The Course Designers’ flight at the Masters may not get as much attention as it used to, but what a leader board! Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson share the lead at 6-under par heading into the weekend, and Tom Watson is three back after a second-round 74. Ernie Els survived the 36-hole cut despite a Friday afternoon run-in with Augusta National’s 15th hole; he’s at even-par and T21.
The twist at the Masters, of course, is that the designers are ranked according to their golfing ability, not their design proficiency. That leads to amusing results. Top-ranked designer Ben Crenshaw (Sand Hills Golf Club, No. 19, Kapalua Plantation Course, No. 34) shot rounds of 77-78 and missed the cut by eight strokes. But Woods, who has yet to complete a golf course after three years in the design business, gets to play on the weekend. It may not be fair, but that’s what makes it fun.
Anyway, here are the two-round cumulative results:
Top 50 on TV: The Course Designers’ Tournament is being played at Augusta National, No. 7, but the CBS cameras can’t get enough of the new Tom Fazio-designed Augusta National Practice Facility. The new range, which replaces a foreshortened lawn that ended in a 200-foot vertical net, is more than 400 yards long and lined with azaleas (reminiscent of my back yard). The short-game area, on the golf course side of the range, is roped for spectators and features white-sand bunkers and tournament-ready greens. I’ll review Fazio’s work in more detail in a subsequent post, but for this week only his Augusta National range cracks the Top 50 at No. 47, replacing Oakmont Country Club.