Twitter: GeoffShac
Writing And Videos
  • Playing Through: Modern Golf's Most Iconic Players and Moments
    Playing Through: Modern Golf's Most Iconic Players and Moments
    by Jim Moriarty
  • Tommy's Honor: The Story of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, Golf's Founding Father and Son
    Tommy's Honor: The Story of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, Golf's Founding Father and Son
    by Kevin Cook
  • His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir (Anchor Sports)
    His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir (Anchor Sports)
    by Dan Jenkins
  • The Captain Myth: The Ryder Cup and Sport's Great Leadership Delusion
    The Captain Myth: The Ryder Cup and Sport's Great Leadership Delusion
    by Richard Gillis
  • The Ryder Cup: Golf's Grandest Event โ€“ A Complete History
    The Ryder Cup: Golf's Grandest Event โ€“ A Complete History
    by Martin Davis
  • A Life Well Played: My Stories
    A Life Well Played: My Stories
    by Arnold Palmer
  • Harvey Penick: The Life and Wisdom of the Man Who Wrote the Book on Golf
    Harvey Penick: The Life and Wisdom of the Man Who Wrote the Book on Golf
    by Kevin Robbins
  • Teeing Off: Players, Techniques, Characters, and Reflections from a Lifetime Inside the Game
    Teeing Off: Players, Techniques, Characters, and Reflections from a Lifetime Inside the Game
    by Ken Bowden

I am no lover of the habit of giving names to holes, but the trees and shrubs which give identity to the holes at Augusta are real enough: flowering peach, magnolia--the drive is alive with them, too; yellow jasmine, Carolina, cherry, camellia--never was the iron gauntlet of challenge more skillfully concealed in velvet.
BOBBY JONES

 

   

Wednesday
Apr152009

How To Kick Them Out

What with the exclusive board meeting video and all of this talk about clubs, I suggested in Golfdom that clubs need to start locker room or bulletin board postings to fund the buyouts of less desireables. What do you think?

 

Wednesday
Apr152009

"Did Woods try to accomplish too much, too soon? Has he simply changed?"

Jaime Diaz's engaging, must-read look at Tiger Woods' Masters week raises all sorts of fascinating questions.

So the speculation will begin again. For all the great wins since he began working with Haney in 2004, have the swing changes been the right ones? Is the relationship with Haney in jeopardy? Is there lasting damage in the left knee? Did Woods try to accomplish too much, too soon? Has he simply changed?

Diaz goes on to detail all of the key moments from the week, highlighted by Friday's driving range session:

Steaming, he marched to the range and immediately—and uncharacterically—began pounding drivers. Williams, reading the moment, got away. Haney, who stayed to face the heat, got an earful. Woods eventually cooled off, had a long exchange with Haney and gave the fans who applauded his longer than usual hour-long session a grateful, if clearly discouraged, wave.

Ultimately, it still sounds like for all of the analysis and swing struggles, some perspective is in order. Tiger was off for eight months and simply hasn't played enough tournament golf to be sharp. Diaz doesn't quite go so far as to say it, but based on this next bit, you have to wonder if Haney has pointed out to Tiger that as miraculous as Torrey Pines was, even Tiger needs to play more competitive rounds to work off the rust and to give majors a little less high-pressure urgency.

Though they are words sure to make Haney wince, he took a bullet for his player. "Tiger worked as hard as humanly possible to come back for the Masters," said the swing instructor after the dust had settled Monday morning. "Maybe a little more tournament play would have helped, but he did everything he could. There were a lot of things that you can point to in his not winning, but all it does is point out how hard it is to win major championships."

Especially when they've become all that really matter.

Wednesday
Apr152009

"As soon as I saw Rory kick the sand I knew it was a foul and rushed out to ring Chubby"

Nice catch by reader Stan in this Rory McIlroy story by Bernie McGuire, with Darren Clarke commenting on the Masters Friday rules incident:

"Darren Clarke yesterday revealed he attempted to contact McIlroy’s agent after the teenager’s controversial incident in a bunker at the 18th on Friday.

The 19-year-old was called before the Masters Tournament competition committee, and told they were reviewing whether McIlroy kicked the sand — a rules violation.

Clarke revealed: "As soon as I saw Rory kick the sand I knew it was a foul and rushed out to ring Chubby (Chandler). I was hoping I could catch him before he handed in his card."

Tuesday
Apr142009

Second Masters Question: It was more than just the weather, no?

I was going to start this post asking why course setup was such a major topic (again) going into this Masters and yet, how few actual details we learned about what went into the committee's efforts to finally make Augusta National resemble its old self.

