Like most avid golfers, I love watching the Masters, I have done for nearly 40 years and to me it signifies the start of the new golfing season.It always comes up with spectacular scenery and memorable moments in golf, it produces moments of pure genius and drama, but this year there were a couple of other elements added into the mix.
Outstanding achievement had to be that of young Guan Tianlang qualifying to play in the Masters, trumped by the fact that he actually made the cut and finished all four rounds at just 12 over par. It is hard to put into words just how fantastic this is and what an inspiration this should be to all young golfers around the world.
Adam Scott winning his first green jacket and the first winner for Australia despite his fellow countrymen coming so very close in the past. I bet he got a text from 3 time runner up, Greg Norman before he’d even got back to the clubhouse..
Freddy Couples, Angel Cabrera, Sandy Lyle and Bernhard Langer had fantastic performances along with Henrik Stenson and Vijay Singh. I think these guys get such a good feeling when they drive back up Magnolia Lane the years drop off them and they’re transported right back to their glory days.
Oh boy, the commentary teams. Did you know that Freddy Couples is 53? Do you know how precise you have to be around Augusta? And did you ever get the idea that the greens were fast? Every player, every hole, every putt we were being told just how tricky it was and how fast the greens were. I nearly switched to the silence of the red button, but thankfully the rain started and the the speed of the greens faded from commentary. Sure the greens have big slopes and they’re cut short, the ball breaks and runs, but not dramatically more than any other Tour event. it was big news in the 70′s and 80′s when the course had a reputation for fast greens and an immaculately maintained course, but other courses have caught up with these high standards, so GET OVER IT, you guys in the studio.
Long putters, get them outta the game. When square box grooves came along it was said by the great jack Nicklaus that it was turning ‘chumps into champs’. Adam Scott is a fantastic player, it’s such a shame he won using one of these implements. I also felt saddened to see Tianlang using one as well, anchors away and we’ll see how every gets on then.
The awful decision to load a 1 stroke penalty onto the youngest player in Masters history. John Paramor or ‘Big John’ as he’s known gave the news to Guan Tianlang on the 17th and the young man then had to wait all day to see if he made the cut. Fortunately he was right on the line and got to play the weekend, but if I had been in his shoes I would have been devastated by this gross act of unfairness. Trying to make an example to other players by using a junior amateur playing is despicable in my opinion and shame on the committee for thinking this might be a good idea.
To put this in context, here’s a small piece from the Los Angeles Times blog…
‘Some perspective here. Slow-play penalties have been nearly nonexistent in the United States. At a dinner of European officials here Tuesday night, one cited a startling statistic: Since 1997, he said, there have been 22 one-stroke assessments on the European tour and its challenger affiliate; on the parallel U.S. tours, there have been zero’.
If that wasn’t bad enough, there’s Tiger taking an illegal drop and dodging disqualification through a new rule 33.7. Oh this just gets better, you put a ball back into play illegally, you drop it somewhere where you not meant to and you admit you did it to gain an advantage by having a better approach and distance and you’ll not be dq’d. Now why should this be? Sponsorship, TV audience numbers, Tiger appeal? Would young Tianlang have been afforded the same leniency? All good questions, all up for debate, but this should never have come about, in my humble opinion a weak committee ruling said they didn’t notice the infringement until after the card was signed and accepted. Pah!
With all that said, I would have thought much, much more of Mr Woods if he’d withdrawn from the tournament. I dread to think of what would have happened if he’d gone on to win it, if he then went on to change golf history by beating Jack Nicklaus’s majors record.
Golf is a game of integrity, honesty and self-governance Mr Woods, so no more creating your own rules or moving massive rocks in the desert, one can only guess what the rest of the guys on tour are thinking.
On to the Open at Muirfield.