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April 11, 2010 - Al Stephenson
The 2010 Masters is now history and what a tournament it was. Augusta National was pretty benign, but some of the shots were amazing. Let's take a look at some of the highlights.
The week started with a humbled Tiger Woods meeting the media on Monday promising to turn over a new leaf. He seemed relaxed, but serious about becoming a better person.
The par-3 tourney on Wednesday, unique to the Masters, might have been the biggest highlight of the week. If you saw Arnie drop that putt on #9 from the top of the green - well that was cool. The chagrined look on the face of Jim Furyk when he aced that same final hole was classic. Normally a hole-in-one is celebrated, but on #9 the kids, who wear caddy uniforms, get to putt out. Furyk's son didn't get that chance, and you could tell it hurt dad.
The opening round found the crowd very supportive of Tiger and he smiled often and conversed with his playing partners. A new and better Tiger? It would appear so. The big name at the top of the leaderboard for most of Day 1 was 60-year-old Tom Watson. After his near miss in the British Open last year he had a great first round at Augusta. Though the magic didn't continue, he did make the cut. One of the game's great ambassadors, it was neat to see him play so well.
The number of eagles carded in this tournament almost has to be a record. Phil Mickelson's back to back efforts, nearly followed by a third straight, was riveting golf. Watching Fred Couples play so well at 50 was an inspiration to most of us older duffers.
The touching scene of Phil and Amy Mickelson hugging behind the 18th green after Lefty's win was tear inducing. Amy, as well as Phil's mother, is battling breast cancer. The victory was a very popular one especially considering the circumstances.
If there was a negative for the week, it might have been the interview with Tiger after he finished -11 in a tie for fourth. He was asked about the negative outbursts he had on the course following his mild manner on Thursday, something he said Monday he was going to try to control.
Tiger downplayed that and came across as a little arrogant. He thought the media might be making too big a deal about his behavior on the course. I agree with him, but then again it was Tiger that brought up the fact that he needed to control his emotions a little better not the media.
The view from my seat suggests that Tiger will not be scrutinized as closely as time goes on. I don't know if too many people were all that concerned about his on course behavior. Not everybody can be "aw shucks" like Phil, relaxed and poised like Freddy, or "likably crazy" like Boo Weekly. On course is not Tiger's major issue.
It would be in the best interests of his family and we all would feel better if he becomes a better person off the course.
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