Sure, the committee will never be the chatty types, but how about some basic observations on tee and hole locations based on observation (you know, by leaving the press center). Or true player/caddy insights into what they actually saw? (And not just that the greens were clearly soft. We at home could see that.)

But then I saw this USA Today headline on a Jerry Potter story:

Players say scoring at majors often dictated by course setup

Rumor has it that tomorrow they've got a grabber titled, "Players say lowest score at majors often wins."

From what I've seen so far of the post Masters issues, the weeklies offer little in the way of details. However, a few reviews are in and, as warranted, they are quite positive.

Doug Ferguson rightly praises the overall change in tone. "The magic of the Masters, however, is not so much about the score as it is the opportunity."

Ron Sirak noted this detail, which seemed to have been overlooked but which was apparent on television (and almost noted on-air by Feherty at No. 15 before he realized the club has snipers trained on him in case he reverts to his true self):

Also, grass was allowed to grow ever-so-slightly longer, preventing balls that in the past may have rolled into water to hang up just short.

Steve Elling had a different take, not convinced just yet that the course is all the way back.

Even with abnormally idyllic weather, softer greens, easier pin locations and front tees that were used liberally throughout the week in a notable departure from the norm, the low score was 12 under par, marking the third time in eight years that the Masters winner finished at that exact number. Thus, it was hardly a sub-sonic total, yet it required perfect conditions and plenty of course tinkering to pull it off.

That represents a flashing yellow light.

Regular readers here know that after Shinnecock, Oakland Hills and way too many other recent rounds, I am fascinated with the idea of courses becoming silly when it's 75 and the wind is clocked at a whopping 15 mph.

So last week for me that "flashing yellow light" came in the form of intentionally soft greens. We should applaud whoever made the call to make the greens slower and softer, because it helped mask the deficiencies in the architecture and gave us a memorable week.

In recent days I've polled folks in the know, asking who deserves the most praise for making this call. They unanimously say Billy Payne deserves it for setting a new tone and essentially overruling the committee charged with setup. Still, let's nod our caps to Fred Ridley, course super Marsh Benson and the committees who found a few new hole locations and did the dirty work.

Of course they should not have to work so hard if the architecture was in better condition. Yes, it was clear the second cut has been negated in many key areas by a discreet widening out of holes.  And the frontal additions to several tees clearly helped based on comments by Crenshaw and Weir. But still, is this quote from an AP notes column (nice spot reader David) really what the club wants to read:

"We played the ladies' tees two days in a row." – Steve Williams, caddie for Tiger Woods, on the course setup.

There were a few times I was worried about player safety on No. 11 when it looked like a Palmer follow-through might lead to a plunge off the front. Then again, wasn't it wonderful Sunday to see the 15th play so short that players were able to bomb it past the abhorred Fazio/Hootie tree farm?

Which is the issue at hand. The committee had to work their tails off to offset the glaring deficiencies: the decrease in width, the second cut, the still-missing ebb and flow of the back nine, and the lack of genuine tee "elasticity." (Oh and we'll give a shout out to Brandel Chamblee who rightly questions the deepening of key fairway bunkers to the point that they eliminate the temptation factor.)

Minus the rough, minus the Christmas trees that are turning into monsters (shrewd planting work there!) but with a few old tees and corridors widened out to their old selves, firmness could be restored. Remember, Bobby Jones HATED soft greens, even writing an essay about it that originally appeared in the USGA Green Section Bulletin and subsequently in Masters of the Links

Wider and firmer does not necessarily mean players would be put back on the defensive. On the contrary, it should lull them into a false sense of security, a primary tenet of great risk-reward design.  And best of all, the committee wouldn't have to work so hard covering up the mistakes made in changing the course.

But can we all agree, the overall change in tone the last few years was not merely a product of the weather?

Tuesday
Apr142009

"Cabrera's appetites are like his drives โ€” prodigious."

SI's Alan Shipnuck files his typically rich-in-detail-no-one-else-has Masters game story. So rich, I'm running for the Pepto tablets just thinking about Angel Cabrera's diet:

Earlier in the evening a quaint Masters tradition had compelled him to eat a champion's dinner with the Augusta National members. Eschewing the lobster macaroni and cheese and other delicacies from the buffet, Cabrera settled on an irresistible item called the Tiger Woods Cheeseburger. The burgers were smaller than expected, so a famished Cabrera ate nine of them, washed down by gulps of red wine. Back at the house, as it neared 2 a.m., he took lusty sips of his favorite drink: Coke mixed with Fernet Branca, a bitter, aromatic spirit brewed from grapes and more than 40 herbs and spices.

