- One Day Tournaments
- Member Clubs
Raymond Floyd, Jr. of Old Greenwich, Conn. and Innis Arden Golf Club is the son of Raymond Floyd, winner of 22 PGA Tour events and 4 major championships, including the 1976 Masters. Floyd, Jr., the 2011 Connecticut Mid-Amateur Champion and an accomplished golfer in his own right, will be posting a daily blog of his encounters on the hallowed ground of Augusta National Golf Club during the 2016 Masters Tournament.
Hello from the craziest day at The Masters I have seen in quite some time. I mean where do I even begin? Spieth having a 6-shot lead at one point in the day only to look like he would be surpassed by an amateur, before the amateur then hit it into the facilities left of 18…twice! The cut line dancing from +3 to +4 to +5 where it stood for a long time, then it went to +6 and would have been +7 if Spieth didn't drain a typical Spieth putt for par on 18 from 12 feet.
You had Phil go from on the leaderboard to missing the cut with his worst round ever at Augusta. You had Zach Johnson glancing the water on his backswing out of a hazard that cost him the cut. You have Rory and Jordan in the last group tomorrow, and with all due respect to Jason Day I think that is THE marquee group that anyone would want to see.
BTW, Sam Snead was the answer to the trivia question at 67 years old and that record is still intact after this week.
Anyway yesterday there were 20 players under par. Today there were only 4 - Rory, Dustin Johnson (don't sleep on him just yet as he is flying under the radar, they barely showed him on TV) and then the 2 skinniest guys on tour Daniel Berger and Troy Merrit, these guys had outstanding rounds today, but they both have to move around in the shower to get wet, they are that skinny, but having watched them both play a little today they absolutely crush the ball.
The scoring average was a full shot higher today at 75.3. Windier conditions, greens that the wind had baked brown and hard, and very difficult hole locations contributed to the drop of players in the red numbers from 20 at the start of the day to just 7 after day 2.
Let me start with the cut. As you know the cut is reserved for any players in the top 50 OR anyone within 10 strokes of the lead. As I type this the Masters replay is on TV and the Spieth group is on #12 green, and Faldo and Nantz are running through the guys that are going to miss the cut and the names like Bubba, Haas, Oosthuizen, Reed, Justin Thomas, Webb Simpson, and Kevin Kisner all thrown out there, well guess what - they are all still around, and with the weather conditions calling for more of the same if anyone that survived the cut can go out early and post a 67 or 66 they are going to be right there at the end of the day on Saturday, also known affectionately as moving day.
Onto some of my first hand observations out there from today. I was on the course from 8:30 till 5:30 only breaking to go to the golf channel studio for pop’s interview at 11:00and lunch at 1:00 so I got to see a lot of golf. I am not sure if I have mentioned it yet, but my brain is completely cooked right now so if this is repetitive I am sorry.
Augusta National had built an entire compound for CBS so they do not need to bring any trucks in for The Masters. They just show up to this huge facility that is located behind the par 3 course and plug and play. Yes, this facility sits empty for 51 weeks out of the year. What they also did was build studios for The Golf Channel at the back of the range - They have multiple studios that look out over the range, so what you see on TV is not a backdrop rather real live action from the range - this also sits empty for 51 weeks out of the year.
In fact the range itself, I am told is only used for The Masters, and The Jamboree which is the big members tournament here at Augusta. It just goes to show you how big this place has become and how they will spare no expense to make this the best sporting event in the world, and they have succeeded. Anyway some observations:
The talk of the day when eavesdropping on other patrons was Ernie Els yesterday and the 7 putt. I actually watched Ernie hit putts before he played his round today and it looked silky smooth and he missed nothing inside of 4 feet. Amazing how the mind can be your worst enemy some times. If he just made that first 2 footer on #1 yesterday he would be +4 and comfortably playing on the weekend.
The wind today was more out of the due west which makes #1 play right into the teeth of the wind. I was watching some tee shots with former major winner and former Wake Forest Alum Lanny Wadkins and we were amazed at how short some of the drives were, in fact a handful were not even halfway up the hill which leaves players a blind shot into a nearly impossible green.
