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  • That gentleman above is Jeff Knox. No matter what you're doing this weekend, Jeff's got one up on you.

    Knox is the official Augusta "marker," a tournament representative who plays in the event that an odd number of players make the cut. Many other tournaments simply send that odd man out on his own, but at Augusta, you're always under the care of the club, even out on the course.

    This year, Rory McIlroy was the 51st and final player to make the cut, meaning that Knox got to tee it up Saturday morning with a two-time major champion. Not a bad way to spend a day.

    The purpose of a marker is twofold: to keep the pro's scorecard and to help with the pace of play. Plus, it can get lonely out there on a golf course all by yourself; why not have someone along to pass the time?

    Knox is no chump on the course; no, that would not do at Augusta. He holds the course record at Augusta with a 61, a score he achieved in 2002. (It should be noted that he played from the member tees; from the pro tees,

    Read More »from Meet Jeff Knox, the guy with the greatest job in golf: Augusta marker
  • The second round of the Masters is complete, and with it some very, very interesting happenings around Augusta National.

    Bubba Watson took full control of the Masters, hoping to win for the second time here in the last three years. His round was highlighted by five birdies in a row on his back nine, and he was a short miss on the 18th away from posting the low round of the tournament. Still, Bubba sits at 7-under, three clear of his competitors and in full control of his destiny at Augusta National.

    With Bubba leading, it was up to some of his competitors to make their way up the leaderboard on another tough day at Augusta National.

    John Senden and Thomas Bjorn were both able to post fine rounds to get within three and four shots of the lead, while the timeless Fred Couples posted a second straight 71 to sit at 2-under for the tournament, five back of Bubba.

    The two biggest names chasing Watson are the defending champion, Adam Scott, who despite three early bogeys was able to post

    Read More »from 2014 Masters Day 2 Recap: Bubba takes control
  • Party like it's 1987: A rush of 50-somethings make the cut at Masters

    Score one for the old guys. 

    While younger golfers like Phil Mickelson, Jason Dufner and Graeme McDowell are heading home for the weekend, a handful of fifty-something former Masters champions made the cut at Augusta National on Friday. 

    Fred Couples, the 1992 champion, is making the most noise at -2 through two rounds. But while Couples has been a four-round mainstay for the past five years, the three others haven't seen the weekend as frequently. Larry Mize ('87 champion, +2) wasn't around for the weekend 11 of the last 13 years. Bernhard Langer ('85, '93, +2) missed seven straight cuts before tying for 25th last year. Sandy Lyle ('88, +4) missed three of four cuts at Augusta coming into this tournament. 

    Throw in 51-year-old Vijay Singh, the 2000 champion, at +2 and we've got a full-blown nostalgia party.

    It remains to be seen if any of the men will use their opportunity to make some noise and try to pass Jack Nicklaus as the oldest Masters champion — he was 46 in 1986 — by almost a

    Read More »from Party like it's 1987: A rush of 50-somethings make the cut at Masters
  • Unless you've been filtering your golf coverage over the last few weeks, you've heard of Patrick Reed and his comments after winning the WGC-Cadillac Championship in early March.

    Reed said after his win, "I feel like I'm one of the top five players in the world. I feel like I've proven myself," which raised plenty of eyebrows around the golf world. Reed wasn't lying when he said he has proven himself, winning three PGA Tour events since August, but the bravado he showed was one of the reasons people started raising their eyebrows.

    The comments have followed Reed around since his win at Doral, and on Friday at the Masters even Bubba Watson, the current leader at 7-under par, took a jab at the 23-year-old.

    Asked about what he's learned since his Masters win in 2012, Watson gave up this gem of an answer.

    “Learning to be a good dad, learning to be a better husband, it takes time on you, it takes energy,” Watson said. “And then learning how to refocus, repractice, get back to the level

    Read More »from Bubba Watson takes a jab at Patrick Reed in his post-round interview at the Masters
  • AUGUSTA, Ga. ­­­– Phil Mickelson did not play particularly well the first two rounds of The Masters. He shot a 76 on Thursday and a 73 on Friday to finish at +5, and as a result he’s headed home for the final two days. Here, then, are a few thoughts on Phil at the midpoint of The Masters.

    1. I probably don’t need to begin with this disclaimer, but it’s relevant for what follows. I have never won a Masters, and neither, I assume, have you. (If you have, let’s talk. Perhaps over a round of golf at a certain Georgia club.) Matter of fact, I’ve never even played in a Masters, and thus I don’t know what it’s like to miss the cut in one.