Tuesday
Apr142009

"In 1968, I was watching with my mother when Robert De Vicenzo signed an incorrect scorecard and was disqualified."

I'm not going to sleep as well tonight knowing that Condi Rice is angling not for a job with the PGA Tour, but instead, as a golf writer.

Writing--if you could call it that--for The Daily Beast.

Long before I picked up a golf club four years ago, I watched the Masters every year. In 1968, I was watching with my mother when Robert De Vicenzo signed an incorrect scorecard and was disqualified. Mother was outraged because she thought that the mistake might have been a result of the language barrier.

Still spelling his name wrong, after all these years. Though I doubt he's had much trouble with folks messing up the Roberto part.

Look at the lyrical quality of this passage.

I know Tiger from our Stanford connection. I once sat with him at a Stanford-Duke basketball game. Stanford won on a buzzer-beater, and we stormed the court together. With that kind of bonding, whom else would I pull for? I had decided that if Tiger did not win, I would champion the cause of Phil Mickelson (met him at the White House and he’s a really nice guy); Stewart Cink (met him in Atlanta and he’s a really nice guy); or Anthony Kim (haven’t met him but I like his swagger).

Tuesday
Apr142009

"'Back to the clubhouse. I'm not going to live long enough to figure out that backswing.'"

John Garrity catches up with some of the older former Masters Champions, including '68 winner Bob Goalby and Jackie Burke, making his first visit to Augusta in seven years.

Goalby, for example, shares one about Jackie and another old pro, Miller Barber. "You know Miller?" Goalby arches an eyebrow. "He's got about 14 curlicues in his backswing, and then he sticks the club straight up in the air with no wrist cock. Anyway, he asked Jackie for a lesson. They went out on the range, dumped the balls out. Miller said, 'I'm mixed up on my backswing. Watch me hit some.' So he hit about a dozen balls before Jackie turned and started walking away. Miller's got this squeaky voice. He shouted, 'Jackie! Jackie! Where are you going?' And Jackie said, 'Back to the clubhouse. I'm not going to live long enough to figure out that backswing.'"

Tuesday
Apr142009

"Straub describes the 115,000-square-foot clubhouse as 'a new Breakers.'"

Thanks to Steven T. for Eve Samples story on the proud new owner of Tesoro, the former Ginn property.

Last month, the court approved the sale of Tesoro's assets to Straub's West Coast Investors LLC. He paid $10.99 million for 353 lots, a golf course and another golf course lease, 11 acres of commercial property, a racquet club and a clubhouse.

Straub describes the 115,000-square-foot clubhouse as "a new Breakers."

115,000 square feet? I can't imagine why this place didn't work.

Tuesday
Apr142009

Golf With Comedian Lewis Black At Westchester CC...

Tuesday
Apr142009

"He's kidlike. He likes cartoons."

Wright Thompson files an excellent ESPN.com profile of Gary Player and Danny Lee's IMG-coordinated bond contrasted experiences at last week's Masters. (Shockingly, Lee announced his signing with Cleveland's finest today.) Besides some priceless stuff about the Player "brand," Thompson shares this anecdote about Lee's back nine 47 Friday.

When we left Danny, he was cruising on the eighth hole. On the next hole, the wheels began to fall off, a double-bogey, a little taste of his what's to come. Friday, he starts strong, eagling No. 8, birdieing 9 and then coming to the hole that would be his undoing: 10. He six-putts from about 10 feet. Twice more coming home to an 81, he double-bogeys, unraveling on national TV. "Now he's just spooked," IMG's Kevin Lynch says after the second double-bogey.

A 6-putt?

More disturbing is the IMG presence all week in Lee's life talking about "Danny Lee Inc." and this...

For now, in the last days of one life, it's hard to get him to focus on serious business discussions; he's more likely to slip out of the room to play video games.

"He's kidlike," Yim says. "He likes cartoons."

Tuesday
Apr142009

"Golf journalism creates a rich historical record about this game we love. May the craft long outlive these troubling times."

Paul Rogers in the latest SI Golf Plus pens this My Shot farewell to Travel and Leisure Golf.

As story lengths were shrinking and features were being replaced by cheaper, easier-to-produce Q&A's throughout the industry, the magazine remained a haven for the artful writer. Readers so inclined could savor the well-crafted sentence and the lengthy narratives on offbeat subjects (gimme putts, America's fiercest club championship, the enduring mystery of Young Tom Morris's death). The contributors ranged from the established to the aspiring, from a best-selling novelist like Chang-rae Lee to freelancers whose bylines appeared mainly in local papers or regional monthlies.