I was dying to see Byeong Yung An and Kevin Na as they got paired together so on every hole where it told you who was coming up it would read:
That would be such a mind trick for everyone - Anyway back to the golf.
Jordan Spieth - I will get back to him in a minute, but after a 4 putt on the 5th hole for an ugly double he came to number 6. We were on the back of this green and the pin was in the very difficult back right location on a little shelf, the hardest pin on the green. I would later hear him say that he caught a gust of wind right before he hit the shot, well anyway this thing went into the crowd long and it left him a near impossible shot.
He hit about the best shot he could have to about 12 feet and poured the putt right in the middle. It was awesome. Think about it the kid has not made a bogey in 22 holes in very tough conditions and then 4 putts for a double and then staring at 12 footer for par where the wheels would come off most people, and boom he makes it. Heart of a Champion.
Another thing on Jordan and this I just saw on TV but on 15 all 3 members of his group, Casey, DeChambeau, and Spieth went for the green in 2. Casey said he hit his in the heel and Jordan said he hit his high on the toe - it got me to thinking. When I have done some club testing in the past the spot on the club where the ball always goes the furthest is a little high and on the toe from the sweet spot, and the spot where it goes the shortest is on the heel, I think that was the difference of Jordan and Casey today on the 15th hole. Jordan ended up on the green with an easy 2-putt birdie and Casey made 6 after his heeler trickled back into the pond.
Another thing with Jordan and DeChambeau, and I am going to have more on both of these guys later, but hole 15 was into the wind and Jordan was about 20 yards further than Bryson, but on #17 which goes in an opposite direction than #15 so it was downwind Bryson was 50 by Jordan. Spieth is not known as a long hitter, but he has a very boring ball flight and he can get it out there into the wind, where Bryson, I noticed hits it very high so his ball will travel further downwind. So if anyone was noticing the discrepancies in distance it was very windy out there, and ball flight really matters in both directions.
Kiradech Aphibarnrat - I watched this guy play a few holes as he was paired with Snedeker. The guy is good, yes he was huffing and puffing walking up every hole because the only gym this guy has seen is Furyk, but put that aside he has incredible hands and strikes it very well. The 2 putt he had from the back right on 18 green today was a joke it was so good.
He was paired, as I mentioned with Snedeker. Snedeker hit a shot on 18 that held up on the back tier, and only about 2 minutes later when the wind subsided did his ball start to roll down and go about a foot from the cup - it was amazing as from when he hit the shot to when it completely came to rest was about 3 minutes.
I watched a lot of Danny Willett and Sergio. As you know I like both of these guys to do well here. 2 things I noticed - Willett plays pretty fast for a European player, maybe he was in a rhythm or something but he was ready to go when I was watching him.
Sergio, he missed a very short par putt on 17 and had one completely horse shoe on him on 18, at the time those 2 bogeys dropped him from -2 to E and he looked really dejected walking off that green, but here is the thing and no one knew it at the time - He is right there in the mix even though when he was walking off of 18 Spieth had got it back to -7. I would think if someone’s glass of wine or steak is going to taste good it is Sergio’s as he is playing well, gave some away at the end yet is right there in the conversation.
For some reason the sub-air system that I have been talking about was pumping to the hilt on #9 - Not sure why as it never rained last night and was windy and dry all day, but I did notice that the 9th green was almost brown and any balls that hit next to the hole would bounce back onto the 2nd level - Interesting.
Angel Cabrera has played the 15th hole in 16 shots - I will let you do the math there for a second. SIXTEEN!!!! Making a 9 and a 7 and he is +2 overall. If he plays that hole in even par (and for a guy that hits it as far as he does that might upset him) he would be tied for the lead. Remember this is a guy that has a very good track record here.
I know all the talk is revolving around Bryson DeChambeau, but lets give it up for the British Am champ, Romain Langasque who will also be around for the weekend after a solid 73 today.
