Augusta Diary: Final Masters appearance for crocked Ian Woosnam

It is 25 years since Ian Woosnam became Masters champion and yesterday a painful back condition finally caught up with the Welshman as far as playing Augusta National is concerned.

“The 18th was as well as I played this week. In the crapper!” Woosnam declared of his final-hole par after signing for an 81. “It’s just getting really tough.”

Woosie bowed out at 19 over par and decided this would be his 29th and final competitive appearance. Woosnam added an 81 to his opening 82 to finish 19 over par, although the 58-year-old was pleased to at least finish with a par on the 18th, just as he did in 1991 to edge out Jose Maria Olazabal.

“The 18th was as well as I played this week,” said the former Ryder Cup captain, who has now missed the cut in 14 of his last 15 Masters appearances.

“It’s just getting really tough. That’s my last go. I am not fit enough to play with my bad back. Every time I play this course it just seizes on me and I can’t swing the club properly. I am in pain all the way round so it’s time to say bye-bye really.

“There’s not much they can do. I have ankylosing spondylitis and I can’t play with all the slopes here. I was swinging it beautiful before I came here. I am always taking pain killers just to play golf but it’s just too tough here for me.

“I said in the past if I started shooting in the 80s I would call it a day. I am in just in pain all the way round and you can’t expect to play well. It’s time for me to sit back and watch. I’ll still keep coming to the tournament obviously. It’s a shame to finish off playing like that but you can only do your best. Never mind, I’ve still got a green jacket.

“I made par on 18 – that was a great way to finish.”

Woosnam carded a double bogey, eight bogeys and a solitary birdie on the 15th in his final competitive round at Augusta, but could take the positives from pitching to eight feet to save par on the last.

“That was a great way to finish,” he said. “The drive wasn’t actually that bad because I have to hit it down the left side of the fairway to have a shot at the green.

“I was trying to keep it tight to the left and just caught a tree and instead of bouncing right it bounces left. I had to hit a rescue club to get it up there but I suppose it was a pretty exciting way to finish in some ways.”

Lee: Gallery didn’t give me much credit for my putts

Danny Lee tied for first in birdies after round one of the Masters, matching 18-hole leader Jordan Spieth and four others with six on the opening day as he claimed a tie for second overnight with Shane Lowry on four under par.

Yet that was not enough for the New Zealander to feel the love from the Augusta National gallery. During his post-round television interview on Thursday night, Lee was being shown his birdie putts and said nobody had clapped one of them.

Was that a sign of disrespect? “I don’t know,” Lee replied, “but I guess nobody was watching my putt. I was just waving at myself to the crowds, ‘I made birdie, guys!’”

Experience will stay with amateur Schmitz

Sammy Schmitz will be back at work on Monday selling housekeeping and laundry services to care homes in Wisconsin. Yet it is a pretty safe bet his mind will be back at Augusta National.

Schmitz was not your usual amateur playing the Masters this week, with designs on a pro career. He’s 35 for a start rather than a young tyro, and is perfectly happy with his lot, with a wife, kids, and job to occupy his time. He qualified as US Mid-Amateur champion after an opening 81 rallied to a four-over 75 yesterday, well outside the cut mark. No matter, the experience will stay with him.

“I have no idea how I’m going to go back (to playing amateur golf),” Schmitz said. “I don’t know. “This was a lot of fun. It might feel a little boring.”

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