Golf Buzz

April 10, 2015 - 2:33pm
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T.J. Auclair
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Henrik Stenson
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The Masters has a way of getting to the best players in the world... frustratingly at times. That's what happened to world No. 2 Henrik Stenson on Friday.

Henrik Stenson may not have a major championship on his resume, but he's three-quarters of the way to a career grand slam when it comes to club snapping.

A frustrated Stenson -- who hasn't been himself this week after a bout with the flu leading into the Masters -- let his anger get the best of him during the second round of the Masters on Friday.

RELATED: What's the rule on broken clubs? | Masters leaderboard | Photos

After knocking a ball into the pond on Augusta National's par-5 15th hole, the world's No. 2-ranked player proceeded to snap the offending club over his knee.

We don't have the official footage, but you can check it out here.

Stenson bogeyed the hole, which typically plays among the easiest scoring-wise. He was 1 over for the day and 2 over for the tournament to that point.

Friday's Masters club-snapping makes it three majors now in which Stenson has "Bo Jackson'd" a club after a less-than-desirable shot.

Here's video of Stenson from the 2011 U.S. Open at Congressional, where his temper got the best of him and he actually added injury to insult.

 

Click here and you can see a still image of Stenson snapping his club last summer at the Open Championship.  

Be on the look out at Whistling Straits this summer in the PGA Championship. A snapped club there and Stenson will complete the career club-snapping grand slam.

April 10, 2015 - 11:24am
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T.J. Auclair
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Thongchai Jaidee
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Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee holed out for eagle from 98 yards on the par-4 third hole at Augusta National in the second round of the Masters on Friday.

Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee earned himself a pair of crystal goblets early in the second round of the Masters on Friday.

Playing the par-4 third hole, Jaidee holed out his second shot from 98 yards for an eagle.

 

RELATED: Masters leaderboard | Spieth sets early pace | Masters photos

One of the perks of doing special things at the Masters are the goodies that come along with them.

Here's a look at the goodies:

- Lowest daily score: a crystal vase
- A hole-in-one or double eagle: a large crystal bowl
- An eagle: a pair of crystal goblets
- Winner of the Par 3 Contest: a crystal bowl 

April 10, 2015 - 9:07am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Tiger Woods
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Arguably the signature shot in the Masters career of Tiger Woods was his chip-in on No. 16 on his way to winning in 2005. The shot happened 10 years ago today.

Where does the time go?

Hard to believe, but it was 10 years ago today -- April 10, 2005 -- during the final round of the Masters that Tiger Woods hit one of his all-time highlight-reel shots.

Locked in a tight battle with Chris DiMarco on that Sunday, Woods had a one-shot advantage when the pair reached the par-3 16th hole.

RELATED: Masters leaderboard | Spieth sets early pace | Masters photos

Woods pulled his tee shot left, while DiMarco was safely on the green.

And that's when the magic happened. Woods, aiming 25 feet left of the hole, chipped the ball into the green's sloped. The ball crept closer and closer before trickling in on the last revolution.

 

Watching that shot and hearing the great Verne Lundquist boom, "Oh wow! In your life have you seen anything like that?" never gets old.

Woods would defeat DiMarco in a one-hole playoff, but the chip at No. 16 was the signature shot of the tournament.

It also marks the last time Woods won the Masters -- his fourth overall. 

Fast forward to today... Woods will embark on his second round of the 2015 Masters at 10:30 a.m. after an opening 1-under 73 on Thursday that had him nine shots behind first-round leader Jordan Spieth.

April 9, 2015 - 7:07pm
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T.J. Auclair
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Fred Couples
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The 7-over 79 carded by Fred Couples on Thursday was the worst opening round of his long Masters career.

After a spectacular first day from the 79th Masters at Augusta National Golf Club, here are the five biggest surprises from Round 1:

5. Fred Couples
Why?:
The 7-over 79 that Couples shot on Thursday was his worst opening round at the Masters since he shot a 78 in 1996. It should be noted, though, that the 1992 Masters champ bounced back to finish T15 in '96.

That said, rough starts aren't the norm for Couples -- even in his 50s.

