Monday 19 March 2018

Masters Diary

Karl MacGinty

Sharpen up

That's the intention of Padraig Harrington at this week's Masters, but it refers as much to the razor as the Dubliner's golf game.

Harrington reported for duty at Augusta National yesterday with quite a heavy beard after failing to bring the handle of his razor with him to last week's Shell Houston Open.

Confessing it was beginning to itch, Harrington said the facial hair would soon be cropped -- but he insisted he'd never been more comfortable with his swing.

Harrington finished tied eighth in Houston, where he posted four sub-par rounds for the first time in 12 outings since last October's win at the Iskandar Johor Open.

He stayed off the golf course yesterday, instead opting for a lengthy session with mind guru Dr Bob Rotella before a little chipping and putting.

Playing his 12th Masters this week, Harrington said: "I was tired after Houston. It's more important to be mentally fresh to make the right decisions when I go out there."

Quote of the day

"I know it wasn't my putter on fire in the hold," -- Lee Westwood remarked laconically after the private jet he shared with Ross Fisher, their caddies Billy Foster and Phil Morbey, and manager Chubby Chandler made an emergency landing on Sunday after smoke was detected in the cockpit.

The drama occurred minutes into the flight from the Shell Houston Open to Orlando, forcing the aircraft to "nosedive" back to the airport, where it was chased down the runway by speeding fire trucks.

"It was a bit scary, yeah," Westwood confessed. "It never looks good when you smell smoke, turn around and see the pilots have put their masks on.

"That happened to me once before in Switzerland when the landing gear didn't come down properly.

"I was alright, but Ross and Billy didn't look too good. Billy crossed himself a couple of times and looked terrified when we went into the nosedive."

A switch had shorted out so a replacement jet was found.

Tough love

Masters rookie Rickie Fowler, one of American golf's hottest prospects, received a sharp introduction to the straight-laced ways of Augusta National yesterday.

Settling into his seat for his official pre-tournament interview, Fowler (21) unconsciously turned his baseball cap around so the peak was at the back.

Immediately, interview host Ron Townsend, a long-standing Augusta member who resembles ITV's Trevor McDonald, commanded: "Turn around the hat."

"But they won't be able to see my face," Fowler replied. "Turn around the hat," he was told once again and instantly complied.

Irish Independent

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