Today at the Masters: Hats off to Freddie, trousers down to BubbaApril 8, 2017
We select the best and worst bits of Masters Friday, including Funtime Freddie, Rory woe, and, while Thomas Pieters might be topping the leaderboard, his get-up wasn't winning any prizes...
Feel-good moment of the day – Freddie Couples
You can pretty much set your clock by Couples popping up on the Masters leaderboard. Year after year, he’ll be 58 later this year, the 1992 champion huffs and puffs and stretches his back and waves to a friend in the gallery before slotting in yet another birdie.
Poor breaks and shots are shrugged off, great shots are capitalised on and he goes about his business as if he was off to the beach. This is his 32nd Masters, his first time was 1983. And to sign off yet another memorable day down at Augusta National he very nearly holed his second to the last. Two rounds in and he’s under par heading into the weekend.
Spare a thought for – Rory McIlroy
There you are in the middle of the 18th fairway after ripping your driver having just birdied the previous hole. Then you stripe your iron right down the flagstick, so down the flagstick that it smacks the pin and doesn’t just finish 20 feet away but 10 yards off the green.
He looked to have rescued his par with a neat chip but the four-foot putt didn’t even touch the hole – McIlroy blamed that bit on the wind.
So what might have been a 71 and one under total was a 73 and back to over par. Five back going into the weekend.
“It looked like it was going to be a tap-in birdie and ended off the green. These things happen,” he said.
McIlroy did get a huge slice of luck at the sixth when his chip disappeared underground when it should have finished 20 feet past the hole.
Best shot – Phil Mickelson
When you get your caddie to tend the flag for a 70-yard pitch shot from across Rae’s Creek at 13 then you better not dunch it. But Phil doesn’t do dunches and he does do showbiz so it wasn’t a great surprise to see ‘Bones’ having to whip the flag out as Phil’s Callaway ball danced around the hole.
The three-time champion then knocked in the birdie putt – in the side door – and promptly bogeyed the next.
You know your short game is ready for #TheMasters when you have your caddie tend the flag from 60 yards out.
Phil. Mickelson. pic.twitter.com/bieH2kvxjb
— Golf Channel (@GolfChannel) April 7, 2017
Worst shot – Hideto Tanihara
It probably wasn’t the worst but everyone loves a pipe so here’s Tanihara at 15. And it’s an absolute pearler…
Tanihara shank pic.twitter.com/dvjp3xeeJ6
— Eric Buenning (@ericbuenning) April 7, 2017
Best quote – Lee Westwood
“They were dressed in the same colours. Couldn’t tell Shane and Sergio apart.”
There was some confusion over Garcia’s score on the 10th after he and Shane Lowry tugged their tee shots at the 10th with both players having to hit provisionals. Garcia did find his after it ricocheted back into safety and made five though it was recorded as a seven for a while.
In the end the message got through and all was well with the world again.
Worst quote – Bubba Watson
“Golf is tough; I don’t know if you’ve ever played it. But writing articles is easy.”
And that from the same person who came out with this drivel a few years ago in France…
“I don’t know the names of all the things, the big tower, Eiffel Tower, an arch, whatever that — I rode around in a circle. And then what’s that — it starts with an L, Louvre, something like that. One of those. And then we just went around to different shops, just kind of walked down the streets and went to different shops and just to see if there was anything we wanted to buy.”
And he wonders (actually I’m sure he doesn’t) why he was voted by his peers as the player they wouldn’t help in a hypothetical parking lot fist fight.
Best image – Danny Willett
As stances go for your approach to the 1st hole then this isn’t ideal. Defending champion Willett took a while to trust himself to be able to hit the ball and then promptly piped it into the patrons. Minutes later the Englishman had run up a quadruple eight, to go with his first-day double.
Willett signed for a 78.
I can’t imagine how much money it would have taken to get Hogan to play with a pink golf ball.
— Dan Jenkins (@danjenkinsgd) April 7, 2017
Bubba Watson, going with the skinny look, went 74-78. Somebody give him a sandwich.
— Dan Jenkins (@danjenkinsgd) April 7, 2017
Got dressed in the dark – Thomas Pieters
First things first I like the Belgian a lot. I like Pieters because he’s amusing, talented and cool, but part three of that equation slipped a little on Masters Friday with this ensemble.
It takes a certain something to pull off Nike’s current trends and being six-foot-five with flippers for feet doesn’t really help his cause. I’m not even sure what they call this shade of top, terracotta?
Best dressed – Curtis Luck
Each to their own but I’m not sure there’s anything to dislike about anything in this picture.
The Aussie’s caddie is rocking the woolly hat, he might also even be carrying a stand bag, while the US Amateur champion has avoided the same-old branded baseball cap, instead opting to co-ordinate with his snazzy outfit.
Maybe it was just luck but you make your own luck and this was a very welcome change from the black/grey/logo/black/grey/logo/repeat to fade brigade.