As the grass cuttings settle on another enthralling Masters and Aussies all around the world wake up in a pile of empty tinnies, writer’s across the globe are digesting the events of the past four days and no doubt, like me wondering where to start…
Congratulations Adam Scott. Commiserations Angel Cabrera, we’re underway with the most important bit and by far the most positive. Neither man deserved to walk away Green jacketless, in fact the hopeless romantic in me was secretly wishing for bad light to stop play and a tie be declared. The mercenary in me, however was willing every single shot from the Australian into the hole having backed him from the start at 28-1! Thank you Adam!
The play-off was an enthralling exhibition of skill, talent and determination but above all, wonderful sportsmanship with both players acknowledging each others brilliance. In the end, Scott’s 15-foot birdie putt found the bottom of the cup courtesy of his soon to be outlawed (well hopefully!) anchored wand. So, Adam slipped into the green jacket and all is dandy once more with the world of golf. Great news… roll on Muirfield.*
But oh how different the outcome could’ve been and certainly, in my view to the detriment of a game that prides itself on integrity, honour and fair play.
Not one but two Tournament Committee rulings cast a very dark cloud over the Azaleas of Augusta National on days two and three and if Tiger Woods had don the Green Jacket a cumulonimbus would’ve hung over the game forever.
First up, the outrageous one stroke penalty handed out to teenage sensation Guan Tianlang for slow play which very nearly resulted in the unfortunate lad missing the halfway cut… what a farce! Has anyone watched the PGA Tour recently?! Messrs. Crane, Bradley, Nah, even Jason Day on Sunday was on occasion’s pedestrian at best. The pace of play is pathetic worldwide, yet not one player has been penalised a single shot on the PGA Tour in 17 years^ – three more years than Guan himself has been alive!! I have to say, the Chinese sensation took the decision incredibly well and thankfully he did play at the weekend. When asked about the decision, Tiger Woods, commented “Rules are rules”. Interesting! Playing partner and one of golf’s true gentlemen – Ben Crenshaw summed up
the decision perfectly in one word “diabolical”.
Decision two… #Tigergate or whatever you want to call it has the golf world in a bemused state of flux and by all accounts from my eyes and ears on the ground in Georgia, somewhat split which astonishes me. Why? Don’t switch off just yet, I am not about to recite the rules – you can find these at www.randa.org if you are really bored. The simple fact is Tiger Woods broke a rule (knowingly or unknowingly – only he knows), signed for the wrong score and should’ve been disqualified. End of debate. He even admitted it to the world on live TV! He was spared disqualification by the Tournament Committee courtesy of Rule 33 that was introduced/tweaked (I know not, nor care) to avoid a ridiculous scenario similar to that of Padraig Harrington in Abu Dhabi where some saddo viewer with nothing better to do called up Sky telling them the Irishman’s ball had moved half a dimple which he had no way of knowing and certainly didn’t gain a competitive
advantage. The rule is, at best ambiguous and includes the words “exceptional individual cases” but surely, in the long term interest of the game’s core values Woods should’ve been heading to the airport, not the first tee on Saturday.
Woods is of course an “exceptional individual case”. Seriously, all you wannabe pro’s out there, rewind to ‘the incident’. No one was getting anywhere near to that pin on the 15th on Friday. Tiger all but holed it for a three. Instead, having seen his near perfect wedge clatter into the flag, Nike one sunk in the pond he had the strength of mind and extraordinary talent to go back two yards, yes, two yards to avoid a similar fate, knock it stiff and still make a bogey six!! At the time, I thought this was a defining moment in the tournament and he would go on to collect that elusive 15th major championship. Perhaps Augusta’s golfing gods, unlike the tournament committee had the games best interests at heart (putting commercial deals aside of course) and had already measured up Adam Scott for a richly deserved first green jacket.
So for some advice, next time you tee it up in the monthly medal or Club Championship, announce on the first that you are an “exceptional individual case”, you never know, the club committee may well take pity on you, should you happen to sign for the wrong score!
Echoing the words of Augusta National’s starter.. Lets play some golf…
*I know the US Open is up next but lets be honest after last years farcical setup of a wonderful golf course, do we really want to watch the worlds best players be all but asked to putt through windmills to win a major? I don’t.
^ Unverified fact
Career earnings as a PGA
Professional of £328.75 were never quite going to make the grade but my
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