Tuesday
Apr142009

Behind The Scenes At Sikeston CC's Board Meeting

Thanks to Dave who forwarded this insider's view of a board meeting at Missouri's Sikeston Country Club. The sensitive subject of tree removal is in play. I think it is safe to say that anyone who has spent time on a club committee will relate to this. The video is also a fine introduction to Overstream.com.

Monday
Apr132009

First Masters Question: Is Augusta Live Undermining CBS's Credibility?

In reading reviews of the CBS coverage, most focus seems to be on the announcing and how they followed the Tiger-Phil drama. Bradley Klein charted these numbers:

The first commercial break didn’t come until 66 minutes into the telecast, and all told, by my count, we saw only 20 minutes of ads. That left time for golf, 378 shots in all shown live or “a moment ago.” Those shots comprised 57 drives; 96 full approaches into greens; six pitch-outs; 35 chips, recoveries or sand shots; 52 long putts, 83 short putts and 49 tap-ins. As for the common argument that we see too much putting, the evidence shows that 49 percent of all shots shown took place on the green.

Michael Hiestand in the USA Today really doesn't say much at all, but I thought I'd link it anyway. Kind of following in that Rudy Martzke tradition, isn't he? 

Chris Zelkovich picks on some of the sappier CBS comments in entertaining fashion. Don't worry, PK, he doesn't mention you!

Unmentioned in these reviews is the impact of Augusta Live, the amazing online bonus coverage that DirectTV subscribers also had access too.

On the live blogs here, we were consistently astonished just how few live shots CBS shows in comparison to what we were seeing in the online coverage of Amen Corner and the 15th/16h holes. Our friends watching BBC reported comments from post round interviews we never would have gotten and several other observations based on seeing actual golf shots instead of pre-packaged material.

For instance, we live blog participants knew all about Anthony Kim's historic round Friday as well as Rory McIlroy's disastrous finish and his ruling controversy, all thanks to Augusta Live or tips from viewers overseas. Yet for CBS, it was if they had a set script and no golf was going to get in the way.

Also disastrous was the 12th hole sequence Sunday. Every year the 12th tee caddy-player discussions provide us with the ultimate pressure moment. When Phil and Tiger arrived there, Ian Baker Finch and Nick Faldo talked over way too much of the club selection discussions. Now, I admire both as announcers and Faldo was particularly strong last week. So part of me wonders if they are told to talk viewers through things because there are so many non-golfers watching.

But I couldn't help noticing that Ian Eagle and Matt Gogel, announcing on Amen Corner Live coverage, went silent as Tiger-Stevie/Phil-Bones made the all-important 12th tee decision. (In hindsight, I should have muted my CBS feed.)

So my question: Is Augusta Live undermining CBS's credibility by exposing just how few live shots we see and golf shots period? Or is this merely the future of the broadcasting the Masters, where a network feed is an excessively-produced, almost documentary-style telecast for the masses while we viewers at home select feeds we want to watch, ala Augusta Live?

Monday
Apr132009

"Does Mickelson's reaction in the wake of Sunday's disappointment indicate nothing other than a sense of perspective and sportsmanship?"

Lawrence Donegan raises several interesting points about Tiger and Phil's post-round behavior Sunday, noting Phil's amazing (borderline shocking) disposition after having such a great chance of winning. But he mostly focuses on Tiger's crankiness. The entire piece is worth your time, it just so happens this caught my eye:

The contrast between Mickelson's ­apparent insouciance and Woods' evident anger was open to multiple interpretations. It was ever thus and this latest episode left those who believe the world No 1 is infallible to argue that he was angry only because he cares so much.

By extension all conduct is seemingly acceptable, be it the constant cursing and club throwing – in which Woods has become the world-leader since his return from injury – or the childish behaviour he adopted before Sunday's final round, cold-shouldering Mickelson in an apparent ­attempt to make him feel uncomfortable.

Monday
Apr132009

"I will no longer criticize the World Golf Rankings because Japan's Shingo Katayama mysteriously stays in the top 50 while seeming to do very little."

I'm not sure if I can fully vindicate the Official World Golf Ranking the way Gary Van Sickle is prepared to, but he does have a point here...

I will no longer criticize the World Golf Rankings because Japan's Shingo Katayama mysteriously stays in the top 50 while seeming to do very little. At the Masters, he finished ahead of Tiger, Phil and Padraig. He finished in front of everyone, in fact, except the Titanic Three. I was impressed with his gutty back nine, and I liked his theatrics. Just one thing — the Village People called, and they want their hat back.