Bernhard Langer - I mentioned him yesterday and I will say it again today. The ‘85 and ‘93 champion at 58 carded a 73 and sitting at +1 for the tournament is only 5 strokes behind the lead and tied for 15th - Ultra impressive. Also kudos to Davis Love III for making the cut as a senior player at 51 and also to ‘87 champ Larry Mize who had an amazing 73 today to stick around for the weekend at 57 years old.
On to the top 10 and interesting pairings for tomorrow:
1) Jordan Spieth -4 He will be the first to tell you that he did not have his best stuff out there, and also made uncharacteristic mental errors, but guess what this is his 6th SIXTH!!!! straight round leading at The Masters. He is very comfortable at the top and his attitude is second to none.
2) Rory McIlroy -3 Just a dream pairing - the 2 young guns and the winners of 4 of the last 6 majors. Nike vs Under Armour - I feel like Rory has not even played that great, if he finds it watch out.
T3) Scott Piercy -2 The guy just will not go away 3 birdies and 3 bogeys and I do not think they showed him once on TV - at least on the sporadic times I have been watching.
T3) Danny Lee -2 Someone close to the game said stay away from this kid on any sort of action as he is very nervous. They said he was so nervous at the Presidents Cup in Korea that Nick Price actually had to pick around him in some of their matches - Not sure if I am buying that as the guy sits in 3rd place in the Masters going into the weekend - but just letting you know what I heard.
T5) Brandt Snedeker -1 Always plays well here and wants this tournament so bad being a southern boy, I was joking around with a buddy of mine that he plays so fast I feel like it hurts him. If the guy would just take a breath sometimes I think he would benefit.
T5) Hideki Matsuyama -1 I have egg on my face for this as I watched the guy struggle mightily in the practice rounds, but he is so solid and not intimidated at all. Has been in Butler Cabin twice during the green jacket award as low amateur, I kind of think he wants to be in there again except in a different chair.
T5) Soren Kjeldsen -1 Another guy like Sergio who bogeyed the last 2 holes and you thought he was done for, but fast forward 3 hours and the guy is in the top 5 with solid all around play.
T5) Kiradech Aphibarnrat -1 we just kept referring to him as FTG (Fat Thai Guy) as it was just much easier to say. I mentioned him earlier in the post, the guy is a real stick.
T8) Danny Willett E you know my feelings for this player, he didn’t have his best stuff today but hung in there and grinded it out. I think this kid is ready for the big stage.
T8) Sergio Garcia E - remember what my dad said unsolicited on the way to the champions dinner on Tuesday - that counts for something.
T8) Bryson DeChambeau E - This kid is going to be in there in the end. Watching the replay of the telecast and seeing his reaction when his ball went over the green on 15 and him saying it was unbelievable and complaining was kind of a turn off to me. Look kid you are a freak of a talent, but this is your first Masters and you are still wet behind the ears. Then my tone completely changed after I saw him make a triple on 18 and smile the whole way off the green and then graciously give an interview after the round and not focus on the last hole rather all the other good things that he did in the day. Lets be honest he impressed the crap out of everyone. I thought that was mature beyond his years and you need that sort of moxie to compete in an event like this as an amateur. The other thing I heard about him today was that he signed a $8mm deal with Puma over 5 years when he turns pro next week, including a ball deal with Bridgestone. Now you might be thinking the kid has never collected a check in a golf tournament yet, but if he turns into a Spieth, Fowler, or McIlroy it will be the best deal in the world, and I know Puma is trying to compete with Adidas/Taylor Made, Nike, and Under Armour and if they can have 2 horses like Rickie and Bryson they will be in good shape to do just that.
T8 - Dustin Johnson E -Sneaky sneaky sneaky - He was a sexy pick at the beginning of the week but has got lost in the shuffle.
T8 - Daniel Berger E - This FSU Seminole continues to impress in his first Masters - Had a great pairing with 2 European Ryder Cup stalwarts in Jamie Donaldson and Justin Rose and beat both of them.
