Monday, April 15, 2013

Golf Masters 2013: Never A Dull Moment At Augusta

A good-sized proportion of golf's fans only turn out when Tiger Woods is involved. A huge proportion of golf's doesn't particularly care to hear names like Adam Scott and Angel Cabrera. However, after another four days of drama and excitement at the Augusta Masters, there should be no doubt that there is a lot more to golf than 'Tiger'.

The 2013 Masters was severely threatened by controversy. For much of the tournament it looked like it would be remembered for a two-shot penalty handed to Woods and whether he should have been disqualified, or for a slow shot penalty handed down to 14-year old Tianlang Guan.

In the end seemingly like every other Masters, the 2013 edition made history. Adam Scott chased down long-time leader Cabrera on the final day. The tournament would finally be decided on the second hole of the playoff with Scott sinking a fantastic 12-foot clutch put to secure victory.

Scott's victory made him the first Australian winner at the Masters in its 77-year history. It ended the torment for Australian golf at this competition and gave Scott his first major championship. Scott had endured agony last year at the Open Championship. He led entering the final four holes, but he struck a bogey on all four of those holes being caught and overtaken by Ernie Els.

The dramatic finish in the near dark on a damp and rainy Sunday wiped away all the memories of a difficult and at times uninspiring golf tournament. Scott's emotional speech showed clearly just how much the tournament meant to him as an Australian winner and also as a first time major championship winner.

So much discussion in golf today centres around Woods and whether he can move up from his current 14 major titles to overtake Jack Nicklaus and his record 18 majors. That discussion sometimes clouds the tremendous difficulty that there is in winning just one major title.

There are a lot of very good golfers on the circuit every single year and yet only 44 have won more than one major championship. It isn't easy to win a major championship and it was pretty clear that Scott understood that as he put on his first green jacket.

Augusta is a course that consistently inspires the most exciting golf for television even if many of the participants find it frustrating. The greens are deceptively uneven and treacherous and frequently prove too much to handle for golfers in clutch situations. It's extremely unsurprising that it is a course that seems to have inspired more final day collapses than any other. The victim this year was Brandt Snedeker who struck a three-over-par on the final day. Snedeker started the day firmly in contention and is generally considered to be one of the stronger putters on the PGA tour, but he offered the perfect example of a golfer befuddled by Augusta's greens and rattled by the stature of the competition.

Just about every golfer who competed at the 2013 Masters has their story-line. Just about every day threw up some of the most remarkable golf that will be displayed this season. The focus on Tiger Woods isn't going anywhere for golf. However, the past weekend's 2013 Masters showed that the sport doesn't need one of its legends to be successful.

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