Turbotodd

Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Archive for the ‘the masters’ Category

A Better Tiger Roars

leave a comment »

Holy moly macaroni, Batman!

You look away for the weekend and the next thing you know the last season of "Game of Thrones" has begin and Tiger Woods has won his fifth green jacket.

And this despite the fact that for a couple of hours yesterday morning millions around the globe couldn’t share their thrill and Tiger’s renaissance at Augusta National via Facebook because, well, for the third time in recent memory Facebook was busy making a triple bogey of its own.

If you’re not a golf fan, there’s no way to really explain how extraordinary the last few days were. If you play the game or love the game as I do, even more so.

I saw an article over the weekend that suggested the average handicapper of 15 (I’ve recently been playing to around a 10) would probably score around 95-100 at Augusta National, and that’s from the member’s tees.

The greens there are the stuff of nightmares, rolling almost as fast as an icy black diamond at Alta. It’s hard to hold an iron shot in the right place, much less a long downhill putt for birdie.

But, of course, most of these guys make it look easy (and none so more than Tiger). Certainly all the rain Augusta had made the greens more receptive he past few days, which is why we saw more and lower scores than usual, particularly on "moving day" (Saturday).

But that also made this year’s tournament so special, because the field was wide open. We saw early leads from the like of relative newcomers like Bryson DeChambeau and Corey Connors, and veterans like Francesco Molinari whose steely and consistent Italian nerves suggested he might be well on his way to his first green jacket.

And he was. He came into Sunday’s early round at 13 under, and Tiger at 11 under. They scrapped all the way until 12, the infamous par 3 where so many have faded under its magnolia klieg lights. Both Molinari and Tony Finau belted their tee shots into the water, probably one part mis-clubbing, one part misreading of the wind, and one part greed (they both wanted some of the far right pin action).

Tiger, ever the Augusta National expert and student of the game, knew better. He flopped what seemed to be a 1,000 foot shot into the air and dropped it into the middle of the green, knowing he could safely play for par while Molinari and Finau scrambled for bogey at best.

It turned out they both scored double bogey, giving Tiger the momentum he needed to move on to 13, tied for the lead, and prepared to become the Tiger of old, the one with the killer instinct, the one who, on 16, hit a gorgeous iron shot that rolled just below and right of the hole to take the lead at 14 under and never look back.

It had been 22 years since his breathtaking first victory at the ripe old age of 21. That was a Masters where he changed not only the game, but the actual golf course (Augusta National felt compelled to "Tiger proof" the course after that rout, making it longer and tougher than ever).

And yes, a lot has happened between now and then, to the world, to Tiger Woods. But that which doesn’t kill us…not only makes us stronger, but typically makes us better people.

I think that’s been the case with Tiger Woods. In 2005, I doubt there were many other golfers standing around waiting to congratulate Tiger as he came back into the clubhouse to sign his scorecard.

This year, I couldn’t count all his fellow players who were there to congratulate him on winning his fifth green jacket.To watch that moment, where he was recognized by his fellow players, many of whom would go on to play the game because of the inspiration he provided — that, to me, demonstrated the metamorphosis Woods had undergone.

He was once again a great golfer, yes, but through all his trials and tribulations had also become a better human being. And that was probably his biggest victory, on and off the course.

Written by turbotodd

April 15, 2019 at 9:52 am

To Mars and Augusta and Back

leave a comment »

SXSW Interactive kicked into high gear over the weekend here in Austin. I won’t be in attendance this year, but Elon Musk made some news over the weekend by suggesting that SpaceX is on track to send his Mars-intended rocket on short trips by 2019.

The target for a cargo mission was 2022.

In a report  from CNBC, Musk also elaborated about what was needed to get things going on the Red Planet: “Mars will need Glass domes, a power station, and an assortment of basic living fundamentals.”

One would presume those fundamentals include at least 2-3 Tesla Model 3s.

‘Cause, you know, you gotta tool around Mars in style.

Back here on planet Earth, a longtime unicorn may very well finally be going public. Dropbox filed an updated IPO prospectus indicating it planned to sell 36 million shares between $16 and $18 a share, according to a report from The New York Times. 

The company is expected to start trading on the Nasdaq next week under the ticker symbol “DBX.”

Finally, golf fans everywhere were treated to a real treat at this weekend’s Valspar Championship.

Tiger Woods was back in contention at a PGA Tour event. He hadn’t won a tournament since 2013, and he still hasn’t. 

But his play on the tough Innisbruck Copperhead Course, home of the golf snakebite, was in top form and he ended up tied for second. Englishman Paul Casey won the tournament, garnering only his second win on the PGA Tour and his first since 2009. Congrats!

So, there were cinderella redux stories all around, and The Masters is only a few weeks away. Might Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods be ready to set the pace once again at Augusta National?

A final round pairing of those two at The National?…well, a fella can always dream.

Written by turbotodd

March 12, 2018 at 9:42 am

Another Spanish Green Jacket

leave a comment »

If you’re a golf fan of any degree, and you watched the finish of the 2017 Masters in Augusta, Georgia yesterday, you know that once again it was a special Sunday finish for longtime Spanish pro golfer, Sergio Garcia.

