Archive for the ‘masters’ Category
I joked on Facebook last evening that I was going to have to pay a visit to my cardiologist after watching the dramatic finish to this year’s Masters.
Sunday at the Masters has become a timeless classic when it comes to drama, and whether or not you’re an avid golf fan like me, if you sit down and pay just a wee bit of attention, there’s something in it for everyone.
This year, especially, there was plenty in it for all my friends down under in Australia, and so I want to first congratulate them, and their first green jacket winner, Adam Scott. After Scott’s majors breakdown in The Open last year, it was great to see Scott finally reach down within himself and come out the victor.
Not to mention what I can only imagine means a huge deal in sporting Australia, where Aussie golfers like Greg Norman who, though never grabbing their own green jacket, inspired a whole generation of young and brilliant golfers like Jason Day and Adam Scott.
As it turned out, there was plenty of drama throughout the weekend. Chinese 14 year-old phenom Guan Tianlang received a one-stroke penalty on Friday for slow play and still went on to win low amateur (we’ll be hearing plenty from Mr. Guan moving forward, I’m sure), and Tiger Woods incurred a two-stroke penalty after an illegal drop on 15 on Friday, after his brilliant approach shot hit the flagstick and bounced backwards into the water.
Give Tiger that birdie and back the two strokes he lost on the bad drop, and yesterday’s outcome might have been very, very different.
But in the end, it was a Masters that more than lived up to its name, and kicks of the year’s golf majors with the kind of compelling golf that simply leaves you wanting more.
Even if it is bad for one’s heart.
That’s it, today’s the day.
The first players have already teed off at the Masters in Augusta.
Yesterday, I discussed the virtual means by which you could experience playing at Augusta National.
Today I’m going to focus on the various means by which you can follow this year’s action on and off the course.
First, and most importantly, the leaderboard.
On the Masters web site, for which IBM is the longtime technology sponsor, you can go to the virtual equivalent of the traditional Masters leaderboard.
You can also find the leaderboard on this year’s revamped iPad app, which I’m quickly leaning on as my 19th hole for following all the action from Augusta.
This year it includes live video from a number of the holes, including Amen Corner, 15, 16, as well as two “featured groups,” a Masters “in-depth” feature channel, and for those warm-ups, the driving range, and over the weekend a live simulcast of CBS’ TV coverage.
You’ll be able to access live radio, news features, and pictures from the grounds (including new 360 panoramic images that I suspect will be suitable for framing!).
As for TV coverage itself, that doesn’t start in the U.S. until 3:00 PM EST ESPN. However, live video coverage begins on Amen Corner starting at 10:45 AM on the Website and via the mobile applications, so if you’re hankering to get out to the action, that’s going to be your fastest way in.
This year, IBM is leaning heavily on its SmartCloud technology to help drive quality and continuous operations, along with the flexibility and scalability required by the Masters.
As players peak on the course, we typically see a resultant workload increase in our technology systems.
This helped lead to have the need to provision a new Presentation Services “instance,” for example, in less than 3 minutes using Tivoli Provisioning Manager, as it helps us get new virtual machine instances up and running quickly.
We are also able to move one workload to another on our POWER systems powering the Masters using our Live LPAR mobility in four minutes without service interruption.
Can you say pressure putt???
So as the tournament begins, who will I be keeping a close eye on?
Tiger, for sure. Phil. Brandt. Rory. Graeme. Garrigus. Schwartzel. Colsaerts. Poulter. Oosthuizen. Guan (the 14 year-old Chinese kid).
It’s just an incredibly talented field, as, of course, it always is. Length and shot shaping are always helpful at Augusta, especially right to left, but as Zach Johnson proved several years ago, shorter hitters can score (and win) if they play the right angles.
As for me, I went back and played another virtual round at Augusta last night in my Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12 and shot 2 under.
There’s hope for me yet. That means I would currently be tied with Jim Furyk for second place in my Walter Mitty golf fantasy. But it’s only Thursday…
It’s Masters week, if you hadn’t already figured that from all these golf- and Masters-related golf posts.
I’ve never had the honor of visiting or playing Augusta National myself, but I know people who have.
In fact, I was attending a recent IBM event in Las Vegas when a very senior IBM executive confided to me that he had played Augusta National for the first time recently with several other very senior ex-IBM executive (the gender mix of which I’m not at liberty to reveal.)
I asked him what he shot, and it was a very respectable mid-handicap number, especially for Augusta National — people who don’t know golf can’t really fathom how long 7,435 yards is for a golf course. (That’s why you see so many players who don’t have good distance off the tee hitting long irons and even utility clubs to get onto Augusta’s greens.)
He also explained, as I’ve also heard from others, that TV just doesn’t do the course justice. He explained that the hills and undulations are so much more pronounced when you’re out there walking the grounds.
“Eighteen,” he explained, me nodding my head. “Like walking straight up a hill.” On TV, it obviously looks like it’s uphill, but not nearly the angle at which he was suggesting.
