Final Round Masters Clippings Vol. 1


Zach Johnson, Masters Champion. Nothing against Zach, but let's face it, another freakish setup produced a surprise winner. Albeit one who held up beautifully under the pressure, but nonetheless, not someone who you sensed was one of the world's elite.

Lawrence Donegan in The Guardian:

The stunning climax came after three days peppered with double bogeys and broken spirits. Fortunately, the gentlemen in green blazers remembered their tournament has earned its place in folklore because it has long been a byword for excitement. But there are precious few thrills to be mined from the sight of the world's best players fearfully plotting their way round the course as if walking to their own funeral party.

So when play began yesterday morning it quickly became clear everything possible had been done to bring the scoring down. Tees had been pushed forward, the greens had been heavily watered and the pin positions were about as friendly as a Labrador puppy. The overnight changes had the desired effect. For the first time all week cheers echoed along the alleyways and canyons of Alister Mackenzie's classic links.

Ron Sirak is trying way too hard to win one of those Masters lifetime achievement writing things they gave out Wednesday:

Going into Sunday, there was real doubt among many that perhaps something of the Masters magic had been lost by the way the course had been renovated. But let the record also show that almost all of the players were fine with the way the course played -- calling it severe but fair, challenging but not tricked up. The patrons, adjusting to the scarcity of eagles and birdies, were probably the ones who needed the most convincing, but even they were finally won over by a Sunday that, while lacking a Tiger victory, was both inspiring and well played.
Let's see what the people at Nielsen say.

Doug Ferguson on Zach Johnson. Here's Johnson's post round press conference.

Lorne Rubenstein says that the more tricked up the course gets, the easier it is for a clever strategist and great putter like Zach Johnson to win.

The hole stats are here. Final tally for the week was 75.884.

The final round hole stats are here. The average for Sunday was 74.331.

The driving distance numbers are here.

The eagle summary is here (18, 10 Sunday).

The birdie summary is here.

The putting summary is here.

Driving accuracy is here.

Okay on to the columns. Martin Johnson in the Telegraph:

You'd be hard pressed to find a whiter set of teeth anywhere in sport, but when Tiger Woods starts to breathe on the rest of the field in a major championship, the effect is usually like a blast of halitosis. Terrible choking noises and dead bodies everywhere.

It's certainly been nippy in Augusta this weekend, but Royal Dornoch in January it is not. In any event, if it's cold, why don't these players wear woolly hats like the rest of us?

The answer to that one, of course, is that they're all paid ludicrous amounts of money to wear caps and visors with sponsored logos, so much so that there are some players on tour you'd never recognise with a bare head. You can just imagine the vicar at Woods' wedding. "Excuse me, Mr Woods, but before you take this woman to be your lawful wedded wife, would you mind removing your Nike hat?"

But there's no denying that the severity of the course this year has altered the character of the tournament. There has not been such a funereal silence around Amen Corner since Greg Norman's final-round implosion in 1996, when the Great White Shark turned into a rollmop herring, and all you could hear was the splash of another of Greg's golf balls plunging into Rae's Creek. The severity of the course this year is such that when Tim Clark, joint leader on Saturday morning, went round in 80, he still found himself no worse than four strokes off the lead.

There have been suggestions that the Masters is turning into the US Open, head down, grind it out, and try to keep a triple bogey off your card.
Ken Carpenter calls it the worst Masters ever and calls it a boring week of "generally awful" golf.

Art Spander said Sunday was "exciting and fascinating."  

AP's Jim Litke had this on Tiger: 
"It was difficult, very difficult," Woods said. "It was the hardest Masters I've ever seen, with the wind, the dryness, the speed of these things. I told a couple guys out here this week, 'I was glad I had metal spikes on, or I would have slipped on the greens, they were so slick.'"

Woods exited the clubhouse soon after, surrounded by his agent and four security guards, sipping a diet soda and carrying a new driver under his arm. He headed for the driving range and so strong is the legend that's grown up around Woods that a few people following him actually thought he was going to practice.

Instead, he used a back entrance to the players' parking lot, started up the car and drove down Magnolia Lane. There would be no more golf this day. This Masters was over, and with it went a piece of Tiger's aura of invincibility.

Gary Van Sickle says Tiger looked mortal Sunday. 

Frank Hannigan shares some thoughts on CBS's Masters approach.

Mick Elliott says the U.S. Open-like antics have turned the Masters into divine comedy.

Dave Seanor believes that Augusta needs to build mounds to help spectators and that they can bulldoze them after each tournament. He makes up for that nutty post with this on the same blog:

Phil Mickelson, who just opened Round 4 with a triple-bogey 7, was spotted working with Butch Harmon on the range at Doral and Tucson.

Bumping into Harmon in the Augusta National pro shop, I posed the question: When are you going full time with Phil?

"I don't know what you're talking about," Butch said, turning his back to me. "I'll let you know when I find out."

Sounded cryptic enough for Rick Smith to be concerned.