April 16, 2013

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Scott Outlasts Field At Augusta

By: Joe Williams

One mistake can dash your hopes of winning a major championship. The margin for error is smaller at Augusta than anywhere and sometimes the man that claims the green jacket is the one that avoids the major mistake. So in case you missed it, here’s how Adam Scott ended up winning the Masters on Sunday.

94 players qualified for the Masters.

Sergio Garcia started off hot, but couldn't hold on through Sunday.

Monday

Darren Clarke withdrew because of a hamstring injury. 93 players remain in contention.

Wednesday

Ted Potter Jr. defeats Phil Mickelson and Matt Kuchar to win the Par 3 Contest. Nobody has ever won the Par 3 and the Masters in the same year. 92 players remain in contention.

Thursday

Nathan Smith makes the first bogey of the tournament and drops into last place.91 players remain in contention.

Craig Stadler makes an 8 on No. 10. and falls to +6.

Robert Garrigus makes a triple-bogey on No. 12 and falls to +6.

Other players who posted high numbers in the first round: Alan Dunbar, Ben Crenshaw, Ian Woosnam, Hiroyuki Fujita, Thaworn Wiratchant, Tom Watson, Michael Weaver, Branden Grace, Nick Watney, Padraig Harrington, Thorbjorn Olesen. 78 players remain in contention.

Friday

With the cut looming, several players played themselves out of contention: Louis Oosthuizen, John Merrick, Ben Curtis, Mike Weir, Nicolas Colsaerts, Ian Poulter, T.J. Vogel, Russell Henley, Kevin Streelman, Francesco Molinari, Steven Fox, and Hunter Mahan. 66 players remain in contention.

Mark O’Meara makes a triple-bogey on No. 18 to miss the cut. 65 players remain in contention.

Jason Day makes birdie on 16 to take the lead at -6 and move the cut line to +4. Jamie Donaldson, Martin Laird, George Coetzee, Matteo Manassero, Y.E. Yang, Larry Mize, Webb Simpson and Graeme McDowell are out.57 players remain in contention.

Saturday

Tiger Woods receives a controversial two-shot penalty after the rules committee reviewed him taking an illegal drop and signing an incorrect scorecard in the second round. The No. 1 player in the world lost his momentum and dropped to -1, five shots off the lead. Many of the analysts and golfing greats called for Woods to disqualify himself from the tournament. Woods played on, but couldn’t overcome everything going against him. 56 players remain in contention.

Saturday is known as moving day and for some players, who barely made the cut, there was a lot of moving to do and some couldn’t get it going on the first nine. Tianlang Guan, Ryo Ishikawa, Keegan Bradley, Peter Hanson, Sandy Lyle, Carl Pettersson, John Peterson, Michael Thompson, Ryan Moore, Trevor Immelman, Kevin Na, Vijay Singh, Richard Sterne, D.A. Points, Henrik Stenson, 41 players remain in contention.

Others waited for the second nine to fall apart. The 11th hole was especially brutal and claimed big-name players Phil Mickelson (double-bogey), Rory McIlroy (triple-bogey) and Bubba Watson (double-bogey).  Thomas Bjorn, Scott Piercy, Lucas Glover, Martin Kaymer, Paul Lawrie, David Lynn, Jose Maria Olazabal, Brian Gay, David Toms, Stewart Cink, John Huh, Ernie Els, Luke Donald, K.J. Choi, Fredrik Jacobson, Bill Haas, Dustin Johnson, John Senden and Charl Schwartzel were all unable to get into position going into the final round. 19 players remain in contention.

Sunday

Fred Couples makes a bogey and Jason Dufner makes a double-bogey on No. 1. 17 players remain in contention.

Rickie Fowler makes a double-bogey on No. 3. 16 players remain in contention.

Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano makes a double-bogey on No. 4. 15 players remain in contention.

Justin Rose makes a bogey on No. 5. 14 players remain in contention.

Bo Van Pelt makes a double-bogey on No. 7. 13 players remain in contention.

Jason Day eagles No. 2, making it a three-way tie for the lead at -8. Jim Furyk, Zach Johnson, Sergio Garcia and Steve Stricker are all too far back. 9 players remain in contention.

Tim Clark makes a double-bogey on No. 5. 8 players remain in contention.

Angel Cabrera makes a birdie on No. 7, while Bernhard Langer bogeys No. 10. Langer and Matt Kuchar are both seven shots off the lead. 6 players remain in contention.

Lee Westwood makes a bogey on No. 13 and is six shots behind. 5 players remain in contention.

Brandt Snedeker puts it in the water on No. 13. 4 players remain in contention.

Mark Leishman hits it in the water on No. 15 and Jason Day makes a birdie. Leishman is now three shots behind. 3 players remain in contention.

Adam Scott birdies No. 18 to finish at -9. Angel Cabrera is in the 18th fairway at -8 and Jason Day is finished at -7. Day is eliminated. 2 players remain in contention.

Angel Cabrera birdies No. 18 to force a playoff with Adam Scott.

Cabrera and Scott both make par on the first playoff hole.

Adam Scott sinks a birdie putt on the second playoff hole after Cabrera’s putt just misses the cup.

Cabrera is eliminated and Adam Scott is your Masters champion.

April 15, 2013

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The Week In Sports

By: Anson Whaley

Adam Scott wins first Masters in dramatic fashion: Golf’s biggest event was front and center this weekend and there were plenty of theatrics. First, there was 14-year old Tianlang Guan taking the world by storm by not only making the cut, but finishing as the youngest low amateur in the history of the tournament. Then, there was Tiger-gate, when Tiger Woods took an illegal drop that caused many to question if he should remain in the event. Finally, Adam Scott walked away with his first ever Masters win after defeating Angel Cabrera in a playoff with a birdie on the second hole. Say what you will about golf, but there are few things in the world of sports that can compare to Sunday at the Masters.

