By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Yet another call from a television viewer prompted tournament officials to question Sergio Garcia about the manner in which he marked his ball prior to attempting a 4-footer for par at the 17th hole on Friday during the second round of the Wells Fargo Championship.
But after a consulation in the CBS production trailer with PGA TOUR rules gurus Mark Russell, Tyler Dennis and Robby Ware during which the video was replayed in slow-motion, the decision was made that no infraction occured and Garcia's round of 68 was in the books.
According to Garcia, the viewer thought the Spaniard had marked the ball on the side and then replaced it in front "which would mean that I gained about an inch or an inch and a half," he said.
Garcia said he actually marked it behind the ball but from the side so that he wouldn't step on Bill Haas' line behind him. "Then I put it straight up or straight down where I thought it was the same spot. I thought I put it as close as I could, obviously, with the coin still behind the ball.
"It looked like it might have moved a tiny bit, but the rules officials felt that obviously I didn't gain anything by it," Garcia said. "There are obviously a lot of times that you try to put it in exactly the same spot but it's difficult to do, not just for me, but for everyone. They thought that it was fine."
Garcia said his father Victor always told him that the game is bigger than any player or any tournament.
"And I said if you guys feel like I gained something by, obviously, moving it, I don't know how much, like a centimeter or couple centimeters, whatever it is, I'm fine with the two-stroke penalty," Garcia said. "I'd rather take the two-stroke penalty than come out here like I was a cheater.
"Obviously, they felt that wasn't the case. I told them exactly what I did, and they felt it was fine. That's pretty much it."
Garcia will start the third round 4 under for the tournament and five strokes off the lead.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- The first round of the Masters always provides plenty of entertainment and storylines, and Thursday was no exception.
Whether it was 53-year-old Fred Couples turning back the clock (again), or 14-year-old Tianlang Guan shooting 73, or Sergio Garcia grabbing a share of the lead at a place where a year ago he said he didn't have it in him to win a major, there was a lot to soak up.
Friday, however, is more serious with players positioning for the weekend. With that in mind, here are a few groups to keep an eye on in the morning wave.
Tianlang Guan, Ben Crenshaw, Matteo Manassero, 9:06 a.m.: "Very, very impressive" is how Crenshaw described the teenager's performance in the opening round. A former phenom himself, that's not hyperbole from the former Masters champ. Guan had the best score of the six amateurs in the field and now has a chance to make it to the weekend.
Sergio Garcia, Adam Scott, Angel Cabrera, 9:39 a.m.: Garcia shot 66 in the opening round, matching his career low here, and recorded his first bogey-free round here since 2002. It's the first time he's led after any round of the Masters; now the question is can he keep it going? He's 1-for-9 in his career in converting first-round leads into wins on the PGA TOUR.
Dustin Johnson, Fred Couples, Branden Grace, 9:50 a.m.: Johnson said Thursday that Augusta National suits his eye. It looked like it. He shot 67 and is one off the lead entering the second round. The key for him: Putting. Johnson took just 26 putts in the first round. Meanwhile, for all of Couples' success here, Thursday was just the fifth time he's cracked 70 in the opening round. That bodes well for him the rest of week -- he has 11 career top 10s here and in each of the last three years has finished in the top 15. He always feels ageless here and fed off Johnson, a sort of younger version of himself. There's no reason to think he can't again.
Phil Mickelson, Louis Oosthuizen, Martin Kaymer, 10:23 a.m.: Mickelson admitted to being too "tentative" in his opening-round 71. Translation: With a wet and soft golf course, and 33 players breaking par in the opening round, Mickelson is going to be very aggressive on Friday.
Rory McIlroy, Keegan Bradley, Freddie Jacobson, 10:34 a.m.: McIlroy's opening round was a mess, but he held it together well enough to shoot even par. He'll have to clean up his putting, however, if he's going to get in contention for the weekend. Ditto Bradley, who had 30 putts and an up-and-down day but managed to scrape out a couple of birdies on his way to a 73.
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- A year ago at the Masters, Sergio Garcia said he didn't think he had it in him to win a major.
Thursday told a different story at Augusta National.
