MARCH 27, 2017

By Adam Schupak

Fred Couples has had a constant reminder that his favorite tournament is fast approaching. Last year, he watched every shot of the Masters on TV at home as his chronically bad back sidelined him from playing at Augusta National for the first time in 22 years.

"Probably one of the worst decisions I've ever made," said Couples, lamenting the fact that he didn't at least go to the Champions Dinner and see Arnold Palmer one last time.

His eight buddies who traditionally join him at the Masters were none too pleased, either.

By Bill Fields

I’ve loved the possibility of a senior golfer turning back the clock since the 1973 U.S. Open, when one of my early golf heroes, Julius Boros, had a share of the lead going into the final round at Oakmont when he was 53. Boros didn’t win that major, of course, just like Jack Nicklaus, 58, didn’t win the 1998 Masters and Tom Watson, 59, didn’t win the British Open in 2009. 

Seniors trying to get their hands on a major trophy seem to have been cursed since the legendary Harry Vardon, 50, played the last seven holes in seven over par at the 1920 U.S. Open, putting as if he were a marionette on the strings of a deranged puppeteer.

Morning Read staff report

Las Vegas oddsmakers think Dustin Johnson would look good in green.

After Johnson rolled to victory in the WGC Dell Technologies Match Play at Austin (Texas) Country Club, he was installed late Sunday as the top pick to slip into the Masters green jacket on April 9. Johnson was made a 5-1 choice to win next week at Augusta National Golf Club, replacing 2015 champion Jordan Spieth, a 13-2 pick, as the top selection. Rory McIlroy is third, at 8-1.

Johnson, the reigning U.S. Open champion and No. 1 player in the Official World Golf Ranking, has won his past three starts on Tour: Genesis Open, WGC Mexico Championship and the Match Play. In last year’s Masters, he tied for fourth, after a T-6 in 2015.

Keeping score


Number of consecutive birdies that D.A. Points made to start his final roundSunday en route to winning the Puerto Rico Open. After a rocky mid-round stretch, Points closed with birdies on four of his final six holes at Coco Beach Golf Club to shoot 6-under 66 for a 20-under 268 total and two-stroke victory. Points, who had lost his fully exempt status on Tour last year, gains a two-year exemption. He does not earn a Masters spot because the PRO was played opposite the WGC Dell Technologies Match Play.



Number of strokes by which Mirim Lee won the Kia Classic. Lee, of South Korea, shot 7-under 65 Sunday at Aviara Golf Club in Carlsbad, Calif., for a 20-under 268 total and her third LPGA victory, and first since 2014.



Number of holes, in seven matches, that Dustin Johnson played and never trailed his opponents as he won the WGC Dell Technologies Match Play at Austin (Texas) Country Club. Johnson, the No. 1 player in the Official World Golf Ranking, held off rookie Jon Rahm, 1 up, on Sunday for his fifth WGC title and 15th on the PGA Tour, including his past three starts.



Number of days since Casey Wittenberg, the champion of the Web.comTour’s Chitimacha Louisiana Open, had won a tournament on a major professional tour. Wittenberg, who played the PGA Tour in 2009 and ’13, shot 2-under 69 on Sunday at Le Triomphe Golf and Country Club in Broussard, La., for a 21-under 263 total and three-stroke victory, his first since 2012 on the Tour.


From the industry

Big Cedar Lodge in Branson, Mo., expects to open a short course featuring 13 par-3 holes this spring. The course, designed by Gary Player, will be walking-only and built to take less than two hours to play. It will be Big Cedar’s third course, joining the Jack Nicklaus-designed Top of the Rock, which plays host to the annual Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf on the PGA Tour Champions, and the Tom Fazio-designed Buffalo Ridge Springs. Another course, being designed by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, is expected to open in 2018.

March 30 - April 1
Symetra Tour: Gateway Classic at Longbow Golf Club
Mesa, Ariz.
March 30 - April 2
Amateur: Azalea Invitational
Country Club of Charleston (S.C.)
LPGA: ANA Inspiration
Mission Hills CC (Dinah Shore), Rancho Mirage, Calif.
PGA Tour: Shell Houston Open
Golf Club of Houston, Humble, Texas
March 31 - April 2
Champions Tour: Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic
Fallen Oak, Biloxi, Miss.
April 1-2
College men: 3M Augusta Invitational
Forest Hills CC, Augusta, Ga.
April 2
Junior boys and girls: Drive, Chip, and Putt Championship
Augusta (Ga.) National GC
April 6-9
PGA Tour: Masters Tournament
Augusta (Ga.) National GC
April 7-9
Symetra Tour: Northern California Classic
Windsor (Calif.) GC
April 12-15
LPGA: Lotte Championship
Ko Olina GC, Kapolei, Hawaii
April 13-16
European Tour: Trophee Hassan II
Royal Golf Dar Es Salam, Rabat, Morocco
PGA Tour: RBC Heritage
Harbour Town Golf Links, Hilton Head Island, S.C.
April 14-16
Champions Tour: Mitsubishi Electric Classic
TPC Sugarloaf, Duluth, Ga.
April 19-22
Junior: Sage Valley Junior Invitational
Sage Valley Golf Club, Graniteville, S.C.
April 20-23
European Tour: Shenzhen International
Genzon GC, Shenzhen, China Tour: United Leasing and Finance Championship
Victoria National GC, Newburgh, Ind.
PGA Tour: Valero Texas Open
TPC San Antonio (Oaks Course)
April 21-23
Champions Tour: Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf at Big Cedar Lodge
Top of the Rock, Ridgedale, Mo.
Symetra Tour: Sara Bay Classic
Sara Bay CC, Sarasota, Fla.
April 25-26
National Golf Day

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