|Luke Donald hits his tee shot on the fourth hole during first round play at the Masters Thursday. (REUTERS)
AUGUSTA - Luke Donald was determined to share the Masters spotlight with Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy and on Thursday he got his wish.
The World No. 1 player was in the clubhouse at Augusta and his score was posted at 1-over 73 with a birdie on the par-4 fifth hole.
The problem was, several members of the media saw him bogey the fifth hole.
Minutes later, the media was notified that the Masters competition committee was investigating a scoring issue involving Donald.
After 45 minutes there was no further update to the situation which was rumoured to centre around a smudge on his scorecard.
The first update came from Donald’s wife via Twitter. Diane Donald tweeted, “Just got off the phone with Luke, NOT disqualified. Thank goodness.”
The 34-year-old Brit had high hopes heading into the week but his usually rock-solid putting wasn’t up to par on Thursday.
For the record, Donald shot a 3-over 75 in his opening round.
The official word on what happened was an “administrative error.”
PLACE TO BE
Going around Amen Corner there are plenty of distractions for players. Playing Amen Corner in Tiger Woods’ group takes it to another level.
Spectators at the most famous hangout on the world’s most famous golf course are able to see approach shots to the 11th hole, the entire par-3 12th hole and the player’s drives on the par-5 13th. It’s no surprise then, that this — along with the 18th hole — are the busiest spots on the course.
Now, add in all the fans whose sole purpose is to follow Woods around the course. When that crowd collides with the Amen Corner crowd, it’s really something.
Despite this mass of humanity, when Woods is about to hit you could hear a pin drop. And after he hits, they want to talk about it. So the chatting begins.
When thousands of people are chatting it becomes more than a chat. Just ask Sang-Moon Bae or Miguel Angel Jimenez who were paired with Woods in Thursday’s first round of the Masters.
With Woods’ tough start and finish — penalty strokes on Holes 2 and 18 — he had a chance to get things going at Amen Corner. He was closer to the pin than his playing companions on Holes 11 and 12 but missed both putts. On the par-5 13th, his second shot landed pin high before skipping into the difficult back bunker. He could do no better than par on all three holes.
The Amen Corner/Tiger crowd was hoping to roar but on Thursday had to settle for light chatter.
Woods finished the day shooting an even-par 72.
THE END OF DAYS
Henrik Stenson tied the record for the worst score ever on the 18th hole at Augusta during the Masters. To make matters worse he was 5-under at the time and poised to become the clubhouse leader. Here is the meltdown in his own words:
“I hit it way left off the tee, a low hook, and the ball was playable in the bushes, so I went in there and got a small gap and didn’t manage to get it out, gets stuck, and then it’s like in a pretty worn spot in the pine needles where everybody has walked, and carved it up the fairway — the worst part of 18 was really overâhitting the wedge and hitting it up in the crowds behind the green and then it took me four to get down from there.
The fifth shot that I played is a foot from being stiff really. Small margins, and obviously with hacking a few earlier, that just made it worse. Finishing with an 8, I don’t think I’ve ever done that.”