What a tournament! I was able to watch several hours of the first three days, and almost all of it on Sunday, and I loved every minute of it.
The course looked fantastic, and by all accounts it was very fair. Low scores could be had, but if you brought anything less than your A+ game you would be punished.
Congrats to Angel Cabrera on his victory. Many are making this out to be the Masters that Kenny Perry lost, but I feel like this is very inappropriate and disrespectful to a worthy champion. Golf is a game of swings and streaks, and just because Kenny played poorly in the end it doesn't take anything away from Angel's accomplishment. Angel played the final six holes in regulation in three under par, and he hit a hell of a shot into 10 to ice the playoff. That's hardly having something handed to you.
I did find it interesting that KP started playing poorly right around the time the big crowds from Tiger and Phil's group circled back to join the leaders. The guy was sheer class after the tournament, even though you know he just had his heart ripped out and shoved through a wood chipper. I foresee a US Open title in his near future. Bethpage is another stern yet fair test, much like Augusta National this week.
I enjoy the great young flat-belly pros with the perfect cookie-cutter swing as much as the next guy, but I did find it refreshing to see a couple of overweight 40-something with quite unorthodox swings battle it out for the Masters championship. Like Ishmael said in Kingpin: "Its kind of intimidating to be in the presence of so many great athletes."
Sergio Garcia chose to celebrate a strong 38:th place finish by complaining about how difficult and unfair the course is. When the low score is around 66 every day, you can not possibly blame the course for your own performance. Como se dice "Sergio, you're an idiot."
I was touched to see Gary Player's last round end on Friday. I've always appreciated his style and integrity, and even at 73 years old he's got a hell of a game. I wore all black to my round on Saturday to honor The Black Knight. As he approached the 18:th green he dropped to one knee and put his hands together. The announcers said he appeared to be praying, but I feel like his pose was more that of a medieval knight, kneeling before his queen, sword in hand. Wright Thompson wrote a fantastic piece on ESPN about the way Mr. Player and Danny Lee spent Masters Week: http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/eticket/story?page=090413/masters
If Aflac isn't talking to Cabrara's people about a sponsorship deal they're blithering idiots.
I think Tony jinxed KP with his statement that "I'm so happy for Perry, who will become the oldest major champion in the history of golf." as they walked up the 17:th fairway (http://www.hookedongolfblog.com/2009/04/12/2009-masters-sunday-blog). Great blog, Tony. Good job on the jinx, too.
Cool picture of Angel and his caddie getting their respective nerves in order.
Very funny pictoral montage of CBS' coverage of Sunday's golf, courtesy of Jay Busbee with Yahoo's Devil Ball Blog: http://sports.yahoo.com/golf/blog/devil_ball_golf/post/A-visual-montage-of-CBS-s-Sunday-Masters-coverag?urn=golf,155149. He may be exaggerating it a bit, but he makes a good point.
Best analysis of the day: After Tiger mis-read his eagle putt on 15 they remarked that the mistake made Phil's putt considerably more difficult. Sure enough, it's not even close to the hole.
Once again the mystery of golf is rearing it's unpredictable head. Someone brought up a statistic to indicate that in the 29 tournaments Cabrera has played in between his US Open win in 2007 and this year's Masters he has one top ten finish, and he's missed the cut 10 times (including at Bay Hill and Houston leading up to the Masters). Not exactly setting the world on fire.
If Chad Campbell would have won the Masters, would they have hired Andy Warhol to paint his champion's portrait?
Jason Sobel hands out his own set of awards from the Masters: http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/blog/index?entryID=4063428&name=sobel_jason.
This article includes this gem: "The 'Alice Cooper Award' goes to ... Tiger Woods. The avid golfer/musician would love the comparison, but instead it's some of his lyrics that apply to the top-ranked player's final-hole struggles. Woods made bogey on No. 18 in three of four rounds, his worst tourney total at Augusta's final hole ever. 'Eighteen/I just don't know what I want/Eighteen/I gotta get away/Eighteen/I gotta get out of this place.' " Classic!
Rumor has it the mood between Phil and Tiger was surprisingly warm, with consistent praise for each other's good shots.
My LORD did Phil hit some iron shots on Sunday (except for 12, which was a real clunker). Who would have thought his putting would let him down? It's sort of comforting to know that even at their level they have a hard time having all parts of their game working at the same time.
But if I have to hear or read one more guy say "If Phil would just have stayed out of the drink on 12 and made those two putts on 15 and 17 he would have won the tournament" I'm going to whack an L-Wedge across my shin. ENOUGH already.
Geoff Shackleford put together a nice summary of post-tournament commentary from around the world: http://www.geoffshackelford.com/homepage/2009/4/13/2009-masters-final-round-clippings.html
Until next year, that is all.