published Sunday, April 14th, 2013

Amen Corner mean to some

Phil Mickelson touches a young spectator's fist as he walks down the sixth fairway during the second round of the Masters golf tournament Friday, April 12, 2013, in Augusta, Ga.
Phil Mickelson touches a young spectator's fist as he walks down the sixth fairway during the second round of the Masters golf tournament Friday, April 12, 2013, in Augusta, Ga.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

AUGUSTA, Ga. — It's understood that cussing is unacceptable when PGA Tour professionals are playing on live television.

No foul words were heard Saturday around Amen Corner, but they would have been unsurprising for a handful of golfers who hoped to be contenders today at the Masters.

Phil Mickelson dropped four shots in two holes with double bogeys on Nos. 11 and 12. He found the water on both of those plus the next one but salvaged par on the par-5 13th.

"I just played terrible," said Mickelson, who leads only three players who made the cut. "My play has been beyond terrible, and that's certainly disappointing."

Rory McIlroy had his tournament score back to 1 under before making a triple bogey on the par-4 11th, where only three birdies but 18 bogeys and four double bogeys were made Saturday.

"The wind switched on me. It comes up short in the water and I take 7 there," McIlroy said. "I never recovered from that."

Nick Watney made his way around the fabled stretch in even par and posted one of the three best scores of the day -- 4-under 68, which moved him up to a tie for 14th. He was 2 under in Amen Corner.

"They give out crystals for eagles here and not for birdie, but my caddie said that they should probably give out crystals for birdies on that [11th] hole," said Watney, who scored a 3 there. "That was definitely a bonus."

No Couples retirement

Fred Couples said Friday that he would retire if he won the Masters.

He's not retiring this year.

Couples, who entered Saturday one shot off the lead, dropped into a tie for 18th at even par after a 5-over 77.

In 2011, he started the third round at 5 under and shot even. Last year he started at 5 under and shot 75.

This year, he also started at 5 under. Couples, 53, started his round with six pars, then double-bogeyed No. 7 for the second straight day. He made three pars and three birdies before adding a triple-bogey to his card on No. 17.

"It was just a comedy of bad shots," he said. "I would think that put me out of any running for anything tomorrow."

Morning movers

Watney and Tim Clark earned midmorning tee times by virtue of making the cut by one and two strokes, respectively.

With little pressure and benign morning conditions, they both made large moves up the leaderboard.

Clark shot a 5-under 67 and surged into the top 10 by the time the leader group left the practice facility. He shot 31 on the front nine with four straight birdies starting on No. 4, and he shot even on the back.

"It was a gettable for me today with the fairways being firmer, and going off early the greens were somewhat receptive," said Clark, who shaved nine strokes off his score from Friday. "I was able to get some birdies early and sort of try and hang on."

Watney made six birdies and an eagle on No. 15 but also made four bogeys for his 68. That topped his opening-round score by 10 strokes.

"I finally was able to make something happen on the back," he said. "I'm pretty excited to be in this position."

Langer senior rep

Two-time Masters champion Bernhard Langer has not played on the weekend of the Masters since 2005 and missed 2011 with an injury.

Langer, who first won in 1985 and again in 1993, shot even-par 72 and is 2 under for the tournament.

"It's very difficult to win on a long golf course like this," said Langer, 55, who has played 103 rounds in the Masters. "It's going to happen that a senior player is going to win a major. Tom Watson almost did it, Fred Couples can do it any given moment, and there's a few of us that might do it too."

Contact David Uchiyama at duchiyama@timesfreepress.com at duchiyama@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6484. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/UchiyamaCTFP

about David Uchiyama...

David Uchiyama is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who began his tenure here in May 2001. His primary beats are UTC athletics — specifically men’s basketball and athletic department administration — and golf, which includes coverage from the PGA Tour to youth events. He also covers other high school sports, outdoor adventures, and contributes to other sections of the newspaper when necessary. David grew up in Salinas, Calif., and began working ...

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