Well, we pretty much called that one spot on:
- We told you an old-timer would make a run at the title before falling away: Check -Fred Couples.
- We told you Tiger Woods would be the man to watch: Check- For many reasons.
- We told you a young whippersnapper would make an audacious attempt to conquer Augusta: Check – Tianlang Guan.
- We told you another whippersnapper would be hyped and never threaten the leaderboard: Check – Matteo Mannasero
- We told you Adam Scott had a great chance of winning his first Major: Check – He won.
- We told you to expect Phil Mickelson in a green jacket on Sunday: Check – He wore one of his old ones to the after-party.
Now, even the guys who direct golf comedies like Caddyshack or Happy Gilmore know to draw the line somewhere:
“I was thinking we could have Bill Murray using explosives to kill golf course gophers? “Sure!”
“I was thinking we’d have Adam Sandler as an ex-hockey player who can hit a running drive over 400 yards and score a hole-in-one on a Par 4? “Why not!?”
“I was thinking this story could feature a 14-year-old Chinese amateur, making the cut in the World’s toughest Major? “ “Uh, step in to our office, son. We’re not sure you have what it takes to write scripts.”
Tianlang Guan’s run at The Masters was indeed stranger than fiction. What was even more impressive was that Guan had the good sense to back up his good play with a nice splash of controversy. That’s something the pros know you should do! And sure enough, no sooner was the dust settling on Guan’s penalty stroke for slow play (Guan in 60 seconds he wasn’t!) then Tiger Woods was proving once again why he is the past master at The Masters. Even when Tiger’s not winning, he’s always where the story is.
No need for a recap of the penalty drama. The topic was hotly debated by the experts and the ordinary punters at Augusta on Saturday afternoon. Everybody had an opinion on whether Tiger should stay or go. What if he were to win after surviving potential disqualification? Even if he were to finish within two strokes of the winner, people would say he would have won without the penalty, thus tarnishing the win for the champion. And if he finished 4 strokes down, people would say that he lost strokes by playing too aggressively in order to make up for the two dropped shots. And if he lost by ten strokes then people would say that he imploded from the speculation surrounding the whole episode. People were saying lots of things.
So, would another player have been disqualified? Almost certainly. But a Masters without Tiger is like Formula 1 without Ferrari or Baseball without the Yankees. It just can’t happen.
In the end, it was fitting that Tiger’s roar was muted somewhat on the final day by the events as they unfolded. Simple. Tiger played well, but others played better. It wasn’t to be Jason’s Day, but the tabloid sports journalists sharpened their pencils and practised their puns anyway. Would the morning papers be reading: “GREAT SCOTT!” or “ABRA-CABRERA!” Thankfully (for the tournament’s sake), Cabrera and Scott provided a great display of golf over the last few regulation holes to ensure journalists would put TigerGate to bed…or at least they wouldn’t be using the term ‘Tigergate’.
The quality of their golf improved in the two sudden-death play-off holes and the golf was only bettered by the good-natured camaraderie displayed by both men. At one point, the event became so good-natured that one fully expected Cabrera and Scott to declare each other the winner, before tearing the Green Jacket in half and doing a freeze framed Hi 5 as 80s power rock started blaring.
In the end, Scott prevailed and we got the Masters result that everyone deserved. A new winner, a commendable battle by the runner-up, some new faces, more than a dash of controversy and the plot for Drill Guru’s first golf movie.