Saturday, April 13, 2013

Masters Day 2 Wrap-Up

Well, the press was denied its pound of flesh after Guan Tianlang made the cut yesterday.  It was a frustrating day for the media, which was prepared to explode with rage against Augusta National for an officials' decision to penalize Guan for slow play.  But the official turned out to be the most respected of the European officials, and Guan made the cut anyway -- so the media (which hesitates to criticize any European, and which could not prove that Guan's life had been significantly affected by the event) was forced to merely huff and puff in fury.

But now the press are excited again, because Tiger Woods may have made an illegal drop on the 15th hole. At least one middle-aged reporter is already howling for blood:

Dave Kindred:  "The kid handled it well.  My column.  Next, will Tiger to the right thing and DQ himself?"

Ah, the columns just write themselves:  "Rules are rules."  "Fair treatment for everyone."  "No special privileges."  But it all comes back to the same thing:  the press likes Guan (who is a great story) and they don't like Tiger (who refuses to talk to them).

Of course, there was a time when Tiger was young, and a great story, and he spoke openly to reporters.  But that led to an infamous story in which Charles Pierce of Esquire published a bunch of dirty jokes he heard a 21-year-old Tiger telling while at a photoshoot, and we've never heard Tiger speak in his own voice since.  According to how the media keeps score, however, the blame for this falls on Tiger, not Charles Pierce, and so much of the press will dance with glee if the world's most popular golfer is disqualified.

UPDATE (9:47 A.M.):  Tiger was penalized two shots, but was NOT disqualified.  As I expected, the press is furious:

Dave Kindred:  "A man signs an an incorrect scorecard and is not DQ'd?  Somewhere, Bobby Jones sighs at what's become of his child."

Dave Kindred:  "Rule 26.1 a) amended by Masters to include the phrase, "...except in cases involving competitors important to television ratings."

Dan Jenkins:  "No DQ for Tiger but a two-stroke penalty?  Roberto de Vicenzo, show up at the Butler Cabin and fetch your green jacket."

(Actually, a two-stroke penalty would have been sufficient to deny Roberto de Vicenzo the 1968 Masters title.  De Vicenzo didn't have a victory taken away from him for failing to sign an incorrect scorecard; he was denied the chance for an 18-hole playoff with Bob Goalby, because if De Vicenzo's scorecard had been accurate, he and Goalby would have tied.  So a two-stroke penalty would have given the title to Goalby.)

Here is the leaderboard now that Tiger has effectively been eliminated from competition.  The media will be thrilled, as the evil Americans now have almost no chance of victory:

1.  J. Day (AUS):  -6 (70+68=138)

T2.  F. Couples:  -5 (68+71=139)
T2.  M. Leishman (AUS):  -5 (66+73=139)

T4.  A. Cabera (ARG):  -4 (71+69=140)
T4.  J. Furyk:  -4 (69+71=140)
T4.  B. Snedeker:  -4 (70+70=140)

T7.  A. Scott (AUS):  -3 (69+72=141)
T7.  J. Dufner:  -3 (72+69=141)
T7.  D. Lynn (ENG):  -3 (68+73=141)
T7.  L. Westwood (ENG):  -3 (70+71=141)
T7.  J. Rose (ENG):  -3 (70+71=141)
T7.  K.J. Choi (KOR):  -3 (70+71=141)

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