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TV coverage will be complete, early today

By BOB HARIG, Times Staff Writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 14, 2002


AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Masters viewers get a treat today: 18-hole coverage of the final round on Channel 10.

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Masters viewers get a treat today: 18-hole coverage of the final round on Channel 10.

In this day of saturation coverage of major sporting events, the Masters stubbornly has held on to its past, limiting weekend viewing. Although all 18 holes have been shown in the past, it never was planned. This year, the Masters decided to add 90 minutes to the broadcast, meaning the telecast will begin at 1:30 and the leaders will be covered from start to finish. (The final-round television time has been moved up one hour.)

"We knew that there was a great demand for it, and we just decided that we ought to satisfy that demand," Masters chairman Hootie Johnson said.

What will golf fans see?

"How hard it is," said defending champion Tiger Woods, tied for the third-round lead with reigning U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen. "The greens are so severe on the front nine."

The third hole is 350 yards, the shortest par 4 on the course. But players treat it with care. "It's not exactly a small target you're firing at up there," Woods said. "The green runs away from you, and from right to left. It's certainly a challenge. You have to hit a precise golf shot."

Now, if Masters officials would only allow more coverage during the first two rounds, when only 21/2 hours are shown. Asked if there would be any further expansion of coverage, Johnson said, "That's going to be it for a while."

PHIL'S CHANCE?: For Phil Mickelson, this is almost the perfect position. He's close enough to have a chance to win his first major championship, but far enough back that he can play his aggressive style.

"Well, now I don't really have a choice -- not like it would matter," said Mickelson, whose 4-under 68 was second-best on the day. "I need to go out and play an attacking style and try to make some noise and give them a number to shoot at."

Mickelson was at 209, four shots back.

PURSE STRINGS CLOSED: The purse is $5.6-million, with the winner receiving $1.008-million, the same as last year. It's the first time since 1977 the purse wasn't increased from one year to the next. Second gets $604,800.

RARE EAGLE: Brad Faxon had the first eagle at the 11th hole in 40 years, hitting a 6-iron from 193 yards that rolled into the cup for 2. Jerry Barber was the last player to eagle the hole, that now measures 490 yards. He did so in 1962.

"It was a great shot," Faxon said. "Hit solidly, flew the right direction and and took a great kick."

NO DUVAL: David Duval arrived at Augusta National on Saturday morning with every intention of making the cut and putting himself in position for a weekend charge.

But a three-putt bogey at the 13th hole and a bogey at the 17th knocked him out.

"Not getting to play the last two days is not really something that entered my mind," said Duval, who had not finished worse than sixth in the past four Masters. "It was a combination of not getting it close and not making anything."

DO I STINK?: Nick Faldo was wondering if it was something about him. First, playing partner Hal Sutton withdrew before the first round. Then another playing partner, Frank Lickliter, withdrew before the second round.

"Don't touch me; something might happen," he said, joking.

It made for a difficult situation for Faldo, because the pace of play was excruciating. Amateur John Harris played as a marker during the second round, and Faldo shot 5-under 67 to make just his second cut since winning his third Masters in 1996.

"That was a great round," Faldo said. "It was really unbelievable."

He had 73 in the third round and was tied for 13th.

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