Watney hole-in-one causes celebration: Nick Watney almost chest-bumped himself into Ike’s Pond after making a hole-in-one on No. 9 during the Par 3 contest Wednesday.
Watney used a 55-degree pitching wedge on the 135-yard hole. The ball landed eight feet past the flag and spun back into the hole, sending a roar through the crowd and Watney into a jumping delirium that almost caused him to fall down the hill where the tee box is located.
“I’m sure we looked like fools, but it was fun,” said Watney, who said he thinks he has hit six holes-in-ones in his career. He said he chickened out of jumping into the pond to celebrate.
Watney received a hug from his wife, Amber, as he neared the green. He said he’s not sure what he’s going to do with the lucky ball, but he did plan to save it. The wedge, however, will stay in his bag.
The shot also moved Watney into a tie for the lead with Ernie Els. Watney said he wasn’t concerned that the winner of the Par 3 contest has never won the Masters. He will tee off at 12:13 p.m. Thursday.
“Curses are made to be broken,” he said. “Hey, if (winning) happens, the Red Sox won …”
‘Gentle Ben’ cards hole-in-one at age 60: Watney wasn’t the only player to record a 1 during the Par 3. Ben Crenshaw carded an ace on the 115-yard No. 7 hole late in the day’s competition. He used a 48-degree pitching wedge to make the 21st hole-in-one in his career. It also was the second ace he’s carded on that hole. The first occurred in 1997. He aced the No. 2 hole in 2005.
The miraculous shot was the 77th hole-in-one during the Par 3 contest, which dates to 1960.
Crenshaw was one of the more experienced players in the field. Now 60, he is playing in his 42nd Masters this week. He’s a two-time winner, having won last in 1995. He last made the cut in 2007.
Several other players came close. Angel Cabrera hit to 4 inches on the 70-yard second hole, D.A. Points’ shot on the 130-yard No. 4 holes measured 6 1/2 inches and John Huh ended up 8 inches away from the cup on No. 3.
Grandmother blames missed putt on Fowler: Jeanie Tanaka blamed her grandson, Rickie Fowler, for lining her up wrong after she missed a putt on No. 9 in the Par 3 contest.
“I gave her a bad read,” he said. “I was hoping she would make that; it would have been fun to see.”
But she was in a forgiving mode.
“At our age we talk about bucket lists. I didn’t even know I had this on my bucket list,” she said. “I never thought it could be.”
Tanaka said she plays two rounds a week at her home course in Utah. This was her first time as caddie for her grandson. Fowler said he brought his grandfather, who got him into golf, two years ago and used his dad as his caddie last year.
Augusta crowds pick up Dufnering: Even Masters patrons are Dufnering.
Patrons along various holes re-created the pose of a slouching Jason Dufner that went viral several weeks ago.
“A lot of press for not doing anything,” he said.
Dufnering started March 28 when he was photographed slouching against a wall during a visit to an elementary school in Dallas. That photo, featuring Dufner’s arms against his side and with a vacant look on his face, was tweeted. The website Deadspin picked it up, and soon some of Dufner’s fellow professionals re-created the pose at various places, using Twitter to send their versions. Dufner responded by tweeting a re-created photo of his pose and captioning it, “Everyday I am Dufnering.” D.A. Points even re-created the pose after winning the Shell Houston Open two weeks ago.
Dufner, a dry wit who barely shows a pulse on the golf course, seemed to be in a good mood about the meme.
“My wife gets to see me doing that quite a bit, so she wasn’t impressed,” Dufner said.
‘Big Three’ creates chaotic scene: One of the more chaotic scenes you’ll see anywhere around Augusta National is on the tiny practice green behind the No. 1 tee on the par-3 course.
At a little before 3 p.m. Wednesday, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player — known as “The Big Three” around here — came strolling down the hill from the clubhouse to warm up. Minutes later, Rory McIlroy came through the ropes with his rather well-known girlfriend/caddie, Caroline Wozniacki, the world’s No. 10-ranked women’s tennis player. Soon thereafter came golf legend Tom Watson with his threesome, which included UGA grad Russell Henley and amateur Nathan Smith. All the while, relative journeyman D.A. Points and his wife and children shuffled around trying to find a spot to take a group photo.
What proceeded was more hob-knob than actual practice. ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi interviewed McIlroy and Wozniacki for the live TV broadcast as Henley tapped putts in the background. Fans shouted for one or more of the dignitaries to turn their way so they might capture the moment for posterity sake.
Finally, all attention turned to the No. 1 tee when the green-jacketed starter shouted, “now on the tee, Arnold Palmer. Fore please!” Standing directly behind as Palmer turned into his backswing were Watson and Henley, recording the moment with their smartphones.
Only at Augusta.
Wozniacki said she enjoyed the experience, but doesn’t want to be McIlroy’s full-time caddie.
“I would say (his caddie) should be nervous, but the thing is, Rory can’t afford me,” she joked.
Kuchar’s 5-year-old enjoys the giveaway: Cameron Kuchar, 5 years old, with the remnants of a chocolate bar on the sides of the mouth, said he most enjoyed giving away his father Matt’s golf balls after every hole.
“It was cool with some fun moments, but I’m really looking forward to the pictures,” Kuchar said. “Those are kind of the things we’ll cherish and keep for a long time.”