Augusta chairman criticizes Tiger
The chairman of Augusta National had harsh words for Tiger Woods on Wednesday, saying he disappointed everyone with his sex scandal and didn't live up to expectations as a role model. Billy Payne said Woods won't be judged in the future solely on his performance as a golfer, but by the sincerity of his efforts to change as a person. "As he now says himself, he forgot in the process to remember that with fame and fortune comes responsibility, not invisibility," Payne said during his annual state of the Masters news conference. "It is not simply the degree of his conduct that is so egregious here. It is the fact that he disappointed all of us and, more importantly, our kids and our grandkids. Our hero did not live up to the expectations of the role model we saw for our children. I hope he now realizes that every kid he passes on the course wants his swing but would settle for his smile."
Louis Oosthuizen, below, who made the field by winning on the European PGA Tour on March 28, won the par-3 contest by two shots over David Duval, Jerry Pate, 16-year-old Matteo Manassero and K.J. Choi. He's the third consecutive South African to win the event, following Tim Clarke and Rory Sabbatini. No winner of the par-3 contest has won the Masters. "There's always a first time to break the curse," said Oosthuizen, who has three top-five finishes on the European tour this season. "Everyone is aware of it, but to have your name on anything at the Masters, I think, is great." The event had two holes-in-one; both came at No. 9, by Jim Furyk and Graeme McDowell.
Coming at you
To the few Americans who own 3-D-capable TV sets, every undulation of the greens at the Masters will be visible. No longer will putts break for seemingly no reason or will viewers struggle to judge the distance from golfer to hole. A special national broadcast this week is the first of what could soon be many 3-D events available on home TVs. Viewers need to find out if their cable provider carries a separate 3-D channel, which also is necessary. The 3-D telecast will feature two hours of live afternoon coverage each day, mostly of the back nine, with its own commentators. A live stream also will be available for 3-D-capable computers.
It's hard work making Augusta National look so beautiful. Especially when nature doesn't cooperate. Augusta National chairman Billy Payne says that as recently as a month ago, he worried whether the course would be in its usual shape for the Masters because of the unusually harsh winter. The South had rain, frost and low temperatures in recent months, and one day, 4 to 6 inches of snow blanketed Amen Corner. "Our job is to worry about it," Payne said. "So I think it's very fair to say that even a month ago, we were worried about whether or not we could recapture the quality and the brilliance of what we wanted to look like at the Masters. Our very capable staff kept assuring us, 'Quit worrying, and quit bothering us.' They are just geniuses at what they do. There's a lot of love that goes in the preparation of that course, and we are quite proud of it."