On Golf Today

April 9, 2006

MASTERS STILL MAJESTIC - MICKELSON WINS BACK TO BACK MAJORS

By Tom Finley

If you love golf you had to like today at The Masters. Sunday was a smorgasbord of great golfing delights. It all started at 7:45 AM this morning in the cold and dew when the third round was restarted and then lasted through 31 holes until well after 7:00 PM when a winner was finally crowned. It was a day when many of the world's great golfers came into the middle of the action. Some faded, others hung tight. In the end, Phil "Lefty" Mickelson played better and won at seven under par, two better than the runner-up Tim Clark of South Africa. Throughout the day those in contention within a shot or two of first included Clark, Chad Campbell, Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Retief Goosen, Fred Couples, Darren Clarke, Jose Maria Olazabal and a few others. A number of golfers were in position to go for the championship today but Mickelson prevailed.

It was an exciting day made so by Jose Maria Olazabal's charge on the last 18 as he pieced together a six under, 66, the best round of the week to finally post a -4 for the week as leader in the clubhouse about 35 to 45 minutes ahead of the last group. Tiger Woods also made a run for the lead but could not make the putts he needed on the back side of the afternoon round. Lefty, on the other hand, kept making the putts he needed. He made four putts for birdie and saved several pars with 5 to 8 foot putts. He didn't bogey a hole until 18 when he approached the green with a three shot lead knowing he had his third major in the bag.

In addition to Lefty moving forward in his career with his third major, there was another winner today. That was Hootie Johnson and those at Augusta National who believed the course needed lengthening. Many of the golfers felt they had gone too far in toughening the course. Well, let me say with great joy that Augusta National is still the best course among the major golf tournament venues. The Masters is still magical, still majestic. As hard as Hootie tried, even he couldn't ruin the competitiveness of this great course designed in the early 1930's by Alister McKenzie and Bobby Jones. The course played extremely well today relinquishing a number of birdies and a few eagles down the back side but also creating a few bogies, doubles plus a 10 on the par three, 12th.

Today all boiled down to putting which is the way it usually turns out. Tiger couldn't make those putts he needed for eagle at 13 and 15 for the comeback. Olazabal three putted at 16 to silence his attack on the leaders. Couples struggled with the putter and especially at 14 when he three putted for bogey. Tim Clark kept making putts to sneak back into contention and then to finish second. Lefty didn't falter. He kept making the putts that he had to make to win. He got up and down from off the green on several holes with one putts. He made the makeable birdie putts. It all came down to the flat club.

Now Mickelson has  won back to back majors, back to back PGA Tournaments and is on his way to second or third in the world from his fourth place ranking this week. We definitely have a rivalry now in American golf. I asked the question on several occasions on this site if Lefty could compete with Tiger, Now we know that he can. (Click on DO WE HAVE A GREAT AMERICAN RIVALRY IN GOLF) This will be exciting to watch in the months and years ahead.

 

About Us

Tom Finley is a golf junkie. He just can't get enough. The coordinating producer and lead writer of FinleyonGolf.com designed this site as a place for golf junkies to hang out in cyber space. He is the author of two books on golf, Golf, In So Many Words - The 257 Most Essential Things to Know About Golf, Publish America, Baltimore, MD, 2004 and Golf in the Upstate - Since 1895, Olde Sport Publishing, Greenville, SC, 1999. In addition to writing about golf and being a golf historian Tom has also had a long career in business management. He is a husband and father and devotes a great deal of his spare time to the game of golf. He plays the game as an amateur and has spent over 50 years studying this game and from almost every angle and aspect. He lives in Greenville, SC and is a proud graduate of Clemson University. Tom is hopeful that you will pick this as a favorite site, read the articles posted and participate by communicating your ideas about golf. See the section entitled “Topics”. Contact us by email at tom@finleyongolf.com

 

Tom Finley - Businessman, Golf Writer,

and Historian.

Jeff Macfie is our technical director. He is also a golf junkie as well as a computer guru. He is immensely talented and has helped a lot of people like us to get online. He designed and set up the site which allowed Tom Finley to maintain and update the site with relative ease. Jeff can hit a golf ball about 300 yards and can play with anyone. He is a devoted husband and father of three and also lives in Greenville, SC. Jeff is also a graduate of Clemson University. We are so proud he is on our team.

 

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