2006 Masters

Discussion in 'Golf' started by Don Wassall, Apr 6, 2006.

  1. Don Wassall

    Don Wassall Administrator Staff Member

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    The Masters is one of my favorite sporting events. Augusta National is America's golf course, a national treasure that maintains the standards and traditions that made this nation great.


    This year marks the 20th anniversary of Jack Nicklaus' amazing fourth round charge beginning on the 9th hole that propelled him to victory at the age of 46 before galleries that yelled louder than any at Augusta National before or since. Togolf fans,it's one of those hallowed events, almost akin to dramatic historical events like JFK's assassination and the first moonwalk,where you remember where you were when you first heard of it and then watched it unfold.


    I'll be rooting for Phil Mickelson to win his third major and second in a row (he's the defending '05 PGA champ). If not Phil, Ernie Els has been so close several times and would be a very popular choice if he finally breaks through. After those two I'll root for Sergio Garcia, a great talent with a charismatic personality (oh that's right, only Negroes can have charismatic personalities). But as long as it isn't some fluky long-shot -- no more Todd Hamiltons, Ben Curtises and Shaun Micheels please -- whoever wins it will be great theater as always.
     
  2. Don Wassall

    Don Wassall Administrator Staff Member

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    Well, Tiger is close to the lead with about a round and a half to play. Will everyone wilt in his presence again this year, or will we see some great golf on Sunday and a deserving (non-Tiger) champion emerge? I think Mickelson has a very good chance to win, but it's a great leader board and any of a dozen or more players can win -- unless they are all "intimidated" by Woods yet again. . .
     
  3. Don Wassall

    Don Wassall Administrator Staff Member

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    Way to go, Phil Mickelson! [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG] That's two green jackets and three majors won since '04. And his best days are still ahead of him.He played like the great champion he is today.
     
  4. Poacher

    Poacher Mentor

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    Yes...pulled away from the field! Way to go Phil.
     
  5. Bart

    Bart Hall of Famer

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    Well, your prognosis was correct. Congratulations to Phil who played extremely well, didn't falter or wilt under pressure and won the tournament in convincing fashion. His pairing with Fred Couples was beneficialforboth of them. I like the way he interacts with the officials and fans, a true gentleman. With his infectious smile and lovely family greeting him, he is the personification of golf and a true champion.Edited by: Bart
     
  6. Bart

    Bart Hall of Famer

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    WhenWoods placed the green jacket on Phil it appeared to me that Phil was considerably taller and heavier. I had the impression Phil was shorter than Woods


    [​IMG]
     
  7. Don Wassall

    Don Wassall Administrator Staff Member

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    According to his bio, Phil's 6-2. Of course the same bio says he weighs 190. [​IMG]


    I liked the way he handled himself today. He won fairly comfortably and didn't make a big deal after he closed the deal, acting more like he expected to win and has more up his sleeve where that came from. Man I hope he can; wouldn't the media have a collective stroke if Mickelson surpasses Woods as the pre-eminent player in the majors over the next couple of years! Edited by: Don Wassall
     
  8. michiganblkman

    michiganblkman Newbie

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    Could his victory been sweeter if he had beat Tiger head to head in a pairing or even better, after a few playoff holes?


    This is about as significant as a Vijay Singh victory.
     
  9. Don Wassall

    Don Wassall Administrator Staff Member

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    It might have been a little bit sweeter, but I'm sure having Tiger put the green jacket on him was about as good as it gets for Phil! Otherwise it doesn't matter because Woods wasn't good enough at this Masters to get in the final pairing; Phil was.
     
  10. Bart

    Bart Hall of Famer

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    Sure, players can put a little pressure on each other, but the truth is they play against the course nota rivalas in basketball or football. If Tiger hadn't muffed up so many putts on the back nine he would have had a chance to meet Phil in a playoff. Tiger wilted... Phil didn't.If roles were reversed we would be talking about how Phil couldn't deliver in the clutch and Woods willed his way to victory. All the big names seemed to feel the heat except Phil. Couples had a great opportunity but three putted a gimme. Yahoo.com posted an article stating that Woods has never come from behind to win a major. That is what separates him from the greatness of Jack Nicklaus.
     
