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Thread: The Masters 2004 - April 5-11

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    The race is back! John's Avatar
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    The Masters 2004 - April 5-11

    Anyone going to be glued to their television this week? I will be.

    www.masters.org

    2004 Masters Preview

    Monday, March 29, 2004
    Vartan Kupelian

    AUGUSTA, Georgia - Mike Weir can't wait to get back to Augusta National Golf Club, and how can you blame him?

    Weir took a little side trip to Augusta National before The Players Championship. It was his first visit since winning the 2003 Masters Tournament. He played the golf course and, with his father alongside, savored the triumph.

    "Each and every hole we went around and I just reminisced about a certain shot or certain spot and showed him where I was and what I was thinking," Weir said. "That was cool.

    "It was fun to get back. Going back to the Masters as defending champion will be really special."

    Therein lies the allure of Augusta National and the Masters. Every return for all those who go there - whether champion or fan - is special. The anticipation comes from the place and the game because Augusta National is all about golf and its traditions. Even for an icon such as Arnold Palmer, a four-time Masters winner, there are few things in the game to compare with the atmosphere at the Masters Tournament in springtime.

    And the best part, Palmer said, is that little has changed in that regard in the half-century he has played in the tournament.

    "The conditions and general things at Augusta are much the same as they have been from the beginning," said Palmer, who will play in his 50th Masters Tournament. "Fifty years ago when I played at Augusta, it was fantastic. It was one of the best places to play golf in the world for a lot of reasons which still exist.

    "I don't think the Masters has changed all that much. It has not changed any more than anything else in our lives today. The technology of the game has changed it a little bit. The other things, the traditions and the way they conduct the tournament, it really hasn't changed. It's much the same as it was in the early days."

    As a youngster, Palmer cherished the opportunity to mingle with the game's greats - Hogan, Snead, Nelson, Sarazen and the others.

    "I think that was one of the greatest things that as a young player I enjoyed very, very much," Palmer said.

    It's one of the reasons he looks forward with such energy to returning to Augusta National this year. Today, he is a legend who means so much to the young golfers in the field, a man they cherish being around and with.

    Ian Poulter is a young Englishman who has earned his first invitation to the Masters. At 28, he's not old enough to remember some of the traditions. But he remembers enough.

    "It's like the putt that Woosy (Ian Woosnam) holed on the last," Poulter said. "And obviously (Nick) Faldo winning on the playoffs and winning against Greg Norman, all those kind of things stick in my mind.

    "It's so great now to be able to go there."

    Weir will attempt to become the 16th multiple winner of the Masters. His victory in 2003 was the product of a wonderful short game and marvelous clutch putting. Weir defeated Len Mattiace on the first extra hole after they finished 72 holes of regulation tied at 281, 7-under-par.

    The Masters already was Weir's favorite tournament, so you can imagine how he feels about it now.

    "I'm obviously really excited about defending," said the left-hander from Canada.

    There is a contradiction about someone who grew up in the cold and snow and whose childhood fantasies revolved around hockey, not golf, winning a major championship. But there should never be any doubt about Weir's resolve or dedication to the game, or his chances of winning another green jacket.

    He played golf anywhere and everywhere he could to achieve his goal. And he survived, like the time his taxi cab broke down on the way to a tournament in Indonesia and Weir carried his bag through rain and mud to make his tee time.

    "I think probably then I had a tough time thinking I would win the Masters," Weir said.

    "Those times, I think, made me tougher and makes it even more rewarding - the six or seven years I've spent playing smaller tours and driving everywhere and finding a way just to make ends meet, to keep going."

    In four starts at Augusta National, Weir has never finished lower than 28th. Clearly, the course suits Weir. He attributes it to his short game.

    "The first three years I remember I didn't strike the ball very well," Weir said. "I was able to be really creative with my short game. A big part of it last year was my wedge play on the par 5s.

    "I've always felt comfortable with little pitches and the different types of bunker shots and bump-and-runs and long shots that you have to hit at Augusta National. I think that's why I've always felt comfortable."

    And that was before he had a green jacket in his wardrobe. Imagine how comfortable he will feel this year. Can't blame him for being eager to return, can you?

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    Starbucks is your friend Bill's Avatar
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    It will be interesting to see which Tiger Woods shows up. I am hoping it is the good one.
    "George Oscar Bluth II, aka GOB, featured magician in the best selling videotape, "Girls With Low Self Esteem" invites you to enter his world.
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    The race is back! John's Avatar
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    Me too, Bill. I'd love to see a Woods/Singh/Garcia final 3 shootout. Probably will never happen

    Wouldn't mind seeing Mickelson have a shot. Or Els.

    Where's Jesper Parnevik? I love that guy.

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    Starbucks is your friend Bill's Avatar
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    Mickelson is playing a lot better this year. I give him a good chance.

