Golf Buzz

April 9, 2015 - 1:18pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Tom Watson
USA Today Sports Images
Tom Watson, 65, wowed the Augusta National patrons on Thursday with a 1-under 71 in the opening round of the 2015 Masters.

If there's one thing we've learned through the years at Augusta National, it's that it pays to have experience.

Jack Nicklaus won at age 46 in 1986 and had another run for a bit in 1998. Fred Couples still gets his name on the first page of the leaderboard almost annually 20+ years removed from his 1992 win.

RELATED: Masters leaderboard | Hoffman's eagle | Compton realizes a dream

And on Thursday, Tom Watson -- now 65 and a two-time Masters champ -- proved once again that experience, patience and wisdom are intangibles at Augusta National.

Watson, who last made the Masters cut in 2010 when he finished T18, fired a fantastic 1-under 71 in the opening round of the 2015 Masters.

His 1-under 35 on the back nine was helped by this special birdie on the par-3 16th:

Along with his two wins, Watson has 13 other top-10 finishes in the Masters.



Let's see what the rest of the week brings for the two-time U.S. Ryder Cup Team Captain.

April 9, 2015 - 11:59am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Danny Willett
USA Today Sports Images
Danny Willett played alongside 1987 Masters champ Larry Mize on Thursday.

The greens at Augusta National are just so undulating and so fast.

Take this putt you're about to see form Danny Willett on the par-5 13th for instance.

RELATED: Masters leaderboard | Hoffman's eagle | Compton realizes a dream

When the ball was just a little more than halfway to the hole, he was asking it to get moving. Turns out if it hadn't hit the back of the cup and dropped in for an amazing 64-foot birdie, the ball was probably going to sail 8 feet past the hole.

Check it out:


Obviously, one does not "plan" to make a putt like that.

Nice early Masters highlight. 

April 9, 2015 - 11:42am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Charley Hoffman
USA Today Sports Images
Charley Hoffman went for it on the par-5 15th hole at Augusta National on Thursday and his risk paid off.

The great thing about the two par 5s on Augusta National's back nine -- Nos. 13 and 15 -- is they're both terrific risk/reward holes.

Hit a great drive? You have a legit shot to reach the green in two. However, mishit that approach and doom beckons in the form of water.

RELATED: Masters leaderboard | 10 to watch | Compton realizes a dream

On Thursday, early starter Charley Hoffman blasted a fantastic drive on No. 15, positioning himself splendidly to take a crack at the green in two from 234 yards out.

As you can see below, he stiffed it.


Hoffman brushed in the eagle putt. After a birdie on the par-3 16th, Hoffman moved to 4 under for the round and was the early Masters leader. 

April 9, 2015 - 8:31am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Erik Compton
USA Today Sports Images
As a child, Erik Compton drew a picture of himself playing in the Masters. At 35 years old, he realizes that dream on Thursday morning.

It's been a long, remarkable journey for 35-year-old Masters rookie Erik Compton to earn his spot at Augusta National.

Compton punched his ticket to Augusta after a tie for second a year ago in the U.S. Open.

At 11:03 a.m. today, alongside 1991 Masters champ Ian Woosnam, Compton -- a two-time heart transplant recipient -- will finally realize a dream.

RELATED: Masters leaderboard | Masters first-timers to watch | 10 to watch

Just how long has Compton been thinking about teeing it up in the Masters?

Well, based on a tweet he sent out this morning, it's been a while:

Now that's pretty cool... Let's just hope that unlike the drawing, Compton's tee shot finds the fairway instead of Augusta National's "second cut." 

April 8, 2015 - 4:05pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Tiger Woods
USA Today Sports Images
With his children in tow, Tiger Woods participated in the Masters Par 3 Contest on Wednesday for the first time since 2004.

For the first time since 2004, Tiger Woods teed it up in the Masters Par 3 Contest on Wednesday afternoon.

Woods played alongside friends Steve Stricker and Mark O'Meara.

The reason for the decision? His children.

RELATED: Photos from the Par 3 Contest | Masters tee times | 10 to watch

Woods told ESPN's Tom Rinaldi before teeing off that his daughter, Sam, and son, Charlie, watched the event in 2014 while Tiger was out of action with his back injury. Sam and Charlie saw the children of other players taking it in and wanted to be a part of the day.

Tiger explained that when he was feeling better, there was an opportunity that they could caddie.

So on Wednesday, with dad's girlfriend Lindsey Vonn by their side, Sam and Charlie had their wish of toting dad's club's at the Augusta National Par-3 course come true.

Hopefully they didn't plan on dad winning though.

It's well-documented that no player who has won the Par 3 Contest has gone on to win the Masters that same week. Woods didn't seem interested in trying to become the first player to change that.

"Have fun, enjoy it and don't win," he told Rinaldi.