News & ToursApril 10, 2015

Putting it in perspective: Spieth makes history at Augusta

Rory finally birdies the 10th hole__

After making the turn in 40, Rory McIlroy did something he's never done before on Augusta's 10th hole: he made a birdie, his first in 23 competitive rounds at The Masters. During that birdie-less run he's has had seven bogeys, one double and one triple.

View image | gettyimages.com ____

After banner major season, Fowler averts disaster . . . for now

__Rickie Fowler's breakthrough 2014 featured top five finishes in each of the four majors. Which is why Fowler's start at Augusta National was so disappointing. After an opening 73, Fowler's double bogey on No. 11 brought him to five over on Friday. But he rallied with birdied on four of his last six holes to make the cut at one over.

"I've always had the fight in me," Fowler said. "I don't like going home and I don't want to miss out on playing Augusta whether it's the tournament, a practice round, or just coming up for a trip. So I'm looking forward to two more rounds this weekend. - Sam Weinman__

Tiger Woods should be damn proud of the way he played

__Remember all the talk surrounding Tiger heading into this year's Masters? Tiger had the yips; Tiger should consider retiring; Tiger will never win another tournament -- and on and on and on. But Tiger set the tone early, arriving with a big smile on his face and showing off his kids like any proud father would. His 73 on Thursday was unspectacular but understandable given the circumstances, but his 69 on Friday featured just one bogey. There were some real signs of encouragement, and on this evidence, it won't be a surprise to see him back in the winners circle sometime very soon.

Good to see TW fist pumping again: http://t.co/Lyu47ErHEw

— Tiger Answers (@TigerAnswers) April 10, 2015 __

Spieth makes history

__It's not the ultimate goal he has in mind, but Jordan Spieth has already achieved history at Augusta National.

The 21-year-old parred the 18th hole to shoot 64-66 to break Ray Floyd's all-time 36-hole scoring record at the Masters, when he won the green jacket in 1976. His 130 total ties the lowest 36-hole mark in any major, in 156 years of championship golf.

Of course, praise of the young Texan's feats rained in on Twitter as Spieth finished up four ahead of Charley Hoffman as of 2:50 p.m.

A 21-year-old just shot 64-66__130 to break the 36-hole record at Augusta National. A stunned Masters is (Jordan) Spiethless.

— Thomas Boswell (@ThomasBoswellWP) April 10, 2015

Let me see if I've got this right. All that's left for Jordan Spieth to do is beat Charley Hoffman. I think he might manage that.

— John Huggan (@johnhuggan) April 10, 2015

Looks like tomorrow Charley will be able to get Jordan Spieth's autograph.

— Jim Moriarty (@GWMoriarty) April 10, 2015

How can you possibly Spieth-proof Augusta National? #Masters

— Scott Michaux (@ScottMichaux) April 10, 2015

uewyruw__

__Tiger showing off his hops, and good humor, as he plays well on Friday

After hitting his tee shot on the ninth hole, Tiger Woods excused himself to use a restroom. When he waded back through the crowd, Woods didn't wait for the ropes to be completely lowered before jumping over. The one-footed landing wasn't his most graceful, but that he attempted the leap showed he's feeling good physically.

He's also still enjoying his week at Augusta National. As he began walking to his ball, a fan made a comment about his bathroom break.

"Get your mind back on golf," Woods joked, drawing a huge laugh from the gallery.

Woods' mind, however, is clearly back on golf. After back-to-back birdies on 7 and 8, the four-time green jacket winner got into red numbers for the first time in the tournament. He's at 2-under par for the tournament heading to Amen Corner.__

Spieth's odds

__Jordan Spieth is 12 under through 28 holes at the 2015 Masters, the oddsmakers at Bovada are giving Spieth a 67 percent chance of winning the tournament. It's worth noting that these kinds of odds are less of an official prediction and more of a reflection of what the public things, but it's still amazing how high those odds are considering Spieth is just 21, has never won a major, and at that point still had 44 holes to play.

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__Innovative coverage

It's hard to find much wrong with the Masters, but one thing that is a definitive bummer is how little of the tournament is shown on TV. Especially when Tiger Woods isn't even one of the featured groupings that users can watch online. But ever the optimist, former Back9Network host Shane Bacon has decided to cover Tiger Woods round by producing original, artistic renderings for each of his shots.

As promised, here is what Tiger's birdie looked like on the first hole. pic.twitter.com/sUZZEmUAQf

— Shane Bacon (@shanebacon) April 10, 2015

This must be what Banksy felt like when he was first discovered.