    Parnevick was wayyyyyy off last year, haven't seen much of him this year. Gotta respect a guy who wears pink slacks in public.
    "George Oscar Bluth II, aka GOB, featured magician in the best selling videotape, "Girls With Low Self Esteem" invites you to enter his world.
    -- Arrested Development, Season III

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    waiting for spring... MHayes62's Avatar
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    I think Mickelson or Elis have a great shot this year. Both are playing really well going in. I also wouldn't be surprised at all to see Clarke in it at the end.
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    You're a mean one Jay's Avatar
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    I think it's going to be wide open this year. No one has really dominated the young 2004 season. I would love to see Daly do well.

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    Swinging in the hammock Ilikai's Avatar
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    anyone but Singh, I just don't like the guy for a lot of reasons.
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    FORT Fogey Clipse's Avatar
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    I am hoping for Mike Weir to take it. Even if Tiger is 20 shots back they will still show every single one of his shots, drives me nuts. One reason why I am glad I will just be catching the last round. Besides Weir I would like to see Garcia or Mickelson take it...pretty much anyone but Tiger.

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    Masters at a glance
    Associated Press

    AUGUSTA, Georgia (AP) Facts and figures for the Masters:

    Event: The 68th Masters Tournament

    Dates: April 8-11

    Site: Augusta National Golf Club

    Length: 7,290 yards (6,634 meters)

    Par: 36-36-72

    Changes: Three dozen pine trees added to the right of the 11th fairway.

    Format: 72 holes of stroke play, sudden death playoff if necessary.

    Purse: To be determined ($6 million in 2003).

    Field: 93 players, including five amateurs.

    Defending champion: Mike Weir.

    Last year: Weir became the first left-hander and the first Canadian to win the Masters, beating Len Mattiace on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff. Weir made par putts from 5 and 6 feet on the last two holes to shoot a bogey-free 68, then won the playoff with a bogey on No. 10.

    Farewell to the King: Four-time champion Arnold Palmer is playing his 50th and final Masters.

    Missing in action: Martha Burk, who led the campaign against Augusta National's all-male membership, says she will not return to protest this year.

    Tiger Tales: The last time Tiger Woods was coming off a season with no majors, he failed to break 70 all four rounds at the Masters and had his worst finish at Augusta National, a tie for 18th.

    Noteworthy: Augusta National has not played firm and fast since the course was revamped for the '02 Masters.

    Quoteworthy: "It used to be the fun tournament. I don't think it's as fun as it used to be." - Brad Faxon.

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    Round 1 Pairings and tee times (Eastern):

    GROUP TEE TIME PLAYER 1 PLAYER 2 Player 3

    1 1 8:00 T. Aaron C. Coody S. Lyle
    2 1 8:11 F. Funk P. Lonard J. Kaye
    3 1 8:22 C. Dimarco J. Rose R. Mediate
    4 1 8:33 G. Player B. Crenshaw L. Mize
    5 1 8:44 T. Watson G. Wolstenholme B. Baird
    6 1 8:55 R. Beem J. Kelly P. Lawrie
    7 1 9:06 N. Faldo S. Verplank A. Cabrera
    8 1 9:17 F. Couples B. Snedeker D. Toms
    9 1 9:28 B. Curtis M. Campbell F. Jacobson
    10 1 9:39 A. Palmer N. Smith B. Estes
    11 1 9:50 S. Micheel J. Haas C. Montgomerie
    12 1 10:01 C. Stadler S. Appleby K. Perry
    13 1 10:12 P. Mickelson S. Maruyama D. Clarke
    14 1 10:23 V. Singh P. Harrington J. Daly
    15 1 10:34 B. Langer S. Garcia L. Zhang
    16 1 10:56 J. Byrd C. Parry I. Poulter
    17 1 11:07 C. Riley T. Clark J. Maggert
    18 1 11:18 J. Sluman S. Leaney P. Casey
    19 1 11:29 B. Faxon T. Immelman S. Flesch
    20 1 11:40 T. Herron P. Price B. Tway
    21 1 11:51 R. Floyd S. Cink C. Perks
    22 1 12:02 I. Woosnam L. Mattiace T. Hamilton
    23 1 12:13 F. Zoeller K. Triplett E. Romero
    24 1 12:24 N. Price C. Howell III J. Lewis
    25 1 12:35 C. Campbell A. Scott K. J. Choi
    26 1 12:46 J. Nicklaus T. Izawa A. Cejka
    27 1 12:57 M. O'Meara E. Els R. Allenby
    28 1 1:08 J. Maria Olazabal D. Love III R. Goosen
    29 1 1:19 M. Weir N. Flanagan J. Leonard
    30 1 1:30 T. Woods C. Wittenberg T. Bjorn
    31 1 1:41 J. Rollins B. Davis T. Petrovic

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