Mike Aitken's Masters Blog: Saturday
SATURDAY morning at Augusta and the sky is overcast,the temperature is still cool and the fairways are hushed. In golf, they call it moving day, the time when players position themselves in the majors for the cut and thrust of Sunday's big finish.
At breakfast, all that was moving here was the fleet of tournament Mercedes taking disappointed players to the airport who had missed the halfway cut on Friday evening.
Ernie Els, Sergio Garcia, Jose Maria Olazabal, Bernhard Langer, Steve Stricker, Fred Couples and Aaron Baddeley were just some of the notables who won't have to fret today over fine-tuning their game before the first tee time at around 11am (4pm GMT). For Couples, in particular, leaving before the third round began was sore to bear. The former Masters champion – he won here in 1992 – had previously made the cut on all 23 of the occasions when he'd teed up.
Other than an absence through injury in 1994, Couples, since his debut in 1983, had never finished lower than 39th. His enduring gift for playing well in Augusta in spite of being stricken by a nagging back injury was last seen in full bloom two years ago when he was third. This week,though, he was among the large group of men on four over par – one outside the cut mark – and remains locked in the record books on the same number of consecutive cuts as Gary Player.
Typically of Couples, he shrugged off the missed opportunity as no big deal. One of the most laid back men in golf said he'd never gone to a tournament with the goal of making the cut and was only interested in playing well. He'd done that on the final hole when a ten foot putt for birdie slid narrowly past the cup.
For those who still have serious work to do over the next couple of days, the leaderboard contains an intriguing mixture of rookies, champions and Brits. Lee Westwood is out with Retief Goosen, Paul Casey with Stewart Cink and Ian Poulter with Stephen Ames. The final group of Trevor Immelman and Brandt Snedeker arrive on the first tee at 2.40pm (7.40pm GMT). All of them will be looking over their shoulders at you-know-who.
On one under par, Tiger Woods is tied for 13th and has yet to hit his stride. He's out with Andres Romero at 1.10pm (6.10pm GMT), the entertaining young Argentine golfer who made such a big splash at Carnoustie last summer. Tiger knows he isn't out of it and with so much major inexperience in front of him will likely regard the 'real' leader as Phil Mickelson on five under rather than Immelman on eight.
"Seven back on this course on the conditions coming up," warned Tiger, "you can make that up."
It should be thrilling to watch him try.
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Weather for Edinburgh
Friday 24 May 2013
Temperature: 3 C to 12 C
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