Masters notes: Flu forces Henrik Stenson to surrender during practice

 

 
 
 
 
Henrik Stenson of Sweden works with his caddy Gareth Bryn Lord on the practice ground during a practice round before the start of the 2015 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 8, 2015 in Augusta, Ga.
 

Henrik Stenson of Sweden works with his caddy Gareth Bryn Lord on the practice ground during a practice round before the start of the 2015 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 8, 2015 in Augusta, Ga.

Photograph by: Andrew Redington, Getty Images

AUGUSTA, Ga. — Henrik Stenson’s flu evidently isn’t letting go. The big Swede, among the favourites to win the Masters, was unable to finish nine holes of practice Wednesday. He was bedridden with a bad flu bug last week.

“It’s a bit of a balance (issue) … I don’t feel too strong,” he told the Golf Channel’s Todd Lewis.

Stenson is scheduled to play with Jordan Spieth and Billy Horschel in the first two rounds.

THEN THERE WERE 97: Aussie Marc Leishman, who finished tied for fourth in the 2013 Masters won by countryman Adam Scott, withdrew from the tournament Wednesday to be with his ailing wife.

Audrey Leishman fell seriously ill last week and is recovering after what he described as a “life-threatening medical emergency.”

The couple has two young sons.

UNLIMITED BUDGET, EXCEEDED: The Augusta National Golf Club keeps getting bigger. Next year, club and Masters chairman Billy Payne said Wednesday, it will move neighbouring Berckmans’ Road further from the course boundary, which may allow the club to expand the golf course proper.

“The longrange plan, of course, since our boundary will then be extended, we will upgrade from a beautification point of view, the parking lot,” Payne said. “And while it will continually be maintained every year as a parking lot, it will look appropriately as though it belongs inside the fences of Augusta National.”

Asked for specifics, Payne was coy.

“Imagine parking, in a few years from now, in a very beautiful park, walking to the admissions gate without having any interference by cars or carts. It will be a straight, uninterrupted walk, a beautiful walk,” he said in his annual state of the Masters news conference. “We’re pretty good at landscaping, as you know, so you can kind of imagine what it would look like. So we’re right in the fun part of planning that. But it’s going to be good. That I promise.”

SLICES OF PINE: Payne said no final decision has been made about replacing the fallen Eisenhower Tree, but the club has cut and encased two cross-sections of the iconic Loblolly pine, one to be preserved at the club, the other donated to the Eisenhower Presidential Library.

Payne also said “we have been successful, so far, in preserving this famous tree’s genetics. What you now see are three surviving, and so far thriving results, of two successful grafts and one seedling of the Eisenhower Tree.

“And while we learned last year that the absence of Ike’s Tree from the 17th fairway did not impact scoring average on the hole, who knows what the future holds or what future chairmen might decide to do with these priceless specimens.”

POPULAR/UNPOPULAR: PGA Tour pros polled by ESPN may have voted Bubba Watson the player they would be least likely to rescue in a parking lot fight, but he remains a fan favourite, especially among kids.

“That’s neat to see. Maybe it’s because of my pink driver, but yeah, that’s good, though. Whatever works,” Watson said.

Asked why he reckons he appeals to fans, he joked, “Because I’m nuts. I hit driver a lot of times because I’m comfortable hitting it. I don’t hit driver 100 per cent every time. Sometimes I hit what I call a ding cut, a low cut off the tee just to try to get it in play. So I think fans watch that, and see me hit the high bomb, they see me hit the cut, they see me hit the draw, they see me in pine straw hook it sometimes, they see me fly it over big trees every once in awhile, on 13 maybe.

“They have seen that it’s a homemade swing that I’ve come up with and it seems to work sometimes, and so I think they just enjoy that; that it’s not me out there worrying about my swing. It’s me out there worrying about my score.”

ccole@vancouversun.comTwitter.com/rcamcole

 
 
 
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Henrik Stenson of Sweden works with his caddy Gareth Bryn Lord on the practice ground during a practice round before the start of the 2015 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 8, 2015 in Augusta, Ga.
 

Henrik Stenson of Sweden works with his caddy Gareth Bryn Lord on the practice ground during a practice round before the start of the 2015 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 8, 2015 in Augusta, Ga.

Photograph by: Andrew Redington, Getty Images

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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