournament again, much less a major. But Woods has once again returned to the top of the golf world.

Main Photo:

Embed from Getty Imageswindow.gie=window.gie||function(c){(gie.q=gie.q||[]).push(c)};gie(function(){gie.widgets.load({id:’DDe5RluNT0ZedjX9Tq2nmw’,sig:’cwNkwygloIUHsf_5ddUeX3NwV0CwUNHKaGtatYW0flg=’,w:’594px’,h:’396px’,items:’1142687457′,caption: true ,tld:’com’,is360: false })});The post Tiger Woods: A Redemption Story appeared first on Last Word on Sports.


  • 0

2019 Masters Final Round Highlights

What started as a slow building Masters Sunday quickly ignited on the back nine into a sprint to the finish. At any given time over the final hour at Augusta nearly a dozen players were within just two shots off the lead. An untimely double bogey by Francesco Molinari opened the floodgates to the field.

Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele, Dustin Johnson and even majors powerhouse Brooks Koepka all took the lead at one time or another. Although we haven’t seen it since 2005, it’s still an all too familiar sight as none other than Tiger Woods roared back up the leaderboard. With three birdies over his last six holes Woods once again claimed Masters success.

In what will be an instant memory for golf fans around the world Sunday truly was a must see moment. Last Word on Golf has the full highlights from Tiger Woods and the rest of the field in the final round of the 2019 Masters from Augusta National.
Tiger reigns supreme at Augusta once again
Beginning the day two shots off the lead, Tiger Woods needed to make an impact quickly on Sunday. The four-time Masters winner did just that with a powerful birdie at the third hole to cut the lead in half.

Italy’s Francesco Molinari came out of the third round with the lead but had to play to near perfection in order to fend off Woods. The two took to trading birdies on the par-5 8th hole of the day as the battle for the green jackert waged on.

As he always does under pressure, Woods found himself in a little trouble at the par-4 11th before sending a would be par saving approach tracking to the green.

With a one stroke lead already, Tiger took to the 16th tee to place a near ace, leading to a birdie and the two-stroke lead with just two to play.

With just inches to go for his fifth green jacket and 15th major victory Tiger Woods put home his final putt on 18 and closed out the 2019 Masters as champion.


A wild finish finish down the stretch
Needing to make a strong showing over his closing holes to have a chance at his first major victory, Xander Schauffele guided home a 65-foot breaking putt at 11 for birdie. He would go par-birdie-birdie over his next three holes to grab a share of the lead.

After a double bogey by Francesco Molinari at the 12th, the field smelled blood in the water and quickly attacked. After barely making the cut follwoing the second round, Patrick Cantlay rocketed up the leaderboard over the weekend to take claim of the outright lead with an eagle at the par-5 15th.

Following Cantlay’s eagle to move to -12, three-time major champion Brooks Koepka jumped to within one of the lead with an eagle of his own. Including co-leading after the first round, and second, Koepka had at least a share of the lead in all four days of the Masters.


Not one but two Hole in Ones
For the first time in his methodical career Bryson DeChambeau finally cashed in his first ace at the par-3 16th to make his own Masters memory.

The 16th has always been a beacon for career making moments at Augusta National. With the reverberations of DeChambeau’s ace still ringing through the gallery, Justin Thomas turned up the volume with one of his own to get to 9-under.


The field continues to impress
It pays to know your way around Augusta on Masters Sunday. The three-time Masters champion Phil Mickelson knew exactly where to go with his approach at the par-4 5th as he came up one rotation short of 215-yard eagle hole out.

Regardless of where he is on the leaderboard there’s never a doubt that Rory McIlroy will turn in at least one highlight in his round. The Northern Ireland native did just that early Sunday with an eagle at the 13th despite falling short of pre-Masters predictions.

No matter where you are on the leaderboard at Augusta you never know when you’re going to put your own stamp on Championship Sunday. Sweden’s Alex Noren provided his own set of cheers as he holed out from the greenside bunker for birdie at 16.

The “Thunder Bear” didn’t quite make it rain in his third Masters appearance but Thorbjorn Olesen did provide some excitement with a chip-in birdie at the par-4 8th.

Main Photo

Embed from Getty Imageswindow.gie=window.gie||function(c){(gie.q=gie.q||[]).push(c)};gie(function(){gie.widgets.load({id:’2WKrEu9nTQVCDMVuGVTfEg’,sig:’-7GcG_YQUjXOt6231j7U2E0Qo38NGTm9UlQ7vVJNv-w=’,w:’594px’,h:’396px’,items:’1142674284′,caption: true ,tld:’com’,is360: false })});The post 2019 Masters Final Round Highlights appeared first on Last Word on Sports.


Categories

w88