By petedirenzo
Saturday, April 10, 2010

SI Photos: Round 3 | Round 2 | Round 1 | Leaderboard 7:05pm Wow, that was a day, and tomorrow? Forget about it. Look at the top 10 names on that leaderboard - Westwood, Mickelson, Choi, Woods, Couples, Mahan, Barnes, Poulter, Yang, Kim. If you know what's good for you, come back here at 2 pm Sunday as my Golf Magazine colleague Mike Walker takes the wheel of the live blog for the final round. This is going to be epic. Thanks for reading today.6:55pm I mean this as a compliment: Jim Nantz's hushed, sonorous tones at Augusta make me sleeeeeeeeeeeepy. 6:53pm Tomorrow's last group will look like a home-run derby. Phil and Westwood have been punishing their golf balls all week, both flirting with a 290-yard driving average, more than 10 yards longer than Tiger.
LW chips to 6 feet. He'll have that for par, to keep his one-stroke lead. 6:50pm Westwood hits a fat bunker shot from the fairway, leaving his approach short right of the 18th green. If he can't get up and down and makes bogey, he and Phil will enter Sunday tied for the lead.  6:45pm Westwood's drive on 18 trampolines off the left rough and into a fairway bunker.
Tomorrow, Westwood and Phil will play together, barring a Van de Veldian implosion from the Brit here on 18. 6:42pm Tiger birdies 18, his 3-footer dropping dead-center. He finishes at 8-under, 3 behind Phil, 4 behind Westwood. 6:39pm Credit to Nantz and CBS, for a close-up on some of the people who aren't applauding Tiger as he walks up the 18th, after sticking his approach to 3 feet. I half-expected Nantz-Faldo-CBS to all but ignore the scandal, and the fans' reaction. Not so. That was a nice, honest moment. Props, guys.
No one's heckling Tiger, but the silence of many fans speaks volumes. 6:37pm Hey now! Tiger sticks his iron approach on 18 to about 3 feet. He'll have that for bird. 6:36pm Smart play from Westwood, putting his approach on 17 below the hole, about 25 feet away. Faldo told me what the greens at Augusta are like, using 17 as an example. "You literally have a target the size of a man-hole. If you miss that little spot, you might end up on the green, but it could be the difference between a putt of 10 feet and 50 feet. Just a yard too far here or there and it means a MUCH harder putt."
Oh, like you know, Mr. Thee Time Masters Winner. I kid! Thanks, Nick. 6:32pm A report from Golf Magazine's Cameron Morfit. Some random notes from today: Here's why these guys are so good: Stewart Cink, Jim Furyk, Padraig Harrington and Kevin Na were out on Augusta's new practice area today as the leaders went off, working it out. All four of them missed the cut...I met Lynn Swan today. Has a very strong handshake... Jerry Kelly shot a 5-under 67 today to get to 3-under. He wore a red shirt a la Tiger on Sunday. "I said, 'What are you doing? You never wear red,'" his wife Carol told me. Looks like he might be wearing red more often now.

6:27pm Tiger's too firm on a par putt from 8 feet on no. 17. "He blasted it through the break," Faldo says. Bogey for Woods, who dropped his head after missing the putt. 6:25pm Westwood tap-tap-taps in for an easy par on 16, after a great lag putt. He keeps his one-stroke lead. 6:23pm Phil makes his par putt on 18. He finishes at 11-under, after a 67. He has the clubhouse lead. Not the most exciting Augusta back-nine ever, perhaps, but it ranks right up there -- the greatest three hole stretch to be sure, going eagle, eagle, birdie on 13-15. 6:20pm After taking back the lead with a bird on 15, Westwood's 8-iron stops some 40 feet short of the hole on the par-3 16th.
