Notebook: Langer's birdie binge is washed out
Monday, April 15, 2013
Surely you heard that Tiger Woods caught a bad break Friday at No. 15, striking the flagstick, and then compounded it with an illegal drop.
In golf, however, bad luck abounds. It found a hard-charging Bernhard Langer on Sunday as well, to hear the 55-year-old German tell it.
Langer stood 5 under through 57 holes. But the rains came, after which he joined the ranks of golfers who found difficulty in gauging the speed of Augusta National's famed greens, he said. Then at Amen Corner, he said he fell victim to poor fortune – with back-to-back double bogeys.
"On 12, I hit a good shot that hit the bank and rolled back in the water," Langer said. "Thirteen, I probably hit the best shot of the week, my second shot, hit a little twig like this at the very end, in a tall tree, hit that and went straight left. Unplayable. Made 7.
"So those two holes cost me five shots right there. Because I hit that ball perfect. It was going left of the flag and it was solid, it was a perfect shot on 13 . . . if it hadn't hit that little twig, I would have been putting for eagle or birdie."
Before bogeys at Nos. 6, 7 and 10 sent him into Amen Corner at even par for the day, Langer had started his round with three straight birdies. And yes, the string of early success got him thinking about adding to his wardrobe.
"Well, it energized me greatly because that's what I needed," Langer said. "I knew I had to go something like 7 under to have, I thought 6 or 7 under, to have a realistic chance to win the tournament. That's what I was trying to do. And to go with three birdies right off the deck, that gave me hope that I could do it. And then it just all went south."
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WESTWOOD CITES PAR-5 SLIPS: Many years, Englishman Lee Westwood is labeled by many as a Green Jacket contender, and 2013 was no different. His 70-71-73-71 week gave him another respectable finish at Augusta, good for T-8, but still chasing his first Masters win.
Sunday, Westwood said his performance on the par-5s wasn't good enough.
"Just didn't play the par 5s well enough," said Westwood, whose best Masters finish is second in 2010. "You've got to do your scoring on the par 5s, and I played them in 4 under par. Didn't birdie any of them the second day, even par on the third day and only 1 under today and hit great drives down all of them today, so a bit disappointing.
". . . Had four feet for eagle on 2, good chance on 5, birdied 7 and didn't birdie 8 from the middle of the fairway. I could have been 5 , 6 under through eight holes and in with a real shot."
Westwood was, however, pleased with his short game – which justifiably garners the bulk of attention at Augusta every year.
"Putted really nicely; short game was good, as well," he said. "I don't think I've had a three putt all week, which is quite an achievement on this golf course."
And Westwood, 39, didn't single out the weather as a short-game complication on Sunday, because he said conditions had changed throughout the four rounds.
"The toughest part was adapting to the speed of the greens," Westwood said. "The greens slowed quite considerably. They were drying out as the week went on and got really fast and slick yesterday, and then today you could really run the ball to the hole."
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TOMS' QUIET, LOW SUNDAY: At 4 over on Sunday morning with a tee time of 10:50 a.m., David Toms was easy to forget. But his round of 67, which got him under par for the week, was not bettered on Sunday.
Toms, 46, started ordinarily enough with six pars – then birdied five of his next nine holes. After a bogey at No. 16, he finished birdie-par for his 5-under closing round.
The Louisianan nearly holed out from the fairway on No. 14.
"I had to be lucky there, I had to hit right into the top of the slope, and we knew that, but I figured I had to hit it perfect to get it to land right there, and I did," he said. "It was a very good shot.
Ranked No. 71 worldwide, Toms was glad to post a score that can give him a lift.
"I needed something like this to give me a little confidence moving forward, and I was pretty down on my game, and I felt like I was close to playing well but it didn't matter," Toms said. "It's just something every round would mess it up, and today I was determined to play better.
"And I followed my game plan not really shooting at the flags too much except for when I felt like I could get to it, and it paid off."
Toms will have an extra week to think about his solid Masters performance before playing in his home state's Zurich Classic of New Orleans – although the week off comes under unusual circumstances, he said.
"Next week I forgot to commit," he said, referring to the RBC Heritage at Hilton Head Island, S.C. ". . . It's 100 percent on me. I had no idea until the transportation lady asked me this morning if I was driving my car to Hilton Head, and I said, 'Yes,' and she said, 'Well, you're not in the field,' and I'm like, 'Oh, no,' and then I checked the computer and I didn't commit. I had no idea. I had a hotel reservation and everything. I haven't done that in 20 years, so I don't know."
". . . I mean, maybe it's meant to be that . . . it's just something I don't do."