Thursday, April 18, 2013

Masters Day 4 Wrap Up

So, in the end, we had yet another first-time major winner -- as we've had in almost every major since Phil Mickelson won the Masters in 2010.  Adam Scott is a fine golfer -- before winning the Masters, he had won seven PGA events, seven events on the European Tour, and one of the World Golf Classic events.  And he played great on Sunday -- after bogeying the first hole, he put up five birdies and no bogeys on the next 19 holes.  But viewed at through the long history of golf, he is likely to be remembered as another Webb Simpson or Graeme McDowell -- just another of the folks who won major tournaments during the transition between Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy.

Of course, everything would have been different if Tiger had won this tournament -- and I think he would have done so if not for an incredible piece of bad luck at the 15th hole on Friday.  For me, that will be the most memorable image of this Masters -- that almost-perfect shot, hit on one of the easiest holes on the course, bounding off the flag and into a pond.  Still, this was the first time in a long time that Tiger really looked like himself during a major.  He should be worth watching for the rest of the year.

As for McIlroy, he is still working through something, but I think he's closer to winning than most people realize.  Here were his rounds at the Masters:  72+70+79+69=290.  In other words, he had one terrible round on Saturday, but was 5 under in the other three rounds.  We've seen something like this before -- in 2011, McIlroy played three and one-half great rounds at the Masters, but fell apart on Sunday afternoon.  A few months later, he dominated the U.S. Open.  Last year, McIlroy tied for 40th at the Masters, missed the cut at the U.S. Open, and tied for 60th at the British Open -- then ran away with the PGA and also won the Deutsche Bank Championship and the BMW Championship.  He will be heard from before the year is out.

We will also note that this was another very poor showing from American golfers not named Tiger Woods.  Since Tiger won the 2008 U.S. Open, there have been 19 major tournaments.  Of those, only six have been won by Americans.  I'm afraid we are simply looking at a lost generation of American golf -- that the next great American golfer after Tiger Woods, whoever he may be, is not currently on tour.

Finally, a tip of the cap to Bobby Jones, whose remarkable tournament, and beautiful golf course, continue to enthrall fans worldwide.  Once Tiger was penalized on Saturday morning, my rooting interest in the Masters almost disappeared.  But I thoroughly enjoyed this whole tournament.

Final Leaderboard:

1.  A. Scott (AUS):  -9 (69+72+69+69=279) (shot 4+3= 7 in playoff)

2.  A. Cabrera (ARG):  -9 (71+69+69+70=279) (4+4=8 in playoff)

3.  J. Day (AUS):  -7 (70+68+73+70=281)

T4.  T. Woods:  -5 (70+73+70+70=283)
T4.  M. Leishman (AUS):  -5 (66+73+72+72=283

T6.  T. Olesen (DEN):  -4 (78+70+68+68=284)
T6.  B. Snedeker:  -4 (70+70+69+75=284)

T8.  S. Garcia (ESP):  -3 (66+76+73+70=285)
T8.  L. Westwood (ENG):  -3 (70+71+73+71=285)
T8.  M. Kuchar:  -3 (68+75+69+73=285)

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