If there's ever a spot for a timely hole-in-one, it came for Jonathan Byrd during Friday's second round of the Valspar Championship.
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Standing on the par-3 15th tee on the Copperhead course at Innisbrook -- and needing some positive momentum after three bogeys in a six-hole stretch -- Byrd took out a 4-iron and made this magic:
It's the first hole-in-one at that hole since 2004, when Mathias Gronberg aced it during the second round. Alas, Gronberg missed the cut that year, as Byrd was in danger of doing, because even with that 1 on his card Byrd was still two shots below the expected cut line with three holes remaining.
Since Tiger Woods announced his indefinite leave of absence from the PGA Tour on Feb. 11 for, "play, and scores, [that] are not acceptable for tournament golf," many have speculated as to when the former World No. 1 and 14-time major champ would return.
We learned on Friday that it won't be next week at Bay Hill in the Arnold Palmer Invitational, where Woods is an eight-time winner. Woods had until 5 p.m. ET on Friday to decide whether he'd play.
Woods announced his decision not to play in this statement posted to www.tigerwoods.com at 2:45 p.m. ET:
I spoke to Arnold today and told him that I will not play in his tournament this year. I'm sorry I won't be in Orlando next week, but I know it will be a really successful event.
I've put in a lot of time and work on my game and I'm making strides, but like I've said, I won't return to the PGA TOUR until my game is tournament ready and I can compete at the highest level.
I hope to be ready for the Masters, and I will continue to work hard preparing for Augusta.
I want to thank everyone again for their support.
With Woods' decision to skip Bay Hill, the question now moves to whether or not he'll sit out the Masters. If he does, it would mark just the second time in his professional career that Woods has missed the Masters -- and the second time in as many years (he missed last year due to injury).
Woods said via Twitter he's still hoping to play at Augusta National:
Missing AP, but making strides and working hard towards hopeful Masters return. http://t.co/KlNFDIeZYi
— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) March 13, 2015
Given all his success at Bay Hill, the decision to skip next week's tournament doesn't exactly bode well for the state of Woods' game since stepping away.
His last victory at Bay Hill came in 2013 when he ascended back to No. 1 in the world-- one of five wins that season, on his way to an 11th PGA Tour Player of the Year Award.
Since then, Woods has fallen to No. 79 in the world, his worst ranking since the week before he won his first PGA Tour event as a 20-year-old in 1996. If he does not play leading up to the Masters, he will be out of the top 100 when -- or if -- he gets to Augusta.
Two tournaments remain before the Masters -- the Valero Texas Open and the Shell Houston Open. Woods has not played the Texas Open since 1996. He has never played the Houston Open, and he has never played the week before the Masters.
The decision ramps up speculation on the state of Woods -- his mind and his game -- leading to Augusta.
He has played only 47 holes this year. Woods missed the cut in the Phoenix Open with a career-high 82 in the second round. A week later, he withdrew after 11 holes at Torrey Pines for tightness in his lower back.
Since back surgery on March 31 of last year, Woods has completed only two 72-hole events. He finished 69th in the British Open, 23 shots behind Rory McIlroy. And he tied for last in an 18-man field at the Hero World Challenge at Isleworth, a course he has played more than any other.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Whenever the Bryan Brothers -- George and Wesley -- put out a new trick-shot video, you immediately wonder: what have they done this time?
Well, this time they used a golf cart as a prop to juggle and toss the ball before it's absolutely smashed.
Check it out here:
What will they think of next? We'll stay tuned.
On Thursday night, world No. 1 Rory McIlroy posted a photo to his Facebook page that just oozed with greatness.
The four-time major winner posed arm-and-arm with arguably the greatest quarterback of all-time, four-time New England Patriots Super Bowl champ, Tom Brady (By the way, there's no "arguably the greatest" in regard to Brady when it comes to this writer, who is filing this post from his home, 25 short miles from Gillette Stadium).
Here's the post:
How good is life for these two? Just a casual round at Augusta National on tap for Friday. That's a great way to get the weekend started early.
Denmark's Morten Orum Madsen had a two-hole closing stretch Thursday at the Tshwane Open that he won't soon forget. He recorded back-to-back eagles -- one a hole-in-one -- at Pretoria Country Club to finish with a 63.
ACES APLENTY: Virginia Tech golf coach makes two in three-hole stretch
On the par-3 eighth hole -- playing about 135 yards -- Madsen hit this perfect wedge shot that landed behind the hole and then made a beeline for the cup:
Some golfers might have a letdown on the next hole. Not Madsen. The 26-year-old native of Denmark promptly eagled the 549-yard par-5 ninth to close out a great day at the office.
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If a bogey on the last hole of your round may make for a sleepless night, imagine how restful you'll feel after going eagle-eagle.