Shed No Tears

RSS

The forward spin is going to be all over the map. The Masters has a way of doing that. It answers questions. And raises even more.
 
Like how good is Mike Weir? The champion of the 67th Masters is that good. He shot a bogey-free 68 Sunday in Augusta and beat Len Mattiace in a one-hole sudden death playoff.
 
He is the first Canadian to win a major championship. He is the first left-hander to win a major championship on his own continent.
 
No longer will he be remembered as the guy who shot 80 in the final group of the 1999 PGA Championship on Sunday at Medinah near Chicago when paired with Tiger Woods. He will no longer be remembered as the guy with the 75.33 scoring average in the final round at Augusta.
 
He is the Masters champion. Green jacket size: 40 regular.
 
'I was really just a summer golfer,' said Weir, who grew up next to Lake Huron rooting for the Detroit Red Wings. Then he went to Brigham Young and got serious about the game. Then he won two tournaments early in 2003. Then he won the Masters.
 
The emotional Mattiace broke down into tears after the playoff, but it wasn't because he lost. It was because he needed the release. That's the way he is. He broke through last year after more than 200 starts without a victory on the PGA Tour and won twice.
 
Len Mattiace'Len's at peace with himself,' said his agent, Michael Huyghue, late Sunday. He's also earning approximately $1.5 million a year off the golf course. 'He's very marketable,' Huyghue said. And now he has shot 65 in the final round at Augusta National and finished second at the Masters. Shed no tears for Len Mattiace.
 
But what of Tiger Woods? He hit a monster long iron into the par-5 second and appeared ready to cut deeply into the four-shot deficit he faced at the start of the final round.
 
Then he made a horrific double bogey on the third hole when he let his caddie, Steve Williams, talk him into hitting driver on a hole that is a long iron and a wedge for most of the field. Then he bogeyed No. 4 and 7 and 8. And, just like that, he disappeared from the leaderboard.
 
The final damage was a final-round 75 and nagging questions that now surround how healthy his left knee is and why he has failed miserably in the final round of each of his last two tournaments.
 
He, too, will be back. Shed no tears for Tiger Woods.
 
Phil MickelsonOr for Phil Mickelson. He is a happy family man. But he still hasn't won a major championship. He shot 68 Sunday and finished third at the Masters for the third straight year. But he failed to cash in on one of those rare opportunities: a major championship without Woods in contention on the final nine Sunday.
 
'You can't look at success in winning or losing terms,' Mickelson said. Some of his fellow pros refer to this as 'Philspeak.' The plain fact is, Mickelson won't get many opportunities like this when Tiger is off the boil.
 
Finally, there was the Martha Burk-Hootie Johnson sideshow last week. Call it a draw. Johnson baffled the assembled press corps Wednesday with references to 'sewing circles' and the 'junior league.' Burk found out her cause plays out better on the pages of the New York Times than it does on the streets and playing field of Augusta, Ga.