Short cut to disappointment

Ben Crenshaw tells how he returned to Augusta the Master then missed the cut
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The Independent Online
Sunday Crenshaw, the defending champion whose emotional victory in 1995 came a week after the death of his mentor, Harvey Penick, arrives at Augusta National with his wife Julie, and daughters Katherine and Claire.

"There is not a day that has gone by when I haven't thought about what happened last year. It was fate taking a hand. Harvey's widow, Helen, is going to be with us this week and that is going to make it very special. There is no question that I've tried to be or attempted to be someone that Harvey would have been proud of. He was an incredible human being."

Tuesday 7pm Hosts the Past Champions Dinner

"It is neat to be able to host the dinner once in your career, let alone do it on a second occasion. Last time, after I won in 1984, we had steak and chicken, so this time I went for a Texas barbecue. It was wonderful night. It really does a great job of knitting together the generations. There are so many stories to listen to, it's fascinating."

Wednesday 12 noon Crenshaw completes his final practice round

"My swing feels much better today than it was coming in at the same time last year. I feel like I'm driving the ball pretty well and my approach putting also seems to be good. My irons could be a little better. The power of these greens has everyone thinking. You try to figure them out, and you think about putts you have had in the past, but in all the times I've been coming here you don't get the same putt very often."

Thursday 12.30pm Crenshaw approaches Tea Olive to begin his first round in this year's Masters

"I felt great when I teed off and I was really intent on putting up a good defence of my title. But I was struggling from the first drive. I put it right behind a tree: I had scored the first bogey of the day."

Thursday 2.30pm Completes the front nine in 41, five over par

"Apparently Helen was walking round with me on the front nine and someone who hadn't noticed her asked me if I had seen her. All I said was: 'I didn't see anyone but Mr Bogey, and I saw him way too often.' I had three bogeys in a row, including three-putts at the fifth and at the sixth. My pace on my putts wasn't very good and I was too tentative."

Thursday 3pm Makes second double bogey of the day

I put it in the water at the 11th and took a six. For the double bogey at the seventh I was in the trees, then a bunker, and then left it in the bunker. I have had more luck than most around here over the past few years; I guess it was my turn to bleed today. It bit me hard."

Thursday 4.30pm Crenshaw finishes with a five-over 77

"After I went seven over at the 11th, I just wanted to get back to something respectable and birdies at 14 and 15 helped a little. I have got to make some more birdies tomorrow. Today was one of those days when I was always behind the eight-ball."

Friday 12 noon Having got back to three under at the turn, Crenshaw bogeys the 10th before disaster strikes at Golden Bell, the par-3 12th

"I put two balls in the water for a triple bogey six and that was that. For the first one, I hit a seven iron and it was the sickest- looking shot you could see. A big gust of wind came up and took it 30 yards left and short. That has happened to anyone who has ever played here. Then you have to play from the drop zone and the fairway is cropped so much there that you have to razor it in. Bobby Jones got it right. He said that if you go in the creek, the next pitch is as terrifying as it can be and he's not wrong."

Friday 1pm Crenshaw is home in 40 for a 74. At seven over, he knows he will miss the cut

"It is not the way I wanted to return. The last champion not to go as far as the third round the following year was Sandy Lyle in 1989 and I am so disappointed not to have played my best golf. But you have to get the ball running for you here and that didn't happen."

Saturday 2pm The leaders, Greg Norman and Nick Faldo, tee off in their third rounds

"I am just an interested bystander, but I like to watch golf, and I especially like to watch it on this golf course. It's fun. I am really pulling for Davis Love and Phil Mickelson. Phil's a good friend and Davis was a good friend of Harvey's. I'm just looking forward to putting the coat on the new champion on Sunday evening."

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