  11. sport historian

    sport historian Master

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    I did a yahoo search for Phil Mickelson and found a piece titled, "The Dull Phil Mickelson" at something called deadspin.com. It called Phil a "tanned white guy with a dopey grin." Another piece at SI said that the story was the lower ratings Mickelson got compared to Woods last year.
     
  12. Don Wassall

    Don Wassall Administrator Staff Member

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    The main AP story on the tournament refers to Mickelson as the former "lovable loser." Here's a man who by his early 30s had won over two dozen tournaments and had come close to winning several majors. Only Tiger Woods has more career victories among players younger than 50. The reality is that Phil is a Hall of Fame golfer who is just now hitting his peak years and who has a very good chance of being known as one of the greatest golfers ever by the time his career winds down. Would a black golfer with a similar track record and who was still just 35 becavalierly referred to by the media as a "loser"?
     
  13. Bart

    Bart Hall of Famer

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    Dan Patrick and his side kick Olberwoman were discussing the camaraderie between Mickelson and Couples who encouraged each other on the course. They didn't seem to care for the - fraternization - going on. Gimme a break! The aren't football players on an opposing team. I suppose they'd rather watch Tiger Woods scowling and cursing when things go awry.
     
  14. Don Wassall

    Don Wassall Administrator Staff Member

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    Skip Bayless gives a goodbile-filled presentationof the Caste System party line. Count the number of insults directed at Phil, along with the innumerable genuflecting references to His Tigership:


    http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=bayless/0604 10
    Mickelson Has More to Prove


    By Skip Bayless
    Page 2
    I was there when Kirk Gibson hit his home run, when Dwight Clark made his catch and when Tom Watson made his chip that beat Jack Nicklaus.





    And I'd trade two of the three for this: Tiger vs. Phil in a Masters shootout that goes to a playoff. Just once in my lifetime, I want to see whether Phil Mickelson can stare into the eye of the Tiger and maintain his composure and keep hitting great shots and making great putts and prove once and for all that he's as much guts as gut.






    <DIV =inlinephoto>[​IMG]

    <DIV =photocred>AP Photo/Chris O'Meara
    <DIV =txt style="WIDTH: 275px">Tiger couldn't make a big charge -- so he had to put the green jacket on Mickelson again.


    Please, golf gods, just once let us all see whether Phil can beat Tiger on the final hole of a major championship -- preferably The Masters. Even now, that remains unclear.





    On Sunday, Mickelson won a second Masters that deserved an asterisk.


    * No pressure from Tiger Woods.





    Gut feeling: Tiger lost this Masters a little more than Mickelson won it. But, you're right, history will remember only that Mickelson won with a 7-under 281 ... while it soon will be forgotten that Woods was pretty much an also-ran, tying for third at 4 under.





    Mickelson's final hole was basically a victory stroll. He chatted and chuckled his way up the 18th, finally making a ha-ha bogey.





    * No pressure from Tiger Woods.





    As beautifully and maturely as Mickelson played Sunday, he still hasn't had the opportunity to show he won't turn back into Fearful Phil when the big cat roars. In some majors, Mickelson has run and hidden when Tiger has seized the lead. And twice Tiger has failed to fire as Mickelson has won green jackets.





    No, that's not Phil's fault. But in 2004, when Mickelson ended his 0-for-42 drought in majors with his unforgettable three-inch vertical after his Masters-winning putt dropped, Tiger finished tied for 22nd.





    And last August at Baltusrol, Tiger outrageously opted to fly home on Sunday night after finishing as the PGA's leader in the clubhouse at 2-under. Five players ahead of him by one or two shots had to finish four or more holes on Monday. Tiger later shrugged it off by saying he didn't think all five would come back to him.





    He was right -- and wrong. Mickelson eventually birdied the 18th to win his second major. But you still have to wonder how much the mere sight of Tiger Woods, warming up on the Baltusrol range early Monday morning, anticipating a playoff, would have haunted Mickelson's subconscious.





    Deep down, he's still afraid of Tiger. So are the other members of the so-called "Big Five" -- Vijay Singh, Retief Goosen and Ernie Els.





    It's still the "Big One" until one of the others proves he can take Tiger's best shot and knock him out in the final round. At least Watson and Lee Trevino earned their places in history by beating Nicklaus head-to-head -- eye-to-eye -- in the major-tournament clutch.





