Masters: Amazing tournament for Phil & Tiger
The Masters is not my favorite golf major — I’ll take the Opens (U.S. and British) every time — but give Augusta this. It almost always delivers in drama and storylines.
And it did so this time, with a great champion (Phil Mickelson) and a fallen idol (Tiger Woods). A couple of leftovers from the Masters.
1. It’s about time we acknowledged Mickelson as one of the all-time greats. He’s now got four major titles, and plenty of time left (Mickelson is 39) to win more. Only 18 golfers have won more than four majors, and three of them were from a century or more ago. So Mickelson is on the verge of becoming one of the 15 best golfers of all time. Mickelson is one major shy of Byron Nelson, and no one sits around talking about Byron Nelson’s disappointing career.
It’s a common theory that Tiger hasn’t faced the epic competition that Jack Nicklaus went against. Nicklaus faced Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Lee Trevino and Tom Watson, all in their primes.
I don’t know if I buy it. The same argument admits that the overall talent pool is much deeper today, that as many as 100 guys could win any given major today. But if people like Michael Campbell and Zach Johnson are winning majors today, that’s taking trophies away from Mickelson and Ernie Els. Give Mickelson and Els a couple more majors, and they’re in the Palmer/Watson/Trevno class. Watson won eight majors, Palmer seven and Trevino six.
2. The 2010 Masters was a tribute to the majestic greatness of … Tiger Woods.
Look at it this way. Mickelson on Sunday played a glorious final round. No bogey. Five birdies. Tremendous, courageous shots. Pristine putting. Rock solid the whole way. Commandeered the tournament early on the back nine and won going away.
He shot 67.
Tiger Woods played all over the place. Hit it into the pine trees all day. Skied a couple of drives. Totally off kilter on his chips. Putted horribly, by his standards.
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