STILL MAJESTIC - MICKELSON WINS BACK TO BACK MAJORS
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.
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
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
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