Random Monday Masters thoughts:
- I don’t think CBS was too interested in Kenny Perry, Chad Campbell or Angel Cabrera. Nope. They were more intrigued by the Tiger Woods/Phil Mickelson pairing that started well back of the leaders. Realistically, Woods and Phil were too far back starting the round, and nothing short of a 64 would change that. And then Phil went out and shot 30 on the front nine, generally regarded as more difficult than the back nine, especially when you consider there are two very reachable par-5s on the back. Of course, with Phil being Phil, he hit some incredible shots on the front and some incredibly bad shots on the back, including the horrible tee shot on 12 and lousy putts on 15 and 17. Woods made bogey on 17 and that was the end of his charge. Leonard Shapiro has a pretty good assessment of the whole Woods/Mickelson saga.
- Okay, I get the interest in Woods and Mickelson. But they were never leading the damned tournament on the final day. So why did CBS show them like they were five shots ahead? And what was with all this Ali/Fraser BS? I mean they were largely battling for fourth or fifth place — not well clear of the field. Mike Bailey at Worldgolf.com agrees.
- I was a bit shocked by the number of times CBS showed Woods and Mickelson live, only to cut to the leaders in tape delay.
- What was the most important shot of the Masters? That amazing iron Mickelson hit on 7 to set up a birdie? The one he dunked on 12? Neither. It was Cabrera hitting an ill-conceived shot on the first playoff hole that hammered a tree and went back into the fairway. Could have gone anywhere — including behind another tree — and Cabrera would have been finished. Instead he made par while Perry and Campbell threw up on themselves. Proof positive that golf tournaments are won by skill — and a little luck.
- One reader today sent me a note complaining that Augusta was too easy. I disagree. I’m not looking to watch another U.S. Open. I thought the ability for those a few shots back to make a charge made the tournament more enjoyable. The softer greens still meant the players needed to hit great shots to get close. But those great shots didn’t get repelled like they had hit concrete. And I believe great shots should get rewarded.
- Disappointments? Mike Weir, who shot a ghastly 78 on Saturday. Jim Furyk, who never got it going on Sunday. All that hype about Danny Lee, Ryo Ishikawa and Rory McIlroy. Only McIlroy played on the weekend and he was nearly DQd. In fact, one has to wonder whether he would have been given the boot had this been any other tournament other than the Masters. So much for Johnny Miller’s take that Lee might be the tournament’s “dark horse.” If by dark Miller meant watching on television in his living room, then yes.
- Surprises? Cabrera, who didn’t appear poised to hold it together on Saturday or Sunday. Remember he was over par for much of the round. John Merrick, who shot 66 on Sunday. Todd Hamilton finishes 15th. Who knew he still played golf?