RELATED: Masters leaderboard | Thursday's photos | Fashion photos 

The last time the 55-year-old was over par after the first round of the Masters was when he shot a 1-over 73 in 2009. That's also the last time he missed the cut -- one of just two missed cuts in his illustrious Masters career (he also missed in 2008).

4. Ernie Els
Why?:
There are few people at Augusta National who have experienced that "bridesmaid" feeling more often than Els. Six top-10 finishes -- including runner-up twice -- and not a win to show for it for the four-time major winner. And he just wants it so bad.

This year, Els came in with pretty much nothing momentum-wise. Outside of a T13 in the Arnold Palmer Invitational, it's been a rough season for the Big Easy.

In his seven starts, he's missed the cut four times. But, Augusta National is one of those magical places that can bring out the best in certain players no matter the state of their game prior to arrival.

Els is one of those players.

The South African shot a splendid 5-under 67 with just two bogeys, including one on the last hole. Believe it or not, it was the first time Els has recorded a Masters opening round in the 60s in 21 starts. His previous low was a 2-under 70. He was three shots better on Thursday.

Els was a surprise winner at the 2012 Open Championship. It had been 10 years between major wins. Can he be a surprise winner again this week?

It sure would be special.

3. Charley Hoffman
Why?:
Well, shooting anything under par during the Masters is fantastic, but Hoffman's 5-under 67 gave him the early lead (he would wind up three behind first-round leader Jordan Spieth). And that just capped off a great day. Hoffman was in the first group off Thursday morning with Brian Harman.

That means he was in just the right place at just the right time to watch three legends -- Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player -- hit the ceremonial opening tee shots. As Hoffman was hitting balls on the range alongside Nicklaus, he even got the Golden Bear and Palmer (he just missed Player) to sign a few Masters flags for his charitable foundation.

So, in short, Hoffman's day began by watching three Masters legends tee off and then he went out and played like one.

2. Jordan Spieth
Why?:
Well, because his round Thursday -- until the bogey on No. 15 -- was as close to videogame-like as you can get. With his poise, confidence and tremendous ability lately, it's nearly impossible to belief that he's just 21 years old.

Spieth, one year removed from that runner-up finish in his Masters debut, fired an 8-under 64 -- one off the Augusta National course record -- to take the first-round lead by three shots.

Is it a surprise that he's in the lead? Not really. He's been the best player on Tour the last several weeks. His last three starts, in order, go: win, runner-up, runner-up. Spieth came into Augusta National red-hot. The surprise here is that not only did he live up to the expectations of a favorite, but he may have even exceeded them.

In five rounds in the Masters, all five have been sub-par for Spieth. Just so much precision and in such control at a place where he really shouldn't have any business feeling so comfortable just yet. He feels like he belongs and he's playing like it.

Still, there are 54 holes left to be played. Not since Trevor Immelman in 2008 has the player with the lead or share of the first-round lead gone on to win the Masters.

1. Tom Watson
Why?:
The 65-year-old, two-time Masters champion, shot a 1-under 71 -- just the third time since finishing fourth in 1997 that Watson has broken par at Augusta National. And, even better, he made an 8-footer on the final hole to close it out.

Until Thursday's 71, Watson hadn't broken par at the Augusta National since a stunning 5-under 67 at age 60 in the opening round of the 2010 Masters.

Not surprisingly, Watson was pleased with his efforts: 

April 9, 2015 - 5:01pm
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T.J. Auclair
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Matt Kuchar
USA Today Sports Images
Many shots at Augusta National require the perfect touch. Matt Kuchar displayed just that with his eagle on No. 13 on Thursday.

The par-5 13th hole at Augusta National -- the final hole on the three-hole Amen Corner loop -- is arguably the most beautiful on the course. And that's saying something, because there are so many gorgeous holes out there.

Being a reachable par 5, it can also be one of the most dramatic holes on the course.

And so, that's what it was for Matt Kuchar on Thursday in the first round of the Masters.

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

Just off the back of the green in two, Kuchar had the perfect touch, chipping it in for an unlikely eagle.

You can watch how he did it here:

 

That eagle canceled out the double bogey Kuchar made on the par-5 eighth hole and had him at 1 under for the day.

Kuchar has finished in the top 10 at each of the last three Masters Tournaments.