Sunday, April 12, 2009

Sunday at The Masters

Like a fine timepiece, The Masters golf tournament returned again in April to thrill golf fans and in the end, to award Angel Cabrera a green jacket as the 2009 Masters Champion. arrived early in the morning to stake out a coveted spot on the 16th hole, before moving over to the grandstands at hole number five to greet the first players of the day, K. Sutherland and M. Weir. Following them were Jimenez, Mediate, Curtis, Romero and the rest of the field. The sun bore down hot and the breeze of the previous two days subsided, leaving the singing birds to be heard clearly among the floral woods of Augusta National. D.J. Trahan made a statement in electric orange pants, and the Clemson faithful were enthusisatic - including Coach Brad Scott and son Jeff enjoying a bit of the Masters the day following the Clemson spring game. Robert Allenby of Australia drews cheers from some "mates" visiting from Down Under, and the International flair of the gallery was everywhere with Koreans, Japanese and Europeans present. Greenside at hole number 2, walking along hole number 11, and lunching at Amen corner (on a Masters club and sweet tea) were some of the other pursuits of the day.
Attending The Masters as a youth in my Izod windbreaker;
my visor was signed by Jack Nicklaus that day
The 2009 Masters will not go down as on of the greatest, but it was oh so close! A three-man playoff will make a great entry on the record books at Augusta, and all hail Cabrera for hanging in there when all others faltered, but the real drama occurred when the pairing of Woods and Mickelson completed the 16th hole. The front nine for Mickelson was a dream as he birdied six holes, and the cheers were coming so fast and furious that time seemed to stand still. Then on the back nine Mickelson stayed steady but Tiger suddenly was making birdies and playing to win. After Woods birdied hole number 16 he stood at 10 under par, tied with Mickelson and two strokes behind K. Perry. At that moment, most people felt that the electric twosome would finish with more birdies and that Perry, Cabrera and C. Campbell might fall back to them, giving them an improbable clubhouse lead once they finished up at 18. But fate had a different plan as Tiger drove his ball into the Eisenhower tree at 17 and then had to settle for bogey, breaking his momentum and crushing any hopes of a spectacular finish. Mickelson still had hope but a bogey at number 18 served to let the remaining air out of the appreciative galleries that hoped these two past champions could produce some Sunday magic. 
Katayama played well (Shingo birdied 16 and rallied his countrymen who responded with "Shingo, Shingo") before finishing in fourth place at 10 under par, but the 2009 Masters winner eventually came from the final pairing - which is a tradition, like everything else at Augusta, where past winners have come from the final pairing something like 19 out of the past 20 times. Angel Cabrera of Argentina was a stoic participant, has excelled in the game of golf and will make a great addition to the "club" at Augusta National. Somehow, I feel thanks must be offered to everyone who helped to present the Masters in 2009 - it was quite a tournament!

To view a blog entry about Saturday at the 2009 Masters click here.

Photo By Jeff Dennis: The gift shop at Augusta National is chocked full of special mementos for patrons to purchase and cherish, alongside the golfing memories that come courtesy of The Masters.

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