    2. That said, Mickelson’s demeanor in the wake of almost surely missing the cut on Friday could best be described as “unusual.” He was smiling as he came off the green, smiling as he tossed his glove to a young fan, smiling as he embraced his wife and bro-hugged a few patrons, smiling as he approached the media, for heaven’s sake. Who does that? Sure, it

    Read More »from 18 thoughts on Phil Mickelson's difficult Masters week
  • Tiger's fault? ESPN's ratings down 28 percent for Masters opening round

    This year's Masters tournament doesn't include the wattage of Tiger Woods' star power and it's being reflected in the initial television ratings. ESPN announced on Friday that its ratings for Thursday's opening round were down 28 percent from the same time slot in 2013.  

    Last year's first day saw an average of 2.8 million viewers on the Worldwide Leader while 2014's opening round only saw an average of two million people inside the tent. 

    From an ESPN press release:

    ESPN’s live telecast of the first round of the 2014 Masters Tournament on Thursday, April 10, attracted an average audience of 2 million viewers with a 1.5 U.S. household rating, according to Nielsen Media fast national data. ESPN’s telecast aired from 3-7:30 p.m. ET.

    Viewership peaked at 2.4 million between 6:30-7 p.m. while the ratings peak was a 1.7 between 6-6:30 p.m. The ratings and viewership declined from ESPN’s 2013 first round telecast, which earned a 2.0 rating with 2.8 million viewers.

    As Ed Sherman of the

    Read More »from Tiger's fault? ESPN's ratings down 28 percent for Masters opening round
  • AUGUSTA, Ga. - The Masters is a demanding mistress. You want to make her happy, you'd better be prepared to throw everything else in your life overboard ... and for Bill Haas, that even includes his own brother.

    Shortly before the Masters, Haas fired his brother Jay Haas Jr. as his caddy and hired Scott Gneiser on the bag. Gneiser has experience in major championships, having helped David Toms win the 2001 PGA Championship.

    "I needed to switch it up," Haas said. "My brother has been on the bag a bunch for a few years, and I think I needed a change."

    Haas hopes that Gneiser will bring a steadying influence. "He was available and has a major win," Haas said. "He's been under the gun, played a lot of big events. He's seen it. I don't think he can do anything but help me, and I just like him."

    It makes perfect business and golf sense, but oh, is it cold. Add to that the fact that Haas has a long lineage of Masters play in his family, including his father Jay Haas and his great-uncle Bob

    Read More »from Bill Haas fired his own brother as caddy en route to Round 1 lead at the Masters
  • You think you're missing Tiger Woods at Augusta this weekend? Try being the social media maven behind @GCTigerTracker, the Golf Channel-run Twitter account that normally follows the golfer's every move on the course during tournaments. 

    With Tiger on the mend after back surgery, there really isn't that much for the account to tweet out during Masters weekend. But we have to still give @GCTigerTracker, which has over 54K followers, a lot of credit: It has still been a very entertaining follow as the action unfolds in Georgia. 

    Here's a few of the best tweets: 

    Read More »from This Tiger Woods-focused Twitter account is still a must-follow during Masters weekend
  • AUGUSTA, Ga. — You can spend thousands at Augusta National's gift shop and you'll never get something in your bag like this: a genuine in-play ball.

    Jason Day was on approach to the second green at Augusta when his shot sailed and zipped right into the bag of a patron. Greatest souvenir ever, right?

    Well, not exactly. The ball was still in play, so Day and a rules official had to determine the proper course of action:

    Jason Day inspects a souvenir bag.

     Day had to use the ball to finish the hole, but he got a free drop, and was able to get up and down for birdie. Not a bad escape.

    Day, one of the trendy pre-tournament picks to win this year's green jacket, started the day at 3-over, seven strokes behind leader Bill Haas. If he makes it to the weekend, he'll be a long way behind the leaders.

    ____
    Jay Busbee is a contributor for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at jay.busbee@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter.

    Read More »from Jason Day puts a shot right into a spectator's gift bag
  • Every golfer has his own traditions at Augusta National during Masters week, but Tom Watson might have the most touching — not to mention tastiest — of them all.

    As Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star notes, it was 10 years ago this week that Watson's longtime caddy Bruce Edwards died at age 49 because of complications from Lou Gehrig's disease. Watson was in the champions locker room getting ready for the 2004 Masters when he learned the sad news.

    An egg salad sandwich at August (Jay Busbee/Yahoo Sports)Watson would later say that he felt like Edwards was with him during that round of 76 on April 8, 2004 — a loop he made with Edwards' old yardage book in his pocket.

    Touched by that presence, Watson paid tribute to Edwards that day with a gesture that he has often repeated in Amen Corner.

    From the Kansas City Star:

    “Bruce always ate an egg salad on the 13th tee,” said Neil Oxman, Watson’s current caddy and a long-time friend of Bruce. “So Tom left an egg-salad sandwich on the 13th.”

    Sure enough, Watson left an egg salad sandwich on the

    Read More »from Tom Watson pays a cool tribute every Masters week to late caddy Bruce Edwards

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