Monday, April 11, 2011

A Memorable Masters

"If you could read Adam Scott's lips when he shook fellow Australian Jason Day's hand as they walked off the 18th green as runners–up, it summed up a day unlike any other in Masters history.

" 'That was awesome; that was unbelievable; that was great,' said Scott in a flurry of superlatives about a day that was all of that and then some."

Scott Michaux
(Ga.) Chronicle
April 11, 2011

I don't usually watch golf on TV.

I don't play the game so I don't understand many of its subtleties.

And I've always been of the opinion that, if someone wanted to market a truly effective cure for insomnia, all that person needed to do was sell video tapes of golf tournament broadcasts. The announcers always speak in hushed tones, as if they are standing just behind the golfers, and the imagery is always pastoral and soothing.

Especially the Masters — with the coma–inducing theme music it has been using as long as I can remember.

But I watched much of Sunday's final round of the Masters — and I was never tempted to doze off.

There were too many stories unfolding, as Scott Michaux wrote in the Augusta Chronicle.

Now, I don't know anything about Michaux. I presume that, if he has been writing for the Augusta paper for awhile, he has covered more than his share of Masters tournaments — and he speaks from experience when he calls yesterday "a day unlike any other in Masters history."

What I do know is this.

I've watched bits and pieces of most of the Masters broadcasts in my life. Occasionally, I have felt compelled to watch a bit more than that.

But I can't remember the last time I sat in front of my TV for hours, watching the Masters' final round unfold.

I was alternately astonished by Tiger Woods' remarkable comeback (for awhile on Sunday afternoon, he was actually tied for the lead), Rory McIlroy's equally amazing final–round collapse (thanks to a still–hard–to–fathom triple bogey from a guy who had been shooting under par all week) and the rapid ascent of three Australian golfers.

It was like golf's version of the Olympics. Something dramatic was happening at every hole.

And when the dust settled, South African Charl Schwartzel birdied the final four holes and won the tournament by two strokes.

When Tiger Woods won the Masters 14 years ago, he changed golf. He became its star — an unreachable star, in the eyes of many who played the game. Hard as it may be to remember, there were actually managers of some golf courses in America who wanted to extend some of their holes to make them more challenging for any golfers who could hit drives as far as Tiger could.

Tiger has fallen on hard times, and golf no longer has a dominant personality — but, as Michael Hiestand observes for USA TODAY, there was no absence of star power in Augusta on Sunday.

Even when it became clear that Tiger's comeback would come up short.

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