    But every major still remains Tiger's to lose.






    <DIV =inlinephoto>[​IMG]

    <DIV =photocred>AP Photo/Rob Carr
    <DIV =txt style="WIDTH: 195px">Would Mickelson have made all those putts with Tiger right behind him? Who knows?


    Mickelson, who ranked No. 1 in Masters driving distance, clearly has as much talent as Tiger. Maybe more. But does he have Tiger's intestinal fortitude?





    Just once, let us find out.





    Oh, did it ever appear late Sunday morning, as the third round was completed, that this would be the Masters -- and the major -- we've all been waiting for. After three rounds, Mickelson led by a shot over Fred Couples (who is not afraid of Tiger), two over Tiger and Singh, and three over Goosen. With Els still lurking and Chad Campbell and Rocco Mediate still in the thick of it, this was shaping up as a classic shootout at Hootie's corral.





    And Tiger spoiled the party by basically not showing up. The charge Mickelson surely dreaded from two groups ahead never came. What a monumental letdown.





    The frustrating irony was that Tiger drove the ball more accurately than he has in two years. No more Tiger "in the" Woods. But for once in his Augusta National lair, his putter bit him.





    "If I had just putted normal," he said, or understated, "I would have given Phil a bit of a battle."





    Translation: If I had dropped a couple, I would have wiped that smile off his face.





    Was Tiger preoccupied by his father's illness? Only Tiger knows. Was he trying too hard to win one more for Earl? Maybe even Tiger doesn't know for sure.





    He said he putted "like a spaz," but that's a highly frustrated overstatement. Early on, his stroke appeared far more solid and confident than it did at last July's U.S. Open, when he couldn't buy a putt. But as he burned one lip after another on Sunday's front side, he began to force the issue -- and Augusta National doesn't take kindly to impatience.





    He three-putted No. 11 and No. 17.





    But the killer misses came on the par 5s, 13 and 15. Those were for course-rocking eagles. Not one time Sunday was Tiger was able to drop the putt that detonated a roar and set off Mickelson's sweat glands like Bushwood's sprinkler system.





    Not once was Tiger Woods able to do something spectacular. Something that might have sent him into an eagle-birdie frenzy. Something that would have popped Mickelson's helium balloon.





    This is what's wrong with the longer and longer, harder and harder back nine at Augusta National: Fewer and fewer players have the length and touch to make the swashbuckling eagles that once made the back nine so wildly winnable and losable. Only one player had highly makeable eagle putts on both par 5s.





    Tiger.





    He tried to will both of them in. Both were hit too hard and slightly off line. Both paid only lip service to an eagle.





    You almost forget that he made two nice comebackers for birdies.





    But not one time on the back nine was Mickelson made to feel any real pressure from Woods -- or playing partner Couples. Mickelson isn't afraid of Couples. Couples is a genuinely nice guy who practices sportsmanship, not gamesmanship. Couples doesn't get angry, doesn't make any sharp remarks to opponents and poses no threat to Mickelson's psyche, which still can be as fragile as an azalea.






    <DIV =inlinephoto>[​IMG]

    <DIV =photocred>AP Photo/Rob Carr
    <DIV =txt style="WIDTH: 195px">Playing with Fred Couples only seemed to help Mickelson.


    Mickelson went on and on about how much fun it was to play with Couples. Of course, it got more and more fun as Couples missed short putts at 2, 3, 11 and 14 -- the final blunder a three-putt that allowed Mickelson to front-run with a three-shot lead.





    Yet the one moment CBS didn't dramatize enough came when Tiger landed a short iron six feet from the front-side flag on 17. One thing about this man: He will not give up. As Tiger began his putting routine, Mickelson pulled the trigger on a six-foot birdie putt on 15.





    Within a three-second span, Mickelson made his, then Tiger rammed his past the hole. Then Tiger missed his par putt. If the results had been reversed, Mickelson would have stayed at 6-under as Tiger roared to 5-under.





    Then maybe Mickelson would have felt some heat. And in the past, that's when he has tried something go-for-broke foolish -- perhaps to give himself an excuse if he failed.





    "I can't help myself sometimes," he used to say. "I'm just a gambler by nature."