Back to Lefty! Phil phlops it to phive pheet on 18. He'll have that for par. 6:17pm Phil will have to summon some short-game magic to save par on 18, after pushing his approach iron over the green and into the gallery... um, I mean patrons. 6:14pm The people have spoken about Dan Jenkins' tweet from earlier today, in which he cracked: Y.E. Yang is only three shots off the lead. I think we got takeout from him last night. And you, like me, are not amused. Hunter Bishop writes: Dan Jenkins might have gone a little overboard with the takeout tweet. Wow.... I cannot believe that he would say something like that, and expect no ramifications.6:11pm Ho-hum par for Tiger on 16. Phil bogeys 17. Then he pulls driver on 18 but finds the left side of the fairway. Safe choice. 6:03pm Wow, with all of Phil's Hocus P(h)ocus, I didn't realize that Barnes had carded three straight birdies, before carding a par. He's now at 7-under. Shout out to Paul Goydos, who told me in our daily Masters couch report that Barnes was his dark horse to watch. R.B. plays well on big courses (Bethpage last year, Oakland Hills at the U.S. Amateur...) 6:00pm That's the Tiger we know. Woods strokes in a devlish birdie putt from 10 feet on no. 15, just 4 behind Lefty. 5:59pm Tiger on 15 flew his eagle chip a good 8 feet past, and he'll have a curvy putt coming back for birdie.
Some great posts today, gang. I like this one from one Hunter Bishop. He writes: PHIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIILLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5:56pm If Phil pars in, he'll card a back-nine 32, with a bogey to start his inward nine. 5:55pm Tiger rips his iron. Club twirl. But his ball hops over the 15th green. Good swing, but Tiger and Stevie may have mis-read the wind. Eagle is unlikely. We'll see what kind of birdie putt he leaves himself. 5:53pm Feherty on 15, and Tiger. "He is aching for one of those roars." 5:51pm No sweat. Phil brushes it in for par. 5:51pm Phil's long, uphill birdie putt on 16 stops about 3-4 feet short of the hole. And Phil misses more of those short putts than any great player I can think of. 5:48pm Westwood makes par on 13, to remain one behind Phil. Tiger, just 5 back, will have a nice look at reaching the par-5 15th in two after belting a nice drive down the right side. Tiger makes eagle, and he's suddenly creeping up on Phil.
Looks like I picked the wrong week to stop using beta-blockers. 5:46pm Only at the Masters can you go from leading by five to trailing by one inside of 45 minutes -- without doing anything terribly wrong. 5:44pm Reminder: Tiger is ONLY 5 back, after a birdie on 14 to reach 7-under. 5:43pm Westwood gambles with a tricky lie in the rough on no. 13, and his second stops over the green, leaving little green to work with. It will take short-game genius to get up-and-down for bird.
Phil's eagle-eagle-birdie barrage! Couples' chip-in eagle 3 on no. 15! Barnes chipping in for birdie on 14! I can't say it any better than Feherty, who tells us: "We are seeing some of the most spectacular golf that has ever been played here at the Masters." 5:39pm On no. 15, from 89 yards, Phil ... ALMOST... PITCHES... it in! Parks it to 3 inches. Birdie, and sole possession of lead, for now. That's 5-under over three holes, Faldo reminds us. 5:36pm Smart move, Phil. No "I am such an idiot!" moment for Phil on 15. Instead of a risky swing at the green in two, Lefty lays up on the par-5. Meanwhile, Barnes chips in for birdie on no. 14, to get to 6-under. 5:35pm Freddie chips in for eagle on no. 15. Roars aplenty at the National! He's now at 8-under -- 3-under for his last two holes -- and just 3 behind Phil and Westwood. This is amazing!!! Hope my exclamation-point key keeps working.
Man! Looks like I picked the wrong week to stop using Ambien. 5:31pm Moving Day Indeed! Phil has a Mayflower truck parked on Magnolia Lane. As the CBS boys mentioned, with the par-5 15th, Phil -- the co-leader -- has a shot to make Masters history with THREE straight eagles. 5:29 pm Remember that crazy run Phil had last year when he was playing with Tiger on Sunday? He shot 30 (30!) on the front before the disaster at 12. Classic Mickelson. Let's hope he avoids that "I am such an idiot" moment. 5:25 pm On to the par-5 15th for Mickelson. Can he make it three in a row? he's a shot behind a very steady Lee Westwood. 5:22 pm NO HE DIDN'T! PHIL CANS HIS SECOND SHOT ON 14 FOR EAGLE. HE'S 11 UNDER! FOUR STROKES IN TWO HOLES WITH BACK-TO-BACK EAGLES. 5:17pm Freddie has a 4-footer for birdie on no. 14. Just a gut feeling: With his shakey putter, Freddie might prefer a 15-footer to a 4-footer. There's not as much pressure on a longer putt, but you're supposed to make the short ones. 5:15pm Leader Westwood shows a few nerves on 11. With the lake left of the green, his approach bails out and stops in Larry MizeLand, short and right of the green. He'll have to sweat it out for an up-and-down par.