Monday
Apr132009

2009 Masters Ratings Take Expected Easter Sunday Hit

But 42 million people tuned in at some point over the weekend, which isn't bad.

Monday
Apr132009

Sergio Garcia's Agent Really Sorry His Client Talked To Golf Channel

Oliver Brown reports on Sergio's heartfelt apology for saying not-so-nice-things about Augusta National. I'm thinking it's so much from the heart that his agent may have even read this to him over the phone before sending it out!

"Following my final round at the Masters, I made comments in an interview that I regret and want to apologise for," he said.

"Out of frustration, I blamed the golf course instead of putting the blame where it belongs, on myself.

“I didn’t get it done this week. Augusta National is one of the most iconic golf courses in the game and playing in the Masters each year is an honour. I apologise to the members of Augusta National and the fans who rightfully treasure this golf course.”

Sporting News has posted the video along with comments from Sergio's good pal Padraig Harrington refuting the point.

I can just see it now.

The Golf Channel producer trying to flag down Paddy for an interview as he's heading to the locker room and Paddy waving it off until the person says, "but we have Sergio on tape ripping Augusta National and in general acting like his wonderful self."

Paddy: "Oh, where would you like me? Is this a good backdrop for you? I'll wait while you do the white balance. What? You don't have to do that anymore? Well I'll wait anyway. Take as long as you want."

Monday
Apr132009

"Really, the break with ADT offers a telling microcosm for us to judge Bivens' larger approach."

I just got around to reading Jon Show's SBJ story revealing that the LPGA Tour and Commish Bivens have given up on trying to secure network coverage for next year, which would also mean that the break up decision with ADT to usher in a 2010 season opening swing is looking more disastrous by the day, even without mentioning Stanford Financial.

Check out what Randell Mell wrote back when the ADT news broke and the future grand plan was leaked:

Really, the break with ADT offers a telling microcosm for us to judge Bivens' larger approach.

Tour pros ought to scrutinize what's happening to this event very closely to see if the changes are really for the better or if something special's being damaged.

Bivens' remaking of this season-ending event and the break with ADT will tell us so much about the wisdom of her overall plan.

If she unveils a future to this championship that sounds convincingly better than the eight-year run ADT gave us, players should be encouraged. If she doesn't, they ought to be worried, and they ought to be asking hard questions of their commissioner. This has been a terrific event with a wonderful run. Players are sure to measure future events against it.

Monday
Apr132009

"I'm stupid. I hope Phil wins. That was dumb. Why did I do that?"

Did anyone notice this incident where the drunk fan made a scene Sunday with Phil Mickelson on 17?

According to The Augusta Chronicle, Masters security sought to confiscate the grounds badge of Steven T. Davis, 34, of Salt Lake City, but he said the badge fell off when he was in the bunker.

"I apologize," Davis said as he was taken away, likely to the Richmond County jail to face a disorderly conduct charge, according to the newspaper. "I'm stupid. I hope Phil wins. That was dumb. Why did I do that?"

Seems to me the explanation is pretty simple. He's from Salt Lake and he was just really happy to get a drink.

Sunday
Apr122009

2009 Masters Final Round Clippings

Our dwindling press core summoned their finest insights and bold reactions to Sunday's Masters play. So sit back, prepare to click (remember, right to open in a new tab!) and enjoy a strong media performance. Of course it didn't hurt that there were great stories to tell.

We have all week for the traditional golf course and overall tournament post op, but if you followed the live blog you know we'll be talking about CBS, the extraordinary Masters.com, the golf course setup twist (soft greens save the day!?), the architectural issues remaining (the list is getting shorter!) and the cruelty of ending the Masters in a sudden death playoff.

Alrighty, position those mouse pads and click away.

Ledes
Larry Dorman in the New York Times:

When it comes to sudden changes, head-spinning and gut-wrenching ones, there is once again no place like Augusta National on a Sunday. The first three-man sudden-death playoff in 22 years at the Masters followed a daylong rush of adrenaline-charged roars that cascaded like Niagara Falls across the greensward.

Doug Ferguson for AP:

The Masters delivered the show everyone wanted and a champion no one expected.

From La Nacion:

Angel Cabrera volvió a hacer historia. Escribió otra página llena de gloria para el golf argentino. El cordobés se coronó campeón del Masters de Augusta, y puede sentir ese orgullo de saberse el primer argentino que se prueba el saco verde, un logro que el mismísimo Roberto De Vicenzo no pudo conseguir pese a haber estado a un paso hacerlo.

Comprende?