Garcia shot a 6-under 66 to take a share of the lead with Marc Leishman. It was his first bogey-free round here since the 2002 Masters.
The 33-year-old Spaniard began his day with two birdies in his first three holes before adding two more on the par-3 sixth and par-4 ninth to turnin 33.
Garcia kept the momentum going on the back, birdieing No. 10 before adding one more on the par-5 15th.
This marks the first time Garcia has led after any round in 15 appearances in the Masters.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- A line of thunderstorms spanning as far north as Kentucky and as far south as southern Louisiana is barreling toward Augusta National. The expected arrival time: Approximately 4 p.m. ET.
In the meantime, here's a look at a few afternoon groups to keep an eye on as they'll try to get in as much golf as they can before the heavy stuff hits.
Adam Scott, Sergio Garcia, Angel Cabrera, 12:57 p.m.: Scott has fared well here the last couple of years, tying for eighth in 2012 and second in 2011. The latter was Scott's best finish in a major at the time, and he held the lead by himself while playing the 71st hole. Then Charl Schwartzel birdied the last four holes to win by two. Garcia, meanwhile, famously said a year ago here that he doesn't think he will ever win a major. He's softened his stance since, but he has just two career top 10s here, the last of which came in 2004 when he tied for fourth. Cabrera has won a major -- three of them -- including this one in 2009.
Phil Mickelson, Louis Oosthuizen, Martin Kaymer, 1:30 p.m.: It's not a driver, it's not quite a 3-wood, it's a Phrankenwood. Mickelson never disappoints when he comes here, one way or the other, and this year is no different with a special club in his bag that's part driver, part 3-wood. He's also won here three times before. Oosthuizen lost to Bubba Watson in a playoff here last year, and he comes in off a 10th-place finish in Houston. He's also played well on the European Tour, winning the Volvo Champions in January.
Rory McIlroy, Keegan Bradley, Freddie Jacobson, 1:41 p.m.: Bradley has been a popular pick in various Masters pools in the press room and with good reason. Bradley, who two years ago won his first major at the PGA Championship, arrives here off four straight top 10s, including a tie for fourth at PGA National and a tie for third at Bay Hill. McIlroy, on the other hand, has had his ups-and-downs but seems to be trending in the right direction after a 65 at Doral and a runner-up in San Antonio.
In the final round of the 2013 Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard, Sergio Garcia hits his second from a tree near the fairway on the par-4 10th hole one-handed and backward.
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Sergio Garcia withdrew after 12 holes in his final round Sunday.
He did not give a reason.
Garcia was 5 over on the day and 3 over for the week after a quadruple-bogey, a double bogey and a bogey to go with two birdies and seven pars.
After playing his first five holes Sunday in even par, Garcia hit two tee shots into the water on the par-5 sixth before eventually reaching the green in 7 and two-putting for a 9.
He bounced back the following hole, however, rolling in a 30-footer for birdie.
On the par-4 10th, Garcia hit his tee shot into a tree, then climbed the tree and hit his second from there. He went on to make double bogey.
Sergio Garcia has put together a remarkable run of top-25s since his win last August at the Wyndham Championship. (Cannon/Getty Images)
By Rob Bolton, Fantasy Insider
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Tiger Woods is a must-start at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in every fantasy format that rewards success, but one-and-doners are still required to pause and review the options.
If Woods is still available to you and your rules don't exclude burning the defending champion, he makes it awfully difficult to invest elsewhere regardless who you have No. 2 on your board. Not only did he end a two-year winless drought on the PGA TOUR at Bay Hill last year, but he did so in convincing fashion, going five strokes lower than runner-up Graeme McDowell.
Woods either led or co-led the field in greens in regulation, par breakers, par-4 scoring average, par-5 scoring average and scrambling. He also finished fourth in strokes gained-putting. Two weeks ago, he picked off his fifth victory in the last 12 months with a wire-to-wire, two-stroke triumph at the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship. His splits throughout his bag at TPC Blue Monster at Trump Doral were ridiculous.
