Woosie calls it a day at Augusta
Ian Woosnam has said that enough’s enough after failing to break 80 in either of his two rounds.
“I did say if I shot in the 80s, I’d call it a day,” said the 1991 champion who added an 81 to his Thursday 82. “It’s too much. Just going around in pain all the way around, really. You can’t expect to play well while you’re doing that.”
The 58-year-old suffers from ankylosing spondylitis, an inflammatory disease which causes him to hunch forward, and the hills of Augusta National do little to help matters.
“It just seizes me up and I just can’t swing as good as I properly can,” Woosnam said. “I’m in pain all the way around, so it’s time to say ‘bye-bye,’ really.”
Asked about how his game was he revealed to a small gathering of reporters outside the clubhouse that it was ‘in the crapper’.
“I didn’t want to finish off playing like that but you can only do your best. It’s a shame, really. And I’ve got a Green Jacket anyway.”
Els – They kind of looked at me as if I didn’t have pants on
Ernie Els recovered from Thursday’s horror show to pocket four birdies, equal his playing partner Jason Day’s 73 and tried to make sense of the six putts from three feet that began his week.
After shooting his worst score of his Masters career, an eight over 80 which opened with a nine, he emerged on to the practice ground to a round of applause.
“You feel quite embarrassed,” Els said. “It was a very weird, surreal feeling this morning. I walked onto the range and even the players and caddies, they kind of looked at me as if I didn’t have pants on or something.”
On Tuesday the South African changed his stroke to one with higher hands and more of a pendulum stroke. It didn’t work.
“Maybe I felt like that because my brain was telling me this is not normal,” he said. “It just went haywire.”
On Friday he reverted his weight more on to his left side and, although he missed a tiddler at the 1st to drop another two shots, it was all far more satisfying.
“I was almost back to my normal self. You play long enough, you make a fool of yourself somewhere, but I did it on the biggest stage. But I’ll take something out of this. I’ll sit down and see where we go.”
Cross-handed working out for Rory
Rory McIlroy has never ranked higher than 18th in Putts per GIR in his seven previous visits to the Masters.
So far the four-time Major winner is averaging 1.75 which puts him in eighth spot, a stat which makes his switch to cross-handed at Doral a sound one. In his second-round 71 he had five birdies on a day of high winds and high scoring.
“It’s feeling good. I changed for a reason. I felt like it was better for me. I felt like it was a more consistent roll,” said McIlroy, who is one shot behind leader Jordan Spieth. “My putting feels good. It feels much better than where it was in February. So progress report is good.”
Watson pays final tribute to old friend
One of the more poignant sights of the week involved Tom Watson leaving an egg salad sandwich by the 13th tee.
The two-time winner placed a sandwich on the bench by the tee, something he did on both days, in a nod towards his old friend and caddy Bruce Edwards.
Edwards died on the morning of the first round of the Masters, his favourite tournament, from ALS (or Lou Gehrig’s disease). He always packed the sandwich to eat at the 13th as generally there is a wait on that tee.
The tradition of Watson leaving the sandwich began in 2005 and finally ended on Friday.
Edwards worked with Watson at 20 of his 43 Masters. The 66-year-old finished at plus eight, two shots too many, and almost signed off with a putt of over 60 feet.
Trio of 50-plus stars through to the weekend
While we said a surprise farewell to the likes of Branden Grace, Zach Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Graeme McDowell, Rickie Fowler and Andy Sullivan there will be three 50-somethings in for the weekend.
Larry Mize, 57, played the last six holes in one under to finish at plus five while 58-year-old Bernhard Langer continues his incredible form at just one over and five off the lead.
At two over is Ryder Cup skipper Davis Love III, a relative youngster at 51, after back-to-back 73s.