— Shane Bacon (@shanebacon) April 10, 2015

A poor bunker shot on the second from Tiger Woods meant only a par. He wasn't happy with it. pic.twitter.com/OB0ZAHuO0R

— Shane Bacon (@shanebacon) April 10, 2015

A par on 3, it looks like Tiger hit his tee shot on the 4th a bit fat. Still made par. Patrons are getting behind him pic.twitter.com/PdiKGMStGV

— Shane Bacon (@shanebacon) April 10, 2015

A chunked chip on 6 and Joe LaCava is nervous. pic.twitter.com/nMkAxngoYe

— Shane Bacon (@shanebacon) April 10, 2015

Is Jordan Spieth on his way to running away with the Masters?__

__#iframe://embed.gettyimages.com/embed/469165426?et=SV0q_vdgT99eMr-t672jyA&sig=oNyZAepRHZUO47-1nFtiInACmxEKWHU_LC1p0UUbxOw=|||

View image | gettyimages.com

There's still a ton of golf to play. As Golf Digest's Dan Jenkins is famous for saying, the Masters doesn't start until the back nine on Sunday.

That being said, there's still a ton of buzz from Augusta National about what Jordan Spieth is doing so far at the Masters.

Spieth just put his third shot at the par-5 eighth hole -- from 228 yards -- to three feet. Looks like it could be a five-stroke lead for the 21-year-old.

Live look at the Masters leaderboard. pic.twitter.com/8ZLak7mlJz

— Sean Martin (@PGATOURSMartin) April 10, 2015

Spieth makes 18-footer on fifth and reaches 10 under, threatening Floyd's 36-hole scoring record.

— Steve Elling (@EllingYelling) April 10, 2015

"This could be another runaway major. But it's a long way to go." —Raymond Floyd, 1976 Masters champion on @JordanSpieth. #TheMasters

— Stephen Hennessey (@S_HennesseyGD) April 10, 2015 __

Tiger never birdies Augusta's first hole...but he just did

__Before his second round this morning, Tiger Woods spent almost a half hour on the practice putting green next to the first tee. The green speeds yesterday through him off -- he commented in his post-round interviews that he was playing for more speed on a number of putts.

And he looked REAL focused. As Tiger walked back to the practice green adjacent to the first tee before teeing off, an ultra-focused Tiger turned to hand his glove to his caddie. Only it wasn't his caddie.

"Wrong guy," said Neil Wallace, Sergio Garcia's caddie.

"Sorry," Tiger said.

First, Tiger hit a tee shot in the fairway at No. 1. That's a rarity. Then he stuck his approach shot to within 7 feet to set up a birdie. Tiger!

It's clear Tiger is figuring out parts of his game. As we saw yesterday, he hasn't put it all together yet. But he's clearly making advances.

Then Tiger hit the fairway with his drive on 2. Could he start birdie-birdie?!

View image | gettyimages.com__

Ernie Els wants a green jacket more than anything

__Ernie Els has had a great career, no doubt. But after Phil Mickelson won the Masters from him in 2004 by a shot, Els admits to being frustrated at the Masters. He should probably have a green jacket by now.

On being frustrated after 2004, where he finished T-6 or better for the fifth straight year:

"I was trying to wipe it under the carpet that I wanted this one so badly for so many years; definitely, there was something going on. Kind of, you get fed up with yourself," he said yesterday.

Now he sits three behind Spieth in round two. An early birdie at the par-5 second (photo) had him two back, but Els just bogeyed No. 5.

View image | gettyimages.com

The parallels between Ernie Els of 1994 and Jordan Spieth in 2015 are real. The South African had won everything in his home country before turning pro.

Els, in his first Masters in '94, became a factor after shooting a second-round 67, en route to a T-8. In fact, Ernie sees a lot of himself in Spieth, who he sung his praises on Thursday evening.

"You just cannot see this kid not many, many majors. I think he is by far the most balanced I've seen."

Some recommended reading this morning: Tom Callahan's great piece in Golf Digest about Els giving up the party life to re-dedicate himself before his last British Open win.

Jordan Spieth eats breakfast alone

He's alone at the top of the leader board, and according to our man on the ground Ryan Herrington, alone at the breakfast table. I'm sure he doesn't mind:

Everybody's got to eat, even the overnight leader after Day 1 of the Masters. So there was Jordan Spieth, sitting by himself at a table in the players' locker room half past 8 on Friday morning. With a plate full of food in front of him, the 21-year-old Texas quietly soaked in a little SportsCenter ahead of his 9:57 a.m. tee time. Matt Kuchar gently patted Spieth on the back and wished him well, as he finished his meal at another table, leaving Spieth all alone. Just a man and his eggs.__

__Jack Nicklaus memorabilia

Jack Nicklaus had quite a memorable par-3 contest this year, to say the least. He made an ace on the fourth hole, and on Friday, he decided to immortalize the occasion by signing his equipment for his grandson, who caddied for him during the contest. Not a bad way to remember the occasion.

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