Woods weathers penalty, stays in contention at Masters
TribLIVE Sports Videos
AUGUSTA, Ga. — Tiger Woods made two significant moves Saturday at the Masters — one to stay in the tournament, the other to stay in the hunt.
A day filled with high drama before a shot was struck at Augusta National ended with Brandt Snedeker and Angel Cabrera tied for the lead, and Woods only four shots back. For a few tense hours in the morning, it was not clear if Woods was going to get a chance to play.
Masters officials discovered late Friday evening that Woods had taken a bad drop in the second round and should have added two shots to his score.
Under normal circumstances, he would have been disqualified for signing an incorrect card. Officials took the blame for not alerting Woods to a potential problem — they found nothing wrong at first glance before he signed — and kept him in the tournament with two shots added to his score. Woods was covered under a 2-year-old rule that prevents DQs when a violation is reported by television viewers.
“It certainly was a distraction early,” Woods said after three birdies on his last seven holes for a 70. “It happens, and you move on. I was ready to play come game time.”
So was Snedeker.
He's been building toward a moment like this for the last year, and he seized his chance on a glorious afternoon with a bogey-free round of 3-under-par 69. After opening with 12 pars, he birdied both the par 5s and stuffed his tee shot to 4 feet for birdie on the par-3 16th to take the lead. Cabrera joined him at 7-under 209 with a 12-foot birdie putt on the final hole, capping off a round in which he twice made bogey on the par 5s.
They were two players going in opposite directions this year. Snedeker was seen as the hottest player in golf when in three straight weeks he was runner-up to Woods, runner-up to Phil Mickelson and then won at Pebble Beach. His momentum was slowed by sore ribs that kept him out of golf for a month, though he appears to be hitting his stride.
“I've spent 32 years of my life getting ready for tomorrow,” Snedeker said. “I'm going to be disappointed if I don't win. Period. I'm not here to get a good finish. ... I'm here to win.”
Cabrera, whose two major titles include a Masters win in 2009, has plunged to No. 269 in the world.
“I've been working very hard for this moment,” Cabrera said through an interpreter. “And I've got to take the opportunity.”
For Adam Scott, it's a chance at redemption.
He was runner-up at the Masters two years ago, though the fresher wounds are from last summer at Royal Lytham & St. Annes, where the Australian bogeyed his last four holes and finished one shot behind in the British Open. Scott rammed home a 25-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole for a 69 and was one shot behind.
Two more Aussies, Marc Leishman (72) and Jason Day (73) were another shot behind, giving the blokes from Down Under as good a chance as ever to give their country some happy memories from Augusta National. It's the only major an Australian has never won, a point driven home with every mention of Greg Norman losing a six-shot lead on the last day in 1996.
“Obviously, to win the Masters would be incredible,” Scott said. “It would be great for Australia. We've never looked better odds-wise going into a Sunday, except that one year in 1996. It's going to be a hell of a round tomorrow.”
Day was in the lead for most of the day, going 18 straight holes without a bogey until he missed short par putts on the last two holes.
Matt Kuchar (69) was three shots back, and Woods was right behind.
Woods, the No. 1 player in the world who already has won three times this year, was the heavy favorite going into the Masters to capture a green jacket for the first time since 2005 and end his five-year drought in the majors.
His big move came after a bogey on the 11th hole, leaving him six shots behind as he made his way through a back nine that has not treated him kindly of late. But he ran off three birdies on the next four holes and made clutch par saves on the 16th and 18th to stay in the game.
“I'm right there in the ball game, “Woods said. “I'm four back with a great shot to win this championship.”
History is not on his side. Woods has never won a major from behind, every Masters champion has been no worse than a tie for fourth going into Sunday dating to Faldo's comeback in 1989. But at least he's still in the game.
Rory McIlroy was only three shots out of the lead when he took a bogey on the seventh hole. Little did he realize that it would start a nasty cycle.
With a pair of 7s on his card on the back nine — wind shifts led to a triple bogey on the 11th and a double bogey on the 15th — he shot 42 on the back for a 79.
“I play 7 through 11 in 5-over par, and basically, my chances in the tournament are gone,” McIlroy said. “So it's very disappointing. I feel like I have been playing well coming in here, and it's just a frustrating day here.”
Former PGA champion Keegan Bradley had an 82, and Mickelson shot 40 on the back nine for the second straight day and had a 77.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- NFL coaches weigh in on Polamalu’s legacy
- Vehicle break-ins reported at Downtown garage
- Return of 5 starters boosts prospects of Frazier baseball team
- Montgomery’s 3s help team to Cager Classic win
- Penguins notebook: Five defensemen dress against San Jose
- Impasse remains in Iran nuke talks
- Springtime theme adds more cheer to St. Benedict Education Foundation benefit dinner
- Flash!: SummerSounds party; Rostraver Chamber of Commerce
- Teen is Heart Hero at Westmoreland and Indiana Heart Ball
- Seton Hill’s Sounds of Charity gets bigger every year
- Pizza, Brews and More fundraiser draws crowd to Latrobe Art Center