Lawrence Donegan filing for The Guardian:

Dreams can come true and they did yesterday at Augusta National: for the Masters, for those seeking an ultimate expression of golf's greatest rivalry and, finally, for Angel Cabrera who took the prized Green Jacket to add to the US Open trophy he won two years ago.

Mark Lamport-Stokes writing for Reuters:

Argentina's Angel Cabrera won his second major after a nerve-jangling playoff victory at the U.S. Masters on Sunday, becoming the first South American to claim the prized Green Jacket.

And because he's just that talented, Lamport-Stokes again:

El golfista argentino Angel Cabrera se adjudicó su segundo título en torneos "major" al ganar el domingo el Masters de Augusta en un vibrante desempate.

Back to the King's English, Mark Reason for the Telegraph:

Angel Cabrera of Argentina won the Masters but Kenny Perry lost it on one of the most dramatic afternoons in Augusta history.

Steve Elling for CBSSports.com:

It was Easter Sunday. His name is Angel.

Sappy, yes, but when otherworldly and inexplicable things happen, rational and linear-thinking folks tend to scratch their heads and question the deities about how good fortune sometimes leads to fame.

And Kevin Eason for The Times:

All eyes had been on the two top names in golf and a man bidding to become the oldest winner of a major title, but Ángel Cabrera emerged from one of the most thrilling climaxes in the history of Augusta to become the Masters champion last night.


Angel
Since there weren't too many stories on the champ, let's thank reader Tim for saving us the time looking for Alan Shipnuck and Luis Fernando Llosa's outstanding 2007 SI profile of Cabrera.

And while we're at it, Jaime Diaz's August 2007 profile for Golf Digest, too. Here's Angel's official website.

 

Kenny
I don't know if it's a language barrier deal but the Kenny Perry stories were in greater abundance and passionately portrayed.

Kevin Mitchell in The Guardian:

At the protracted end of the most extra­ordinary Masters since Tiger Woods gate-crashed Augusta 12 years ago, and very nearly echoing Jack Nicklaus's win aged 46 here in 1986, Kenny Perry dragged his stiff old bones around the famous course in pursuit of a victory to defy the odds, the years, the lengthening shadows and all reasonable aesthetics.

Gary Van Sickle for golf.com:

It wasn't just the Masters on the line this week for Perry. It was validation for a long and productive career, the realization of a dream. Because the American dream is Kenny Perry. Small-town kid makes good, rags to riches, Horatio Alger — all in one. It's the dream that promises anything is possible if you work hard, try hard, and are tough enough. Or as late NCAA basketball coach Jim Valvano commanded, "Don't give up, don't ever give up."

Thomas Bonk at GolfDigest.com:

Perry said his mother has cancer. He said there is more to his life than losing a major, in a playoff, no matter how it happens. He refused to second-guess himself about not holding on to a lead.

"I'm not going there. I'm not going pity-person on me. All I know is all the big stars make it happen. They are where they are and we're down here.

"I just hope somewhere I can get back there again."

AP's Jim Litke writes:

A golfer doesn't scuffle when he's young just to make the tour, struggle to hold his place throughout the middle of his career and then, at an age when most pros begin mapping out plans for the senior circuit, suddenly discover there's magic in those thick, calloused hands. Perry did.

Bob Harig writing for ESPN.com:

A golfer doesn't scuffle when he's young just to make the tour, struggle to hold his place throughout the middle of his career and then, at an age when most pros begin mapping out plans for the senior circuit, suddenly discover there's magic in those thick, calloused hands. Perry did.

Perry then stopped himself, realizing there are worse things than losing a golf tournament. His mom, Mildred, has cancer. His dad, Ken, is 85 years old, Kenny's biggest fan and supporter, and trying to look after his wife.

His kids, Lesslye, 24, Justin, 23 and Lindsey, 20, were all here, devastated, speechless.
"I got a lot of people hurting right now," Perry said.

No doubt.

And finally, Steve Elling writes:

Time stands still for no man, major winner or runner-up. And the most painful part of the equation is this: What if Perry never again contends on such a grand stage?

Ask anybody over age 50. After a certain point, the memories are all you have. This one's going to sting forever.

 

Chad
Nancy Armour on Chad Campbell, runner up:

He came out of the scorer’s shed with a determined look on his face, nodding yes when someone asked if he was ready to go. While Perry and Cabrera signed their cards, he and his caddie headed to the 18th tee for the first playoff hole.

Cabrera’s tee shot sailed into the trees on the right side, landing squarely behind a tree. Perry and Campbell’s drives, meanwhile, sat in the middle of the fairway.

“I was pretty excited to hit the fairway,” Campbell said. “I haven’t hit the fairway there all week, I think.”