Tiger gets up-and-down for par on no. 12. 5:12pm Phil! He rolls in his eagle putt on 13, to get to 9-under and sole possession of second place. Phil with a little Phist pump.
Meanwhile, Tiger dumps his tee shot into the front bunker on 12. Another hinky swing.   5:10pm From a snarky reader: "Phil shouts 'Come on, baby! Come on!' Isn't that Tiger's line?" 5:07pm Westwood comes to Amen Corner and rips a drive down 11 fairway. Tiger comes to the trickiest little par-3 in golf, no. 12. 5:06pm Phil with the shot of the day, on 13! "Oh, come on, baby! Come on!" That's what Lefty shouted as his approach iron into the par-5 13th parked itself at about 8-10 feet from the hole. He'll have a great look at eagle, to get to 9-under. 5:05pm Nooooooooooo! The dreaded live-blog hex! Couples tugged his 3-footer on 13 for birdie. He stays at 5-under. But Westwood has taken it to 12-under! 5:03pm Freddie's still in it. He'll have a ticklish little birdie putt on 13 to get to 6-under. "He's very much in this," Kostis tells us. Hells yeah, he is. Well, as long as his caddie putts the short ones for him tomorrow. (That's allowed, right?) 5:01pm Woah! Something crazy just happened with the CBS audio. They appear to be broadcasting via ham radio. I knew Augusta was about tradition, but this is ridiculous... 4:59pm Ouch! Ricky Barnes bogeys 11, missing a 4-footer he should have made. But it is the Masters on Saturday, after all. I remember a line from Feherty from a few years back. "On the weekend, the green jacket starts to feel as heavy as a suit of armor. It weighs you down."  4:57pm On 11, Tiger over-fades his drive and finds the right side, in the rough. Baker-Finch: "He looks a little bit nervous to me today." 4:53pm Moron -- umm, I mean, "more on" -- Jenkins' Y.E. Yang tweet later. Back to the golf: Amen Corner has already drawn blood. Phil bogeys 11, but he'll tap in for par on 12, to stay at 7-under. 4:50pm My first reaction to Jenkins' tweet? "What the f---?" I love me a funny tweet as much as the next guy, but a gag at the expense of someone's ethnicity is all kinds of wrong.
Am I overreacting? Dead-on? Too politically correct? Talk to me, people. 4:47pm A serious question for the board, Golf.commies: Am I the only one with raised eyebrows over this Dan Jenkins tweet, from a few hours ago? Jenkins wrote: Y.E. Yang is only three shots off the lead. I think we got takeout from him last night. 4:44pm Tiger has righted his ship, it seems, with a nice drive on no. 10. 4:38pm Tiger pars no. 9. Poulter makes a birdie from 5 feet on no. 8, to go into second alone, 3 behind Westwood. 4:35pm Big putt. Westwood smoothly drops his birdie putt from 6 feet. Birdie on 8, 4-stroke lead for the Brit. For now... Poulter stalks his own birdie putt. 4:33pm Westwood? Five-shot lead? Aaaaaaand... no! His eagle putt on 8 runs 5-7 feet past. He'll have that for birdie. 4:31pm Phil makes his bogey putt on 10. Phil and Poulter trail Westwood by 3, but that may turn to a 4- or 5-shot lead in a few moments, with Westwood having an eagle putt of 35 feet on 8. 4:28pm Phil's left-to-right par putt on 10 halts 5 feet below the hole. He'll have that for bogey. Meanwhile, after a 350 yards drive on no. 8, Westwood's approach finds the center of the par-5 green. He'll have a nice look at eagle, and the way he's been putting all day, a birdie for Westwood seems assured. 4:27pm Phil, just two off the lead, hit a wacky approach shot into par-4 10th green, a rope-hook that overshot the green, leaving him an awkward short-sided pitch. He knocked that on but couldn't stop the ball. He has a long, tricky par putt. Bogey (or worse) very likely for Lefty on 10. 4:24pm Keep up to date on the leaderboard here. 4:21pm Poulter drains a long, downhiller on no. 7, to get to 7-under. Roar! Tiger's eagle chip on 8 rolls about 3 feet past. Hmmmmm. Westwood drops his 4-footer for par on 7, to remain 10-under. 