To suggest that you should holster him for the Masters, World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational of the FedExCup Playoffs would be reckless on my part. This is why I'm exhausting my lone self-imposed mulligan on using defending champions and burning him at Bay Hill. Woods' remaining sites for title defenses this season are the Memorial and AT&T National. If I were limiting my options to use my mulligan to events only he has won, the Arnold Palmer Invitational is the runaway choice.
The primary argument against not playing Woods is that this week's purse is just $6.2 million. One-and-doners expect nothing short of a victory when they plug him in, but no second-place paycheck matches the $1,116,000 awarded to the winner at Bay Hill.
If you can't burn him or you're committed to him later, Lake Nona's McDowell is a suitable replacement. Not only is he seeking to climb that final spot on the leaderboard at Bay Hill but he's also red-hot upon arrival.
Another Orlando resident, Ian Poulter, earns an endorsement as well. In his last two trips, he's finished T12 and solo third. What's more, he's still growing on one-and-doners that think of him only as a weapon for match-play events, so you'd likely have little company if you circled the Englishman.
Justin Rose is back in action after a one-week break and immediately returns to our focus at Bay Hill thanks to a T3 in 2011 and a T15 last year, not to mention a hearty T4-T8 start to the Florida Swing. Rest assured that you'll read more about him in this feature later in the season if you don't hop aboard this week.
And just like last week, both Jim Furyk and Sergio Garcia command our attention at Bay Hill, and again, it's but one of many venues where each makes sense. That said, the argument for leaning on Garcia is stronger because he can't miss having posted 13 consecutive top-25s since his win at Sedgefield last August.
Last week: Jim Furyk; T7; $148,892,85
Overall Record: 10-for-12
Top 5s: 4
Top 10s: 7
Top 25s: 9
Missed Cuts: 2
MARANA, Ariz. -- Kuchar never trailed in this tightly contested match. At the same time, he never led by more than one hole until he made a 30-inch birdie putt on the 17th hole for the win.
After the two parred their first five holes, Garcia finally flinched and bogeyed the par-3 sixth to give Kuchar the 1-up lead. The two halved the par-5 eighth with birdies but Kuchar bogeyed No. 9 and the match was square heading into the back nine.
Kuchar made a 7-foot birdie putt on the par-5 11th to get back to 1 up but Garcia squared the match with an 8-footer birdie at the 13th. Kuchar finished with three birdies in his last four holes, though, winning the 14th to go 1 up and halving No. 15 before ending the proceedings with the final one at the 17th.
"It was a good battle with Sergio," Kuchar said. "I felt like around this course, his power and driving ability was a big advantage, being able to take it over some of those cross bunkers. He's, I think, one of the best drivers in the game. It can make golf courses pretty easy driving it as well as he can.
"We had a good match that was kind of 1 up, 1 down, all the way through about hole 14. ... And then I had a great approach to two-and-a-half feet on 17 to be able to close the match out 2 and 1."
SCORECARD STATS: Kuchar made five birdies and one bogey. Garcia made three birdies and one bogey.
HOLES WON: Kuchar won four holes. Garcia won two holes.
NEXT OPPONENT: Nicolas Colsaerts, who beat Justin Rose 4 and 2.
MARANA, Ariz. -- Sergio Garcia appeared poised to put Thongchai Jaidee away when he returned to the 16th green on Thursday to attempt an 11-footer for birdie and the win.
Garcia missed the putt, though, as well as the 7-footer on the return and suddenly his 2-up lead was just 1. Jaidee then squared the proceedings on the 18th hole with a 4-footer for birdie to send the first match of the week into overtime.
The two halved the first extra hole with pars. Garcia ended up putting the match away when he two-putted for birdie from 31 feet at the par-5 second, making his 3-footer after Jaidee missed from 14.
"It's hard, obviously," Garcia said. "So many hours waiting here to see if we start. They haven't cut the greens for two days, so you know it's a quick putt, you know it's downhill, but there's a little bit of uncertainty in it. And then obviously a little bit nervous, and I overhit it, and it was obviously very quick, went to nine feet, and then I hit a terrible putt.
"And then he made a great birdie on 18 and had a great chance on the first hole to close out the match, hit a great putt and unfortunately it lipped out, and then I was fortunate enough to play the second hole fairly well and made birdie.
Garcia plays Matt Kuchar in Friday's second round.