2005: What's online - Augusta computer glitch causes fits

Un-Masters-like is the only way to describe the chaotic scene at Augusta National between Rounds 2 and 3. Because of a computer malfunction, tournament officials had difficulty determining pairings and starting times for Round 3, and in communicating that information to contestants.

The weather-delayed second round was completed at 2:30 p.m Saturday. Round 3 got under way at 3:35, but only by word of mouth. Pairing sheets, hastily printed without first names and, in some cases, misspelled last names, weren’t distributed until an hour after the first groups of two had teed off on Nos. 1 and 10.

“It was certainly different,” Rod Pampling said. “We can all look at 50 guys and figure 12 groups off the front and 13 off the back. But obviously something happened, the computer went down or something like that. You just can’t worry about it. They’re obviously doing the best they can. You’ve just got to wait, get your tee time and go.”

Players warming up on the range were told to report to the putting green, where they would learn pairings and starting times. Be ready to go sometime within a half-hour, some were told.

Phil Mickelson’s caddie, Jim “Bones” Mackay, paced nervously on the clubhouse portico, uncertain of what to do next. At 4:45 neither he, Mickelson, nor Mickelson’s swing coach, Rick Smith, knew they had a 5:15 starting time off No. 1 with Ryan Moore.

“We had a computer glitch,” said Will Nicholson, chairman of the competition committee. “I’d like to say it was anything else, but I learned a long time ago that when you make a mistake, you say what happened.”

Nicholson said he was the wrong person to ask about specifics of the computer problem.

“I’m a yellow pad and a pencil guy,” he said.

To the suggestion that perhaps that’s the way the pairings should have been done, Nicholson replied with a laugh: “I wish we had!”

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