How far can the Lakers go without Kobe Bryant?

Kobe Bryant tears Achilles tendon – out for season: The Los Angeles Lakers have struggled all season with a star-studded lineup, but they may have been dealt a death blow last week. Star guard Kobe Bryant tore his Achilles tendon and will miss the rest of this season. So how did the Lakers respond to losing their best player? By promptly beating what could be the best team in the Western Conference – the San Antonio Spurs. Los Angeles’ win on Sunday proved there is still life within the team. While the backcourt is in shambles (especially with Steve Nash who has missed several games), the frontcourt can still be one of the best in the league with center Dwight Howard and forwards Pau Gasol, Metta World Peace, and Antawn Jamison. The Lakers may have a more difficult time keeping up with the younger Oklahoma City Thunder, but you’ve got to give them a fighting chance against the Spurs if they meet in the playoffs.

Louisville defeated Michigan for the NCAA championship: A week later and it seems like old news by now, but the Louisville Cardinals won their first title under Rick Pitino with an 82-76 win over the Michigan Wolverines last Monday. Pitino became the first coach to win NCAA championships with two different teams. The Cardinals went on a tear late in the season and became the trendy pick to win the title. Nearly as important as winning the championship was that they allowed folks like me to finish respectably in their bracket pools despite a plethora of other questionable picks.

Jeff Garcia to New York Jets – ditch Tim Tebow: Former NFL quarterback Jeff Garcia had some interesting comments about young quarterback Tim Tebow in a USA Today interview. Speaking about Tebow, Garcia said he just brings distraction and that having him on the Jets doesn’t add anything positive. He then went on to say that starting quarterback Mark Sanchez’ main competition will come from aging veteran David Garrard or little-used Greg McElroy. I won’t totally disagree with Garcia that Tebow is a major distraction, but I’m not so sure he still can’t contribute to the team if used effectively. I’m not of the opinion that he’s an ideal starting quarterback, but there are certain packages where he can be used infrequently and make plays with his legs. Is that more valuable than what Garrard or McElroy can add? Unless one of them unseats Sanchez or plays considerably as a backup, I’d say yes.

Wrigley Field to get updated look: The Chicago Cubs announced that historic Wrigley Field will get some upgrades as part of a $500 million renovation. That will include the Field’s first electronic video board. Typically I hate stuff like this, but sometimes upgrades are needed to remain competitive. And as long as there’s no plan to make sweeping changes to one of the most recognizable stadiums in baseball, it’s hard to complain too loudly.

February 21, 2011

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The Reinvention of Tiger Woods

By: Anson Whaley

The record book will officially show that Tiger Woods’ road to redemption started in 2010, but 2011 could be considered the year his comeback actually began.

We are all aware of how Woods failed miserably in 2010. But in hindsight, it’s hard to see how it could have turned out any other way. Yes, Woods is widely considered the world’s best golfer. Yes, he’s perhaps the sport’s toughest player mentally. Yes, Woods has laughed in the face of adversity before. But those were particularly difficult odds.

Woods’ personal life wasn’t merely interrupted, but shattered. Divorces for public figures can be a huge distraction, but Woods’ was especially painful because of the events that led up to it. Those types of things have to be incredibly difficult to overcome on a golf course in a sport when spectators are right on top of the action, and it’s hard to imagine that Woods was comfortable in front of them, even if the golf course is considered his own personal sanctuary.

But back to 2010 – Woods may have figured that he would struggle a little and be a bit rusty, but I’m sure the thought of going winless through the entire season wasn’t in his plans. Woods had never gone an entire year without winning a tournament as a pro, and questions still abound about his ability to resurrect his career. So is that career now over? Are the hopes of running down Jack Nicklaus for the most career major wins dashed?

Not a chance.

While it’s no guarantee that Woods will again become the dominant player he once was, he’s young enough that he has plenty of good golf left. For starters, he was the PGA’s Player of the Year and leading money winner in 2009. While he didn’t win a major that year, he still had enough success to make him the world’s number one golfer. It’s hard for me to believe that his skills have deteriorated all that much in just a span of two years.

Tiger also has experience dealing with dry spells in terms of majors. After winning the Masters and the U.S. Open in 2002, he didn’t recapture another major title until 2005. In 2003 and 2004, fans were wondering if his well had run dry. But he’s proven such questions were foolish as he’s won six more majors since 2005.  You wouldn’t think that this recent dry spell would be too much to overcome.

Woods is also the dreaded age of 35 – the beginning of the end for many golfers. Plenty, however, have found success after that age. Phil Mickelson won three of his four majors after 35 and, at 39, won the Masters last year. And when you add in Angel Cabrera’s 2009 win, the last two Masters winners have both been on the cusp of 40. If players without the talent of Woods can have that kind of success, why can’t Tiger? Further, it’s not just the Masters where older golfers can have success. Eight of the past sixteen major winners have been over the age of 35. So age clearly isn’t Woods’ biggest hurdle.

Lastly, there’s the mental aspect. Can Tiger put aside all of the issues that have dogged him since that fateful Thanksgiving in 2009? Well, he’s stared down important putts in the past, and if anyone can do it, he can. Plus, while Woods has been through a lot in his personal life, the questions will eventually end, and he should be able to focus on golf 100% at some point in the future.

Simply put, Tiger has run into a bit of a rough patch, but all signs point to him being able to rebound and return to being one of golf’s most dominant figures.  And I think that 2011 is the year that the rebound officially begins.

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