 

Tiger And Phil
A vast and entertaining spectrum of takes on Phil and Tiger, Tiger and Phil.

Tim Dahlberg writing for AP:

The record will reflect that Angel Cabrera won this Masters and the coveted green jacket that goes along with it. But anyone watching will tell you that Tiger and Phil stole the show.

The fans who streamed out of Augusta National by the hundreds even as the leaders played the back nine certainly thought so. They could have stuck around for what eventually became the first three-way playoff in 22 years, but there didn’t seem much point after the thrills Woods and Mickelson provided.

Gene Wojciechowski at ESPN.com:

The early evening and the Masters championship belongs to Cabrera -- no small thing -- but the day, the 75-deep galleries, the loudest roars belonged to Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. And for a moment there, when the two of them were just a single stroke out of the lead heading into the 17th hole, this 2009 Masters was almost theirs, too.

"I would say it was the most fun I've ever had on a golf course caddying," said Jim Mackay, who has carried Mickelson's bag for years.

"A couple of shots could have changed the whole world," said Steve Loy, Mickelson's agent.

Cabrera, who won a U.S. Open in 2007 at Oakmont, gets the big paycheck and the sterling replica Masters trophy. But Woods and Mickelson are the two guys who gave this tournament and this Sunday an adrenaline rush. My ears still hurt.

Cameron Morfit on the first tee scene for Tiger and Phil.

You would have thought it was 1997, to judge by the scene as players, caddies, coaches and hangers-on arrived for the final round. Kultida Woods, dressed entirely in red, including a visor the size of a lampshade, strode up in the middle of a red-shirted, Nike-swooshed Tiger posse.

"Hi, Fluff," she said to caddie Mike Cowan, Tiger's former bag man whose marshmallow mustache matched his white coveralls. "Good luck, today."

"Hi, Ma Woods," Cowan said back as he rubbed a towel over Jim Furyk's grips.

Bill Pennington with this on the first tee handshake:

The handshake that followed was frosty and perfunctory, like something two unfriendly neighbors might exchange at church with the pastor watching.

Bill Elliott in The Guardian:

Phil spends hours signing autographs, Tiger avoids as many as he can. Phil talks to everyone and then retreats to his den to watch his bank of TVs and bet on several sports at the same time while Tiger says he loves scuba diving "because no one tries to talk to me down there". Different? If they were any more different these blokes would be playing tours on separate planets.

Melanie Hauser looks at what could have been for Mickelson and talks to wife Amy:

Augusta seems to feed Mickelson’s soul the way it always has with Ben Crenshaw. There’s a spiritual component, a deep-down-in-his-heart reverence for the course that Bobby Jones and Alister Mackenzie built. For the clubhouse. For the first major of the year.

“He comes here and it’s almost like a religious experience," she said. “He’ll go putt alone. Even in the dark sometimes."

David Dusek on trying to follow Tiger and Phil:

No one had the clout to simply walk up and get a good look at the action from up close. Not even Tida Woods, Tiger's mother, who was walking with Nike's Phil Knight, could get close.
As she crossed a fairway, a fan carrying two empty beer cups said to his friends, "Hey, there's Tiger's mom! She's like Mary Magdalene or something."

T.J. Auclair files an excellent blow-by-blow account of the Tiger-Phil day.

Lorne Rubenstein says even "the game's best players aren't immune to errors at the most critical times."

Jay Busbee isn't so kind, asking if Tiger and Phil choked while Matthew DeBord at Huffington Post wants everyone to get along:

One of these days, Woods and Mickelson are going to need to recognize that, like Palmer and Nicklaus, they are forever joined, even if Tiger will have the grander career. They are both very, very good, and they gave us a fantastic show. It would have been nice to witness them acknowledge it, to each other. No, more than nice. Historic. Competition is all well and good, but sportsmanship lasts longer.

It's so much better when they can't stand each other. We wouldn't have it any other way.

Then again, wouldn't it be fun if they designed a course some day like The King and The Bear? That'd probably get held up in the negotiations. Loy: Phil wants to land his plane first. Steiny: Nope, Tiger always lands first, sorry.


Young Guns
Melanie Hauser on how far John Merrick has come.

John Merrick remembers laying down beside the 18th green here in 2004.

The UCLA senior was exhausted -- from a college event the weekend before and, well, a long night. So he plopped down.

The next thing he knew, someone in a green jacket was standing over him. “Son,’’ he said, “you can’t be laying down.’’

Merrick chuckled. He’s come a long way.

Paul Newberry on Shingo Katayama's fourth place showing.