Interesting pairings for tomorrow, and I am still under the firm belief that if you make the cut, especially this year, you can win the tournament. Last year Ian Poulter shot -10 on the weekend with a pair of 67’s, if someone does that this year who is +5 they will be -5 on Sunday afternoon, and for those of you wondering, tomorrow is supposed to be even windier than the first 2 days with sustained winds over 20mph all afternoon and the temperature only reaching 65 degrees.
Couple that with no rain whatsoever in the forecast whatsoever and these greens are going to be absolutely baked out brown and play very difficult. Personally I do not see -10 under on the weekend and if I had to bet what takes this thing down on Sunday night I would bet you -4 because it is going to play so tough tomorrow. Sunday is not supposed to be windy at all, but I think by that time the greens will be so hard and fast coupled with the traditional Sunday pins and we are in for a real grind to the finish. Anyway the pairings that caught my eye for tomorrow, and remember twosomes for the weekend at Augusta.
9:50am - Bubba Watson - he is playing alone and he will have a non-competing marker with him. This person will be Jeff Knox, who is hands down the best player at the club and consistently shoots under par around Augusta. The reason he will go out with the first group when an odd number of players make the cut is to pace the player, in this case Bubba. Guys just are not used to playing by themselves and by having another guy in your group, especially one that can play like Jeff, makes it easier for Bubba to stick to his routine.
10:00 - Justin Thomas and Kevin Kisner - 2 very young guys that you might see on the Ryder Cup team together in September. I look for one of these guys to go low.
10:10 - Louis Oosthuizen and Patrick Reed - same as the group in front of them I look for one of these guys to make some noise.
10:30 - Haas and Mize - I looked at this and thought it was 1995 - Very cool.
12:10 - Justin Rose and Jamie Donaldson - they played their first 2 rounds together and have played on the Ryder Cup together so some familiarity here which should make them both comfortable. Look for Rosey to make a move.
1:30 - Bernhard Langer and Jason Day - Just an awesome pairing on both fronts. How Langer has dominated the senior tour and Day’s run on our tour it is very cool to watch this pairing as I doubt they have ever played a round in their lives before being separated by just a mere 30 years. Plus this might be the most under the radar a #1 ranked player in the world has been heading into a weekend only 5 shots out of the lead. I mean no one is even talking about the guy.
2:00 - Shane Lowery and Bryson DeChambeau - Lowery struggled today but has those great hands, and I think I am more excited to see how DeChambeau reacts following his triple to end the round. I think this kid will be there.
2:20 - Hideki Matsuyama and Kiradech Aphibarnrat - For all my uncultured friends out there the Thai and Japanese language are so different that these 2 will probably be speaking in English or Sign language out there. Actually Aphibarnrat speaks perfect English, but Hideki still needs a translator - regardless of the cultural lessons both of these guys have a legitimate shot to become the first Asian player to win the Masters.
2:50 - Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy - Do I need to ruin it with commentary?
So much to look for on moving day and I will leave you guys with a quote that Ben Hogan used to say about the Masters – “This tournament does not start until the back nine on Sunday.”
We are all aware of what happened 40 years ago this week when the Golden Bear shot a back nine 30 to win his 6th green jacket. This is shaping up to be anyone’s tournament and with another brutal windy day expected tomorrow I look for the field to bunch up even more than it did today.
I am leaving tomorrow to go back and see my 4 little girls and my lovely wife. I will be on the course till about noon before I have to catch my flight back to lovely LaGuardia. So I will not be on sight when the back half of the field tees off, but I have it recorded on my DVR and will be out there scouting early and watching some of the earlier groups tee off. I will be able to put something out tomorrow night, but it will be shorter. On Sunday I will do a little recap but again it will be from the standpoint of a spectator on TV, but will tie the week together. Thanks for reading and I hope you continue to enjoy it. As customary I will leave you with a trivia question. With Jordan Spieth leading the Masters for 6 straight rounds and winning last years event wire to wire - How many other wire-to-wire winners have there been in The Masters?
Out from Augusta.