Up to yesterday, Garcia had started in 73 major championship tournaments stretching back to 1999, and had never crossed the finish line first.

That all changed in a one-hole sudden death playoff after he, and English golfer and U.S. Open champion Justin Rose, walked the 18th hole for the second time in a day. With Rose’s drive off to the far right side of the 18th fairway and into the pine straw, the green nearly hidden from view, Sergio had his opportunity to strike.

And boy did he, planting his approach inside ten feet of the flag, and eagerly awaiting Rose’s bogey finish before Garcia sank his birdie putt to put an exclamation point on his strong finish.

That it all happened on what would have been the 60th birthday of now deceased Spanish golfer and two-time Masters winner, and Garcia’s idol, Seve Ballasteros …well, it writes itself.

I had occasion to visit Augusta National and the Masters for the first time last week, and as a longtime fan and player of the game of golf, I will only say nothing can prepare you for the real thing.

I’ve watched the tournament on TV and virtually for the better part of 20 years — ever since IBM first started building the Masters Website — and the undulations and diverse topography of the course are something that can only be fully grokked in person. It is, in a word, simply majestic.

And par for the course, IBM continues to partner with Augusta National in order to bring the best of this world-class competition to fans around the world.

This year, we brought Watson along for a tee time — you can read more about Watson’s work behind the scenes here.

In the meantime, congratulations to Sergio, and Viva Espagna!

Another fantastic Masters is in the bag.

Written by turbotodd

April 10, 2017 at 9:04 am

The Masters: So Much Tradition, So Much Uncertainty

with 2 comments

If I didn’t have a real job, I could spend this entire week blogging about The Masters.

It’s my favorite sporting event of the year, of all sporting events. If you’re an avid golf fan who knows anything about golf history, that’s kind of the way it must be, at least for American golf.

The Masters was initiated by Clifford Roberts and beloved amateur golfer, Bobby Jones, at Augusta National, a new course Jones had built in Augusta, Georgia.  The first Masters was played in March 1934, officially billed as “Augusta National Invitational.”

Jones himself came out of retirement to play the tournament, which helped bolster awareness of the new tournament that was destined to become the pinnacle of American golf’s four majors.

Over the years, it attracted and helped craft the legends of the best of the best in golf: Ben Hogan, Gene Sarazen, Sam Snead, Byron Nelson, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Tiger Woods.

To date, Jack Nicklaus was the record for the most Masters victories: Six. Tiger Woods and Arnold Palmer have four each.

My handicapping for this year’s tournament? Well, I’d say like any major, it’s a pretty wide open field. But, if I were a gambling man, I’d certainly have Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson, and Tiger Woods up at the top of my list.

Hunter Mahan, fresh off his Shell Open victory in Houston yesterday, with a putter that is mostly sizzling, would lead the next tier, a group to which I would include Graeme McDowell, Luke Donald, and Angel Cabrera.

I also wouldn’t rule out Jason Day, Jason Dufner, or even South Korean newbie Sang-moon Bae.

But my money’s going to be on that first group. Tiger’s victory at Bay Hill was well-timed, and his laser iron shots were made for Augusta (and let’s not forget Tiger tied for 3rd last year at Augusta). And Rory demonstrated in last summer’s U.S. Open he could move past the psychological barrier of the hole 10 disaster at Augusta and literally run away with a major victory.

So, it’s anybody’s guess, really.  And that’s why we golf fans love The Masters so much.

It has so much tradition…and yet so much uncertainty.

Written by turbotodd

April 2, 2012 at 3:02 pm

The Masters 2010

with one comment

It’s that time again.

What time is that, you ask?

Time for The Masters 2010, of course.

If you have a 3D-enabled TV set, you’re in for a special treat with this year’s tournament.  Some of the back 9 action at Augusta is going to be broadcast in 3D (no, Alice or the White Rabbit will not be making a special guest appearance).

Alas, I only have a regular HD set, but between that and the IBM-sponsored Master’s 2010 Web site, I know I’ll be in good hands to follow this year’s action.  And I WILL be following the action…all four days of it!

For serious golf fans, The Master’s verges on holy ritual.  And though I still haven’t had the opportunity to walk Augusta live and in person, for me it’s the greatest sporting event of the year.

This year’s Web site has been completely redesigned to allow the story of the Masters to be told in a very visual manner (see the screenshot below).

Less is more, and it’s time to let the golf course tell more of the story.

This year, the live video experience will be enhanced, including HD quality video, as well as a DVR-like feature that will allow users to “rewind key moments.”

There will be additional live coverage (including “Featured Groupings”…hmm, I wonder who will make it to those this year!), and the leader board will be updated to include key shots.

For you mobile users, the updated iPhone app will be updated and include the expanded live video coverage (along with radio coverage as well, for those of you listening discriminately at work!).

The mobile coverage will be expanded to ensure high-end smart phones have the best possible user experience.

And for all you lucky new iPad owners out there, my inside sources have it that the Master’s iPhone app will work there as well.

Just don’t rub it in.

Masters home page live video 04-04-10

Written by turbotodd

April 5, 2010 at 2:58 pm

Posted in golf, ibm, the masters

Tagged with , , , ,

%d bloggers like this: