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Thursday, December 12, 2019

Golf

Francesco Molinari melts down at 15th hole at Masters

Francesco Molinari held at least a portion of the lead for 14 holes during the final round of the Masters on Sunday, but things came unraveled for him in a hurry at the 15th hole.

After hitting an errant tee shot and then a layup shot that was nothing special, Molinari found himself in a desperate situation. Tiger Woods, who was one of several players tied with Molinari for the lead at 12-under at the time, had already hit his second shot on the green at the par-5. Molinari needed to get on in three, so he took a risk with some tree trouble. It did not work out, as it clipped a branch and went into a water hazard.

Molinari then hit yet another poor shot after taking a drop, and he ended up with a double-bogey to fall to 10-under and essentially remove himself from contention. Woods made a birdie to get to 13-under.

Before he bogeyed the 15th, Molinari was one of several players who made a brutal mistake at the par-3 12th hole. Molinari played nearly mistake-free golf for much of the weekend, but the pressure of the back nine at Augusta may have gotten to him.

Watch: Several leaders put balls in water on 12th hole at Masters

The 12th hole at Augusta National has been a major issue for many golfers over the years, but that was especially true during the final round of the Masters on Sunday.

In the span of about 15 minutes, four players who were at or near the top of the leaderboard hit almost identical tee shots at the 12th. They all rolled down the bank in front of the green and into the water. Brooks Koepka and Ian Poulter did it first, and both were within striking distance of the lead at the time. Leader Francesco Molinari and Tony Finau — both playing in the final grouping with Tiger Woods — then did the same thing immediately after.

Molinari went into the 12th hole with a two-shot lead over Woods and three-shot lead over Finau. He ended up with a double-bogey, and Tiger made par to tie for the lead at 11-under.

If you want to know the type of havoc the 12th at Augusta can wreak, Jordan Spieth can tell you all about it. The trouble it gave golfers on Sunday left the green jacket completely up for grabs.

Watch: Nick Faldo cries reminiscing about first Masters win

Nick Faldo won the Masters three times during his incredible golf career, but the first green jacket the Englishman captured is clearly just as special to him today as it was 30 years ago.

During the final round of the Masters on Sunday, CBS paid tribute to Faldo with some highlights from his win at Augusta National in 1989. Faldo won the tournament in a playoff against Scott Hope after entering Sunday five shots back of the lead. When his broadcast partner Jim Nantz asked him about some of the emotions he experiences when he returns to Augusta every year, Faldo was unable to fight back tears.

Faldo’s win in 1989 was one of the most impressive in Masters history, as he birdied four of the last five holes to force the playoff with Hope. Many players have collapsed on the back nine at Augusta throughout the years, but Faldo is a six-time major champion for a reason.

Faldo isn’t the first golfer we have seen cry over a Masters memory, and he won’t be the last. That level of intensity is what makes the event so special every year.

Watch: Bryson DeChambeau saves his first ever hole-in-one for Masters

Bryson DeChambeau

Bryson DeChambeau is one of the best golfers in the world, but he entered the final round of the Masters on Sunday having never experienced a hole-in-one. That changed before the day was over.

DeChambeau gave the fans at Augusta National their first big highlight of the day with a hole-in-one on the 16th.

As Jim Nantz mentioned on the CBS broadcast, it was the first ever hole-in-one of the 25-year-old’s life. To make the story even more remarkable, DeChambeau missed a hole-in-one on the same hole by about an inch earlier in the tournament. While he’s not going to win a green jacket this year, DeChambeau is leaving Augusta with one of the highlights of his golf career.

Tiger Woods waking up ridiculously early for final round at Masters

Tiger Woods

The Masters moved up its schedule for Sunday’s final round due to the possibility of severe weather later in the day, and Tiger Woods has given us an idea of just how much of an impact that will have on the golfers.

Tee times will begin at 7:30 a.m. ET off the Nos. 1 and 10 tees, with the leaders teeing off at 9:20 a.m.

Since the tee times are beginning so early, Tiger said Saturday that he will be waking up around 3:45 a.m. to get his routine started.

Tiger shot a 5-under 67 on Saturday and will enter the final round as part of the last threesome, joining Tony Finau (also -11 for the tournament) and Francesco Molinari (-13). For comparison, Molinari said he would probably wake up in the 6:00 a.m. hour.

This is a great spot for Tiger to be in, especially after Friday’s scare.

Watch: Security worker nearly takes out Tiger Woods at Masters

Tiger Woods trips

Tiger Woods came up hobbling after hitting a shot at the Masters on Friday because he was tripped by an overeager security worker.

Woods was hitting his second shot on the par 4 14th hole from off the fairway. He lined up his shot through trees and ended up on the green with a great shot. Unfortunately, Tiger came up limping and was shown grimacing in pain.

A video replay showed that Woods was clipped by a security worker who slipped while racing over to try and keep the crowd back and away from Woods.

The worker was not trying to go Grayson Allen on Woods but was rather just trying to do his job well. Instead, he nearly took out the golfer.

Tiger ended up sinking a putt for birdie on the hole and did not seem bothered by the scare.

Watch: Zach Johnson accidentally hits ball with practice swing at Masters

Zach Johnson

Zach Johnson had a moment at the Masters on Friday that every casual golfer can relate to, but fortunately it did not cost him anything.

As he was getting ready to hit his tee shot at the 13th, Johnson accidentally hit his ball while taking a practice swing. It bounced off the tee box marker and a few feet in front of him, at which point the 2007 Masters champion turned to his playing partners and asked, “What happens there?” Be aware that there is a curse word in the video:

As Johnson’s group informed him, there was no penalty for the bizarre gaffe because it clearly happened while he was taking a practice swing.

The most impressive part of the sequence is that Johnson then stepped up and bombed a perfect drive down the middle of the fairway. A less experienced golfer may have been rattled after something like that happened, but Johnson seemed unfazed.