4:17pm Phil will tap in for par on 9. Tiger launches an approach on the par-5 8th that stops about pin-high, but just off the green. He'll have either a chip or off-the-green putt for eagle. You expect him to do no worse than birdie. 4:15pm Westwood went over the trees, a stellar recovery to find the green. He'll face another tricky 2-putt to save par, though. 4:14pm After a looooovely 2-putt on no. 6 to make Johnny Miller weep, Westwood power-pulled his tee shot on 7. He's behind trees for his second shot. Does a bogey beckon? 4:13pm Tiger's carded three bogeys through seven holes, to drop to 5-under. Hardly catastrophic, but it's safe to say he needs a red number on no. 8, a par-5, to kick-start a mini-comeback. His drive finds the right hand side, about 300 yards. 4:11pm Pardon the delay. Technical woe! I failed to use the word "patrons" earlier and Billy Payne had my Internet turned off. All is well now... 4:06 pm Westwood saves his par at No. 6. Mickelson makes birdie at the par-5 8th. Phil is -8, two shots behind Westwood. 3:57pm Tiger bogeys the par-3 6th. His second bogey in three holes. I'll give him credit... he did tip his cap walking off the green. But... Hulk angry! 3:54pm Wow, Tiger's long putt on no. 6 went truckin' past the hole, a good 8-10 feet. Damn. That ball was moving so fast, Gloria Allred was chasing it. 3:53pm Listen, Tiger's trying to win a major. I'm not gonna kill the guy because he said he would try to control his emotions, then ripped himself after another loose swing. I think Tiger shouting "You suck!" IS Tiger censoring himself. 3:51pm Nantz and Faldo talking Tiger's temper tantrum... Faldo: "It's gonna be a test... he's under scrutiny and he's gonna fail at times." 3:50pm Who knew that the first person on the grounds of Augusta to heckle Tiger Woods would be Tiger Woods. Maybe he'll picket himself later. 3:49pm "Tiger Woods youuuuuuuuu suck! G-- dammit!" So Woods could be heard after tugging his tee shot on the par-3 6th. 3:46pm Phil's been, well, very Phil-like over the short putts this week, missing a 3-footer today, and missing a TWO-footer yesterday on no. 5. But he just drained a par-saver from 5 feet on no. 7. 3:45pm I spoke with Tour winner Paul Goydos last night, who'll be watching for how many times the CBS guys talk about Tiger never having come from behind to win a major, which Goydos calls a "silly" point to harp on. More on that later. 3:43pm Tiger drains the curling, right-to-left 7-footer to save his par on no. 5, to remain at 7-under, three behind Westwood. 3:42pm Tiger makes a poor putt from off the front of the 5th green. He's now stalking a 7-footer to avoid a second straight bogey. 3:41pm On 7, Phil tugs his approach into the par-4 green, leaving himself a long putt up the multi-tiered, roller-coaster surface. Poulter looks steady. All pars so far. 3:38pm Quick leaderboard check: Westwood just birdied the 4th to take it to 10-under, for a 2-stroke lead on Poulter, and 3 strokes ahead of Phil. 3:36pm Tiger bogeys the 4th for the second straight day. He's at 7-under, 2 off the lead. Meanwhile, Phil just made his own bogey, missing another short putt. 3:33pm I'm in SUCH a good mood, Harry Connick Jr.'s syrupy Masters voiceover might not make me fling my coffee cup at the tube. We'll see. (But come on, CBS. Harry Connick Jr.? Is it 1992, already? What, you couldn't get Michael Buble?) 3:30pm Sweet fancy Moses! It's Moving Day at the Masters. And I usually hate helping people move -- unless there's pizza and Miller Genuine Draft involved -- but today is different. As I type this, seven players are within 3 strokes of the lead, including Tiger and Phil. Let's do this thang! 3:19pm Golf Magazine's Connell Barrett will be here momentarily, and this is shaping up to be a thrilling day. Tiger Woods birdied Nos. 1 and 3 to get to -8; Lee Westwood bridied No. 1 to get to -9; Phil Mickelson birdied Nos. 2 and 3 to get to -8; and Fred Couples birdied his first two to get to -5.
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