Faldo, Norman cut out after two rounds 'Shellshocked' '96 champ exits after shooting 81

The Masters

April 12, 1997|By Don Markus | Don Markus,SUN STAFF

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- There will be no heart-tugging embrace between Nick Faldo and Greg Norman on the 18th green of Augusta National tomorrow. There will be no repeat for Faldo or redemption for Norman in the final round of the 61st Masters.

There will be no Sunday replay for the two antagonists here last year.

There will be no Sunday or, for that matter, Saturday.

Faldo and Norman both missed the cut yesterday.

Faldo's 81 was the worst round the former three-time champion had ever shot at the Masters and gave him a two-round score of 155. Norman's 74 was a three-shot improvement on Thursday's opening round, but his 36-hole total was two strokes off the cut.

It marked the first time in 14 Masters that Faldo had missed the cut and the second straight year that the defending champion did not make it into the weekend. It marked the first time since 1991 that Norman failed to advance into the third round, only the third time in 17 trips here.

"I'm shellshocked," said Faldo, who was considered one of the pre-tournament favorites. "I'm flabbergasted."

Though Norman denied that last year's record collapse played a role into this year's performance -- his worst ever at a Masters -- his recently hired swing guru thought a residue of doubt likely remained. Norman had also gone as far as to talk to self-help expert Tony Robbins to work with his confidence.

"He tried as hard as he could to put it out of his mind, but it was hard to do," said David Leadbetter, the noted golf teacher who also works with Faldo. "Everything that could go wrong did."

Faldo's biggest problem was his putting. After three-putting only once last year, Faldo three-putted five times in the opening round and three more times in the second round.

"I must have three-putted every one, that's the way I felt," said Faldo, who used the same putter as last year.

Palmer embarrassed

As expected, Arnold Palmer missed the cut. The former four-time champion, coming off surgery to remove a cancerous prostate in mid-January, followed up an opening-round 89 with an 87.

"I feel good. I just didn't have the stretch to move through the ball," said Palmer, 67. "It's difficult for me to patty the ball around the course. I came here hitting it hard [back in 1955] and I hope I leave here hitting it hard."

Palmer is not making any announcements about coming back in the future.

"I won't continue to play I shoot scores like I did this week," he said. "I was embarrassed out there. But I was warned early on that something like this could happen, and it did."


After only seven rounds under par on Thursday, there were 19 yesterday. Among the biggest drops were Scott Hoch, from 79 to 68, and former Masters champion Larry Mize (79 to 69) to make the cut. The biggest improvement was made by Ken Green, who went from 87 to 74. Former University of Maryland golf coach Fred Funk made the cut for the third time in four appearances at the Masters. Funk followed up an opening-round 73 with a 74.

Pub Date: 4/12/97

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