    But maybe he has outgrown his feline fear. He made his crucial putts; Tiger missed. He shot 69, Tiger 70.





    Then again, would he have made his if Tiger had kept making his?





    No.





    The gut feeling here is that Mickelson came to Augusta trying to remake his image in anticipation of a Sunday shootout with Tiger. It was jarring Sunday to watch the ExxonMobil commercials in which a short-haired, clean-cut Mickelson and his wife, Amy, appeared at a new math and science teaching academy for kids. The Mickelson playing The Masters had let his hair grow outlaw long in the back, with matching long, scraggly sideburns and chin stubble. Born to be wild?





    ExxonMobil executives had to be horrified.





    Mickelson even wore a black visor and a long-sleeve black rugby-looking shirt on a warm afternoon. Was he ready to show Tiger he can be a mean motor scooter in the clutch?





    Unfortunately, Tiger never gave Phil a chance to kick his asterisk.





    Skip Bayless can be seen Monday through Friday on "Cold Pizza," ESPN2's morning show, and at 4 p.m. ET on ESPN's "1st &amp; 10." His column appears twice a week on Page 2. You can e-mail Skip here.

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    Edited by: Don Wassall
     
  15. Kaptain

    Kaptain Master

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    I guess it's Phils fault that Tiger choked.
     
  16. JD074

    JD074 Master

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    Oh no Bart, don't you know, Phil's a phony. The media told me so![​IMG]
     
  17. Bart

    Bart Hall of Famer

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    Don, this piece by Bayless is so damn typical of Caste system writers. It absolutely kills Baseless that Phil won the Masters handily, beating all comersincluding Tiger Woods, who blinked under pressure.


    Clueless: On Sunday, Mickelson won a second Masters that deserved an asterisk.


    * No pressure from Tiger Woods.





    Gut feeling: Tiger lost this Masters a little more than Mickelson won it.


    What total BS! I keep reading how Tiger's putter let him down. What.. does his putter have a life of it's own? Is it an animated object not under the influence of Tiger? Perhaps it is Woods who is beginning to to be afraid of Mickelson. Tiger missedcritical shots under pressure... Phil nailed them.


    Witless: The frustrating irony was that Tiger drove the ball more accurately than he has in two years. No more Tiger "in the" Woods. But for once in his Augusta National lair, his putter bit him.





    "If I had just putted normal," he said, or understated, "I would have given Phil a bit of a battle."





    Translation: If I had dropped a couple, I would have wiped that smile off his face.


    Ahh, now I understand why they hate the Mickelson smile.
     
  18. Bart

    Bart Hall of Famer

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    Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson are both listed as being 6'2" tall. After viewing several photo's from the Master's tourney it appears to me Phil has got to be 6'4" orbetter. Or maybe Tiger is only 6'. I can understand nowwhy Phil is able to hit the ball so far.


    [​IMG]
     
  19. Don Wassall

    Don Wassall Administrator Staff Member

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    Tiger's putting is wayover-rated. His driving can be poor too, but he hits it so far that he can almost always recover and hit the green with an iron shot.


    I readily concede that he can often be an excellent pressure putter -- he is unquestionably topsamong the proswhen it comes to making important par putts. In fact, thebest part of his game is that he is a tremendous grinder. That's rarely acknowledged in the constant media magnification of his great shots. But outside of pressure putts(and he failed miserably even at them on Sunday) he is an average putter, andat timesjust plain bad.
     
  20. michiganblkman

    michiganblkman Newbie

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    Why is Tiger even mentioned? Didn't Vijay also come in third as well? Where is the mentioning of him?


    Would Tiger even be an issue if Goosen or Els had won? I don' think it would be.


    There wasnt an issue when Beem and Furyk won.


    I think the golf/sports world needs a rivalry and Tiger vs. Phil had been annoited as such.


    Another question for me is, why not Phil vs. Vijay, Goosen vs. Els?





    Edited by: michiganblkman
     
  21. jaxvid

    jaxvid Hall of Famer

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    Interesting point. VJ is often ignored as well, due to Tigermania. A good case can be made that he is the best golfer out of the three. I don't remember him ever having a slump. And he criticized women playing on the men's tour which took some balls too.

    Els hasn't dominated a big tournament in a while. With his talent that is a shame.
     

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