Argentinas Angel Cabrera defeated Kenny Perry and Chad Campbell in a playoff Sunday at the Masters, winning with a simple two putt for par at the second playoff hole, ending a thrilling day of unexpected twists and turns.
Heres a look at some of the key turning points:
Cabreras play at the first playoff hole wont go down as textbook closing, but hell remember the par he made there to advance as one of the best of his career.
After pushing a poor tee shot into the trees along the 18th fairway, he got one of the most fateful bounces in Masters history. Trying to hook his second shot around a tree blocking his path to the green, Cabrera loudly cracked his second shot off another tree, only to discover that his ball kicked left and out into the fairway. His ball could have gone anywhere, including behind another tree or deeper into the tree line. Instead, Cabrera will remember the bounce the same way Fred Couples remembers how his tee shot at the 12th hole inexplicably clung on the bank above Raes Creek in the final round when he won in 92. Cabrera wedged his third shot to 6 feet and made the putt to advance to the second playoff hole.
After hitting a fabulous 8-iron to six inches at the 16th hole to make birdie and take a two-shot lead, Perry knew the Masters was his to win or lose. I lost this tournament, Perry said. You can debate Perrys decision to hit driver at the 72nd hole with a one-shot lead, especially after he knocked it into a fairway bunker to set up a closing bogey, but Perry started unraveling at the 17th tee. He hit a series of shaky shots all the way home and into the playoff. The shot that hurt him most, though, was the bump-and-run chip shot he clumsily scooted all the way through the green at No. 17. He says he should have tried to spin a lob wedge instead of playing the bump. The poor chip set up the bogey-bogey finish.
I skulled that shot on 17, Perry told the Golf Channel. I get under the gun and my right hand gets away from me, and I skulled it.
About that decision to hit driver at the 72nd hole, Perry is one of the best drivers in the game. Its hard to fault him for not putting away a club that gives him such an advantage, a club that worked so magnificently all week, but he did hit that shaky tee shot at the 17th. And, he did watch Cabrera, another terrific long driver, pass on driver there and knock a 3-wood short of the fairway bunker.
Given Perrys faith in his driver, though, its a debatable point.
Campbell bogeyed the 18th hole three of the five times he played it Masters week, but the missed birdie chance at the 72nd hole may haunt him most. Campbell had an 18-foot birdie chance there that could have won him his first major, but he pushed it right. A little while later, on the first playoff hole, Campbell found himself in prime position in the 18th fairway with a 7-iron in hand. After pushing his approach right and into the greenside bunker, he missed a 5-foot putt that would have kept him in the playoff. His putter also failed him at the 16th, where he missed a 5-footer for birdie.
Its Campbells second runner-up finish in a major. In his other second-place finish, he watched Shaun Micheel beat him with a spectacular 7-iron to within three inches at the final hole of the 2003 PGA Championship at Oak Hill.
I hit a good shot in there (at the PGA Championship), and I just got beat by a better shot, Campbell said. And today, I kind of blew it myself. I hit bad shots.
Seven down at days start, Mickelson shot a spectacular front-nine 30 to get within one shot of the lead, only to come home in 37.
Mickelson will dream of what might have been if he could take back three bad passes. If he could do that, he might be remembered for equaling the best final round in major championship history. Take back the 9-iron he hit into Raes Creek to make double bogey at the 12th, the 4-foot putt for eagle he missed at the 15th and the 5-footer for birdie at the 17th and Mickelson might be remembered with Johnny Miller for winning a major with final round 63.
After making birdies at Nos. 13, 15 and 16 in an admirable fight to get himself in contention, Woods uncharacteristically stumbled home. He hit a poor chip 15 feet past the hole at the 17th to set up bogey there, then pushed his tee shot right in the trees at the 18th, setting up what will be remembered as his most human moment in a major. Trying to slice a shot around a tree, he cracked the shot off another tree and watched his ball ricochet deeper into the tree line to set up back-to-back closing bogeys.