Still, he equaled Toshi Izawa’s fourth-place finish at the 2001 Masters. No Japanese golfer has ever finished higher than Isao Aoki, runner-up to Jack Nicklaus at the U.S. Open in 1980.

With Katayama and 17-year-old Ryo Ishikawa, who failed to make the cut in his first Masters but gained valuable experience, the future certainly looks bright.

“I’m hoping that Japanese golf,” Katayama said, “will be coming forward in the world.”

An unbylined Scottish Herald piece on Rory McIlroy's final round 70 and his joke: "Not to dance in the bunker."

I'm not sure I'd call this dancing, but I sure would call it a penalty.


Old Geezers
Sandy Lyle, quoted in the Scottish Herald:

"It was disappointing not to make par up the last but at least I finished ahead of the current Open champion."

I guess when you aren't the Ryder Cup Captain, you can say things like that.

Larry Mize in his online diary for Masters.com:

This was a great day and a great week for me, but the most exciting thing, I think, for the course and the Tournament was that the roars were back, kind of like the old days.


Augusta Is Back
Dave Kindred for GolfDigest.com:

Before the choke part, the wonder of this Masters was pretty much what Bobby Jones had in mind. This was the Augusta National we love. We've had enough of those forced marches over broken glass, everyone bleeding. Boring bogeys are for the sadists who run the U.S. Open. At the Masters, the idea is that great shots can transform a golf tournament into a thrill ride. And even better, there comes the time, with immortality there for the taking, when a man's right hand suddenly gets a mind of its own. Poor Kenny Perry testifies to that.

Rich Lerner with his Hooks and Cuts, includes several great observations.

Billy Payne’s greatest achievement previously was bringing the Olympic Games to Atlanta. It may now well be bringing the Masters back in all its glory. With help from Mother Nature. And from Tiger, Phil, Kenny Perry, Chad Campbell and Cabrera.

Leonard Shapiro writing for CBSSports:

Augusta National prides itself on giving its "patrons" the best possible experience, but if you watched this heavyweight battle at home, you had the best seat in any house. And yet, just the sonic-boom sound of those roars when Mickelson and Woods began making birdies in bunches had to be worth the price of admission for anyone in those teeming crowds struggling to see a putt here, a drive there.

Michael Bamberger, partaking in this week's SI Golf group serial novel, is right to compliment Fred Ridley and his team for a masterful week setting up the course.

It was a great Masters, but you have to give a big nod to Fred Ridley, the former USGA president and Augusta National member who sets up the course. A course like Augusta National is an artwork, and if you're just a little heavy with blue — the wrong tee positions, the wrong hole locations, the wrong Thursday-Friday pairings — the whole thing can sink. They got everything right this year, and the weather helped, but it was not anything like the greatest Masters. To rise to that level you have to have players doing triumphant things down the stretch, not missing fairways and greens and flubbing chips.

That last part Michael is referring to would be Hootie and Tom Fazio's gift to the game, by no means Ridley and his team's fault. They merely tailored the setup to the pallet and did it beautifully.

Da Medja
Dick Friedman thought CBS had a great day and while I thought the presentation by the camera and sound teams was in fine form (love those owl shots!) and Nick Faldo really shined with top notch insights, other announcers talked over essential conversations. The incredible Masters.com video streams are easily the golf viewing highlight of the year now and totally outshined the network coverage by exposing just how many shots were on tape. Amen Corner Live's Ian Eagle and Matt Gogel had a great week and were silent at just the right times.

Damon Hack hopes to improve on his 112 last time he was drawn in the media lottery.

The reporter in John Garrity got the best of him as a shootout broke out Sunday, and he teases about an interesting story he's working on.


Odds and Ends
PGATour.com's excellent daily summary notes that the 15th played easiest Sunday, but only gave up 2 eagles.

Here's a Masters Playoff summary. Hopefully they are listing the last ever Sudden Death playoff.

ESPN posts the Green Jacket ceremony here where you can see man pink faced guys try to follow Angel Cabrera's acceptance speech. Good stuff!

The final scores and purse breakdown.

Round 4 course stats.

Cumulative course stats. The scoring average this week: 72.6062

Greens in Regulation

Driving Distance

Putting Leaders

Press Room Interviews: Chad Campbell Kenny Perry Angel Cabrera


Imagery

And finally, there's only one place to go for images. The Augusta Chronicle's Angel Cabrera gallery, their Kenny Perry images, their Tiger-Phil shots, their round four collection and their photos from the playoff.

Thanks to everyone who chimed in for the Live Blogs. We had our most spirited group yet on Sunday and I learned a lot.

Another memorable Masters is in the can.