It was at this point that I had to tune out, as he was killing me with this reveal.
So yesterday, after work, I decided I wanted to get to know the course better, and figured why not try and see if there were any golfing games that included Augusta National in their course lineup.
I figure this is the only way I’m going to play some of the world’s great courses, so it’s probably a pretty good investment.
Turns out, Electronic Arts had released a Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2012 edition in that year that included the ability to play Augusta National, and they had a Mac edition, AND Amazon would allow me to download it on the fly and install it.
All for a whopping $20.
I also discovered the 2014 Tiger Woods PGA Tour edition will have a version of Augusta for the Masters in 1934 — so not only can you play with the likes of Bobby Jones and Ben Hogan and all the other greats, but you can play the course the way Bobby Jones and Alister Mackenzie originally designed it.
You just have to have an X-Box 360 or Playstation 3 (neither of which I own!)
The 2012 version will do nicely for now. Once the DMG was downloaded and I had installed the software and got the online presence set up (the game allows you to play a round with others out in cyberspace), I was off to hole number 1, Tea Olive (see pic above).
My score for the round was atrocious, as I was just learning all the controls for shotmaking in the game (that’s my excuse and I’m sticking with it), but the visualizations and greenery were an excellent way to find your way around the course, and to help you better learn how and why players navigate Augusta National the way they do.
For the record, on number 12, I hit about five balls into Rae’s Creek before finding the green — hopefully not a prophecy of things to come should I ever get to actually play a round at Augusta National.
I also found myself in situations that most Tour players would never find themselves which, for me, is about par for the course.
Day one of the 2012 Masters was about what you might have expected, if filled with a few surprises.
Augusta National may have been the “star” today — she was playing very tough, despite the soft greens, and the winds (and, later in the day, light rain) and heavy air, made for some long play.
I can’t remember the number of players who were short (in Rae’s Creek) or right on 13, and only the longest hitters were consistently hitting greens in regulation.
If you take a look at the final leaderboard for the first round, it is, not surprisingly, a “who’s who” of men’s professional golf. As far as the top of the leaderboard, well, it was Henrik Stenson’s to own at 6 under until a snowman (a quadruple bogey 8) on the closing hole dropped him back to −1 (he’d also bogeyed 16 to take him to 5 under).
Lee Westwood came in “under the radar,” as the announcers kept telling us, shooting a sweet 5 under, his last birdie coming at the 17th.
South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen came alive in a birdie run on the last five holes to land at 4 under, along with Sweden’s Peter Hanson.
Then, there was a six-way tie for third, including that most interesting man in the world, Spaniard Miguel Anjel Jimenez.
Beyond that, it was your typical PGA log jam, with former Master’s winner Zach Johnson at 2 under, followed by fellow Augusta green jacket owner Vijay Singh, and 2010 FedEx champion Jim Furyk.
Even Steve Stricker’s in the running at 1 under.
That’s where you also found Irishman and favorite Rory McIlroy, while Tiger came in at even par and Phil Mickelson arrived at 2 over, after a disheartening bogey on 18.
Tomorrow is another day, but if today’s play was any indication, round two should be filled with plenty more drama before we see who survives the cut and moves into the weekend and “moving day” on Saturday.
Here’s what I’m seeing at Augusta so far on day one of the 2012 Masters.
Or should I say, what I’m not seeing.
No birdies by anyone on 11, 16, and 18 as of press time.
Tiger just wasted a birdie opportunity on 15, a hole he would typically be in on two but had to chip onto the green for his third shot during today’s round.
Stenson continues his lead at −5, having given up a stroke at 16, with Jason Dufner coming on strong at 3 under through 8 and 10 holes to play.
Lee Westwood is also coming on strong, with three consecutive birdies at 5, 6 and 7. Keep an eye on Lee — he’s hungry for it.
Keegan Bradley is also playing consistently, 2 under through 16, and tied by both Woods and Woods’ playing partner Miguel Angel Jimenez.
Save for Stenson’s additional two strokes on the field, it’s wide open on day 1!
Well, we’re over halfway through Tiger Woods’ first round at Augusta, and he’s about to make his way to the backside of Amen Corner, having parred both 11 and 12 (although his par putt on 12 almost spun out right).
He just hit his tee shot on 13 and wailed one out to the right with a clear shot to the 13th green.
Henrik Stenson is the surprise of the day, having eagled both holes 2 and 8, and now sits at 6 under through 13.
Scotsman Paul Lawrie is hanging in second place having finished his round at 3 under for the day, but there’s still plenty of golf left to play, and Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson are just getting their round going.
Spain’s Alvaro Quiros has the shot of the day thus far, having gone into the creek on 13 on the right side of the green, and opting to play a brilliant shot from the hazard, water and all, and planting it about 10 feet past the hole. He missed the putt for his birdie conversion, but saved par and avoided what could have been the first major disaster of today’s round.
We’ll see what Tiger does with his approach on 13, but if history’s any guide, he’ll be aiming straight for that flag on the far right of the green.