YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections


Woods Didn't Earn Jacket on the Greens

April 13, 2006|Thomas Bonk | Times Staff Writer

He had six three-putts for the week, needed 33 putts Sunday and missed two putts for eagle inside of eight feet in the last six holes, so that picture of a glum Tiger Woods attending Phil Mickelson's green jacket ceremony at the Masters said it all.

Woods still tied for third, three shots behind Mickelson, but he knew he had missed a bunch of chances to put some heat on the leader. Instead, Mickelson put it into cruise control and never really had to worry about Woods, or anyone else, for that matter.

With four Masters titles, Woods knows that he had a realistic shot at a fifth, especially because he missed only three greens.

Said Woods: "Something that's always been the hallmark of my game is making putts and all of a sudden I don't make putts."

David Toms, who missed the cut for the second straight year and watched the last round on television, also noticed.

Said Toms: "I watched Tiger miss a lot more putts under pressure than I've ever seen him miss before.

"I think tee to green, he played well enough to win."

Only Fred Couples, Rich Beem and Darren Clarke had more putts than Woods on Sunday.


Augusta National Chairman Hootie Johnson, who was in the news probably more than he wanted last week, got the last laugh over the controversial lengthening and toughening of the course for the Masters.

There were indeed chances for fireworks on the back nine Sunday, proven by Jose Maria Olazabal (also see Tiger), a not-so-long hitting Tim Clark finishing second, and four of the so-called Big Five in the top eight, missing only Ernie Els.

By the way, Olazabal had been one of the players named by Jack Nicklaus as being shoved aside by the lengthening of the course.


In a post-round interview Sunday with CBS, Woods used the word "spaz" to describe his poor putting at the Masters, and created a controversy involving viewers, readers and even some journalists.

Through his agent, Mark Steinberg of IMG, Woods apologized if anyone was offended and said he meant nothing derogatory. Spastic is the root word of "spaz," but "spaz" has evolved into something other than a derivative, more similar to a playground term, over the past several decades. And according to the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, one of the definitions of spastic is slang for "clumsy or inept."

Lewine Mair of the Telegraph of London wrote that Woods' use of the word was "extraordinarily insensitive." The Los Angeles Times story reported Woods' comments this way: " ... once I got to the green, I was a [wreck]." This approach was similar to that taken by many other newspapers and news-gathering entities.


Meanwhile, Toms isn't likely to be discussing Masters procedures, up close and personal, with Johnson any time soon. Toms said he has a few issues with the Masters that he doesn't like.

"It's still a place where the players walk around on eggshells, and not knowing if they're in the right place; they are worried about their cellphone being on, having to stop by the little place, the hut on the way in, to scan your ticket ... " he said in a conference call Tuesday.

"It's just one thing after another. It's like the only place all year where the players don't feel like they are the most important things there. That's the way I see it and I don't think that I'm the single opinion on that.

"It's like CIA stuff, you know what I mean. I don't know, to me, it's just uncalled for.

"It's like the book of rules and I just think it's a little over the top, that's all I say."

Toms was asked if he thought Woods had to stop for a ticket-scanning.

"If he doesn't, why is he any different than me or the Publinks champion?" he said.


The overnight rating for CBS' coverage of Sunday's last round at the Masters drew an average household rating of 9.0. That's up 23% over Mickelson's first victory at the Masters in 2004 (7.3), but down 13% from Woods' playoff victory over Chris DiMarco last year (10.3).

The rating for the final-round coverage was 84% higher than the last round of the 2005 British Open (4.9), 55% higher than the last round of the 2005 U.S. Open (5.8) and 53% higher than the last round of the 2005 PGA Championship (5.9).


More numbers: Mickelson leads the PGA Tour in scoring average, greens in regulation and is second (to Nathan Green) in putting. When he won the BellSouth Classic by 13 shots the week before the Masters, Mickelson played the par-four holes in 17 under. He played the par fives at Augusta in 13 under.


Last word on Mickelson: During the rain delay Saturday in the clubhouse at Augusta National, he had a bowl of ice cream with four scoops. Must be the dessert of champions.


And one last word on David Duval, who earned a five-year exemption to play the Masters for winning the 2001 British Open: He missed the cut and might have played his last Masters. Duval's ranking improved from 436th to 433rd. He was second at the Masters in 1998 and 2001.


Kermit Alexander, Robert Hays, Jay Johnstone, Al Joyner, Pam Teeguarden, Alan Thicke and Paul Gonzales are among the 30 celebrities scheduled to play in the Bill Tarozzi Sr. 14th annual celebrity tournament April 24 at South Hills Country Club in West Covina. The event benefits the children's charities in West Covina. Details: (760) 632-7770.

Los Angeles Times Articles