Tell me you knew who was going to win The Masters at the start of the final round on Sunday.
Tell me you thought a guy with the last name full of an unwanted bunch of Scrabble tiles would put on the same coat that Nicklaus, Palmer and Woods won.
Tell me that you thought the tournament was over after Tiger Woods made an eagle on the par-five 8th hole. As he fist-pumped to Carolina Cherry’s tee box, tell me you thought anyone else had a chance. Tim Rosaforte, the outstanding golf columnist, tweeted a congratulations message to Tiger on his fifth green jacket. He’s not there, Tim. Don’t you know The Masters always starts on the second nine? Woods never held first place by himself at any point on Sunday. If you watched the entire final round, I’ll allow you some time to pick up your jaw from the floor.
Woods faded away at the start of that second nine, when all the leaders were playing a human game of Jumble, and then popped up on the 15th fairway. An insane approach shot to within eight feet twirled his iron and his chances back into the tournament. Too bad he missed the putt. Tiger angrily made the birdie and finished in a tie for fourth. Comeback not complete. We’ll see you at Congressional. Nicklaus is still four up.
Tell me you thought Adam Scott, a former Players Champion, had a shot to win one of the most impressive tournaments in golf. With the help of a belly putter that makes him look ready for the Champions Tour at age 30, Scott took the lead on the 16th hole with a majestic shot that threatened the cup. It was his tournament to lose. In typical Scott fashion, he obliged. Adam found the fairway bunker off the 17th tee — on the 7th hole. The pressure of the majors creates major pressure. To his credit, Scott did make an outstanding par and finished in second place.
Another Australian ran out of holes. Jason Day, who finished in a second place tie with Scott, charged his way to 12-under par after he posted a birdie on the difficult final hole. It’s the lowest score ever by a first-time player at The Masters. You should probably pick him in your office pool next year.
Charl Schwartzel, a 26-year-old South African that spell check tells me both of his names are spelled incorrectly, beat the entire world on Sunday afternoon at Augusta. Schwartzel made four straight birdies on the final four holes – something never done before in the history of the golf tournament – to win his first major. That’s impressive. They tend to play The Masters at Augusta National fairly often. Not bad for a guy who started the week as a 100-1 shot to win the golf tournament.
Tell me you thought Rory McIlroy would lose The Masters. Stringing together rounds of 65, 69 and 70, the 21-year-old began Sunday with a four shot lead. It evaporated by the time he reached the 11th tee. McIlroy’s demise shouldn’t be labeled a choke. After all, he did this last year at The Open Championship. It was an absolute collapse, the magnitude of a tree falling down on Magnolia Lane. Like a bunch of weekend golfers, Rory couldn’t break 80 on Sunday. He finished in a tie for 15th place. He will never forget that Sunday at Augusta.
On the 25th anniversary of Jack’s amazing sixth Masters championship, Augusta National came alive with roars and groans on Sunday afternoon.
Tell me you’ve seen a better Masters.
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