Now, it’s time for me to drown in my own sorrows for a few seconds as someone that put capital in Rose & Spieth and not in Kuchar or Garcia.
As they always say, it is how well you play the Par 3’s that will determine your chances of winning… or is it Par 5’s? I’m not a golfer, so I don’t know!
Well, yesterday the two most unlikely circumstances on Par 3’s destroyed me and they happened in a span of about 5 minutes. First, Jordan Spieth steps up to the 12th tee, his Augusta nightmare. Jordan doesn’t have nightmares about continuous falling to a never approaching Earth, or forgetting he had a test, or trying to run but only able to crawl. Jordan’s nightmare is the 12th tee on Sunday at Augusta. It was cute when the telecasters said that he had conquered his demons during a New Year’s round with his father. The real nightmare occurs with fans and the pin in its typical Sunday position, not a New Year’s Round with friends or in Thursday’s less perilous pin placement.
Jordan had struggled so badly through the front nine on Sunday, that by the time that he reached the 12th tee the cameras were no longer cutting to him live. Hence on a cut away replay, we saw the unfathomable – Jordan didn’t hit the green, Jordan didn’t over compensate, and send the ball 10 yards over the green, NOPE-Jordan went swimming AGAIN! IMPOSSIBLE!!!
I wish golf would allow more typical sports fans on the 12th at Augusta next year. Could you imagine the heckling that he would get next year as he approached the 12th on Sunday?! I want some Philadelphia Eagle, Oakland Raider or New York Yankee Bleacher-esque fans surrounding the 12th. This should be the biggest show of the tournament next year. This should be a bigger event then NFL players arm wrestling in Vegas… How did I not know this event was happening?! Just in case you are out of the loop, earlier this month NFL players competed in an arm wrestling tournament for charity. It will be replayed later this month on CBS, set your DVR now!
The second improbable event of the day. Kuchar’s ace on the 16th. Kuchar capped off one of the best back nines of the tournament with that ace on 16 and gifting the signed ball to a kid with a prime green-side seat. The crowd went crazy, Rory and Matt hi-fived so hard that it may have caused some concern, the roar of “Kuch” could be heard around Augusta. I had some horrible flashbacks to hearing “Kuhn” being groaned by Packers fans for the past six years*. In the end, congratulations to Kuchar and his benefactors. He along with Schwartzel, Casey, and Pieters attempted to make a late run at the green jacket, but were never within three shots of the lead and provided some great side entertainment to the main event taking place in the final grouping.
Now on to the headliner, all day there was one story to watch: Garcia v. Rose! Pieters was the only other golfer outside these two heavyweights that started the day under par and scored under par in the final round. Fowler, Hoffman, and Spieth struggled early to fall out of contention while both Scott and Westwood were stuck in neutral for most of the day. The top rounds of the day came from Kuchar, Pieters, Matsuyama, Stricker, Kaymer, and Casey, whose rounds of 67 & 68 came too little, too late.
Garcia and Rose thrilled audiences on Sunday and did make it into my predicted final round playoff. No, it was not as exciting as Mickelson v. Stenson from last year’s Open Championship, buuuut that may be nearly impossible to top. But the ebbs and flows of Sunday’s final pairing was everything that we could have hoped for in the final day of the Master’s. Sergio had the early momentum with birdies on 1 & 3, as Rose played fairly even keel out of the gate. Things got interesting on the sixth as Rose went on a string of three straight birdies to pull even at -8 going into the turn.
Chances started to look pretty bleak for Garcia after the turn landing back-to-back bogeys on 10 & 11. His title hopes had once again seemed to slip away, maybe he was destined to be the Jim Kelly or Fran Tarkenton of golf. Then, it all changed with a birdie on 14 and an eagle that just barely rolled into the cup on 15 – that thing almost rested on the edge Caddyshack style.
With Rose birdieing 16 and then bogeying 17, we were set for the tournament to be decided on 18, or in a playoff. It looked all but over as Garcia stared down a seven-foot putt for the win, Rose was commiserating with his caddie, we were getting glamour shots of Garcia’s fiance, and then he pushed the putt (it never had a chance). We could have hoped for a longer playoff, but any playoff is great. It was going to take a misstep by Garcia to not win the trip to Butler Cabin after Rose’s errant tee shot ended up in the pin straw with a large Magnolia blocking his line to the green. In the end, Garcia sank his birdie putt to win the playoff hole by two and giving CBS great stock video to use during future telecasts.
All-in-all, it was another great Master’s weekend and everyone should go open up a bottle of Bordeaux (or whatever it is the Spanish drink) to celebrate Garcia’s victory.
Congrats to Sergio and Hope Ya’ll Had Fun,
* = Boz is a biiiiiiiig Bears guy hailing from Chi-town FYI.