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This was no ordinary Masters, but none of them are.........Posted Tuesday, April 13, 2010, at 9:00 PM
Masters 2010- Wrap
I suppose if you believe in the Golf Gods, divine intervention played a major role in Phil Mickelson's victory at the Masters last Sunday. It was a fitting finish for a week that was dominated in many ways by circumstances that took place off the golf course over the past year.
Mickelson is the guy who showed up with his family at a PGA Tour event for the first time in nearly a year. His wife, Amy, is still suffering from the effects of breast cancer and she waited for Phil as he left the 18th green Sunday. It was a touching moment and one that will remain etched in the hearts of many golfers forever.
Mickelson is a swashbuckling character on the golf course. He takes chances; plays dumb at times- but, he just won his fourth major championship. Some would argue that he has thrown a couple of majors away with risky decisions. Be that as it may, it is this reckless approach that endears Phil to his many fans.
His second shot on the Par 5, 13th Hole will go down as one of golf's greatest in 2010. It was like Sean Peyton's call for the onsides kick to begin the second half of the Super Bowl. If it works, it is brilliance in its best form. If it fails, it becomes idiocy.
Mickelson launched that second shot 215 yards from the pine straw, around two trees, to within six feet of the hole. Even though he missed the eagle putt, he probably won the Masters- or at least didn't lose it, with that shot. In his career, Mickelson is now 55-under par on the 13th at Augusta National.
Much has been written about Tiger Woods fourth place finish. He says it "was disappointing." Considering the scrutiny that he was under last week and the distractions that he faced, I say it was a great performance. However, he picked up where he left off last year with his inability to get the ball in the hole with his putter.
And as far as his behavior goes, let me say this. Stick a microphone on anybody for an entire day and something will slip. I thought he made an effort to engage the galleries. He was gracious, contrite and it was a new and improved version of Tiger.
Billy Payne, Masters chairman, has drawn some criticism for his direct comments in last week's "State of The Masters" press conference. He was openly critical of Woods behavior and lack of responsibility to the sport of golf. Payne had the courage to say what many have not. Woods does have a responsibility to his sport, as other athletes do in theirs. I commend Payne for his remarks. Now is the time to turn the page on Tiger's problems and move on.
Sergio Garcia is a player who has been known for his flair and fire on the course. His spark is clearly gone. Garcia's body language is lackluster and this Spaniard appears to be beaten down from his failures over the past couple of years.
He finished 45th at this year's Masters with weekend rounds of 76-78. Garcia is good for golf. Sergio is struggling mightily and I wonder if he will be heard from again.
Matteo Manassero, is the 16-year old Italian who finished as the low amateur last week at the Masters. This kid is handsome, well mannered and very articulate. He turns professional in two weeks. I predict that more will be heard from Matteo.
Admittedly, I am a sentimentalist. When I saw the Sunday pairing of Angel Cabrera and Kenny Perry, I wished for a replay of last year's final round when Perry lost the green jacket to Cabrera in a playoff. As I drove home from Augusta on Monday, I made a stop at Exit 2 on I-65 in Franklin, Kentucky. My destination was Kenny Perry's Country Creek Golf Course. I always wanted to do this.
KP's Country Creek is your typical small town rural course. Perry built it years ago and his goal is to provide affordable public golf. The clubhouse sits in the middle of the course. It was a typical Monday crowd at a public course, mainly senior golfers. A retired gentleman was running the pro shop counter. He was dressed in a blue and white Country Creek golf shirt, complimented by a blue cap. He encouraged me to look around the shop at KP's memorabilia.
On the walls of the clubhouse were pictures and newspaper articles chronicling Perry's career from high school to college to the PGA Tour. Perry is a TaylorMade staffer and the company gives its players theme staff bags for each major championship. These were lined up against a pro shop wall and it was an impressive site. The bag from the 2009 Masters just looked at me and said, "what if."
Perry's sister was working in the shop. We made some small talk and I mentioned this year's Sunday pairing with Cabrera. "That was so painful to watch. Can you believe that Kenny had to relive all of those memories from last year," she said.
There was a large Ryder Cup rug from Valhalla in the middle of the shop. The retiree running the joint said, "Yeah that was a big deal to a lot of people in these parts. I wasn't going to drive all the way up to Louisville and fight that crowd. I just stayed here in the shop and watched it. Nobody was here, just me."
The most glaring thing to me at the 2010 Masters was the lack of color on the course. A severe winter pushed back the brilliant colors by a week or so. Peak beauty at the National will probably be on this coming Sunday. Amen Corner will be deathly silent. There will be a few members on the course, but the roars have died down for another year.
This was no ordinary Masters, but none of them are..........
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