Hooks Cuts from Augusta


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AUGUSTA, Ga. ' After Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson finished I was spent. I had to regroup and refocus and remember that there was still a Masters to be won out there.

Here are my Hooks & Cuts from Sunday at Augusta:

  • Phil and Tiger pushed it to Jack-in-86 levels, but when Perry faltered it felt like Norman in 99. A good man won, in both cases, but the sentimental choice fell short.
  • Angel Cabrera joins Sarazen, Snead, Hogan and Nicklaus as the only men to have won majors at both Oakmont and Augusta National. Does that change your view of Angel?
  • The Tiger-Phil soundtrack was Beethovens Fifth for 16 holes. It was famous and about to be played for 100 years. And then it went Vanilla Ice the last two holes.
  • Cabrera shanks a ball at eight, then hits a tree at 18 and still wins. He never compounded the errors, though, did he?
  • We heard the roar for Tigers eagle at eight a couple miles away at Augusta Country Club. Seriously. Tiger at eight, Phil at seven, Phil at 15, Tiger at 16. It didnt stop. And then it did.
  • Billy Paynes greatest achievement previously was bringing the Olympic Games to Atlanta. It may now well be bringing the Masters back in all its glory. With help from Mother Nature. And from Tiger, Phil, Kenny Perry, Chad Campbell and Cabrera.
  • We talk a lot about Amen Corner and about 13 and 15. Nos. 17 and 18 get overlooked, by press and patrons, not by players. Those two holes ruined hopes this week.
  • How do you look at Sunday and pick at Phil? How are we back at that place again? He doesnt deserve it after 67 and one of the greatest iron displays in Masters history. But you cant help but ask, how do you rinse it at 12, miss it at 15 and again at 17?
  • Feel for Chad Campbell. Hell be forgotten in all this.
  • Excruciating moments everywhere. One Ill recall: David Feherty with Phil putting for eagle at 15 says simply, This is to tie for the lead. And then the moan. Birdies arent generally painful, but Phils at 15 sure was.
  • The 12th, ironically enough, sits at the lowest point of Augusta National.
  • Tiger made some tough par putts at four, five, nine and 10. He didnt win, but Lord he fights.
  • Phil never looked better. More stylish. More defined. More confident. And then at 12 and 15 more like the Phil youd sworn was but a memory.
  • Sergio Garcia said he doesnt like Augusta National. Too much of a guessing game. Mud on the ball even when its dry. Padraig Harringtons response? Im baffled, Harrington said, by the comments.
  • Sunday in 1981, Jack came to Golden Bell with a two-stroke lead over Tom Watson. He hit his tee shot into Raes Creek and ended up losing by two.
  • Sergio may get the same kind of warm reception at Bethpage that he got in 2002, dont you think?
  • Mickelsons second at seven and 15 were mind blowers. Absolute mind blowers.
  • Watson said of the 12th, you decide what shot youll hit before you get there and then wait for the wind to match the shot. Dont look at the wind and try to pick your shot. It mustnt dictate to you.
  • Nice to have Tiger back at the majors. His last two Sundays at majors are two of the greatest Sundays in recent history.
  • Has there ever in the history of sports been an undercard this good? It quickly became the main event.
  • Nicklaus in 86 shot 30 on the second nine with an eagle, five birdies and two pars. His lone bogey came at, you guessed it, 12. Jack actually credits that bogey with bringing him back to earth after three consecutive birdies, getting him re-focused for an aggressive stretch run.
  • After Tiger and Phil finished up, I was spent, empty. Had to re-group and remember theres still a major to be won.
  • Phil had a chance to make this his Watson over Nicklaus Turnberry moment. A chance to cement his standing as one of the best players ever. He was on the verge of out-Johnnying Johnny Miller with a Sunday 62. It could have been the most famous round in history. Really.
  • Perry said Saturday he was viewed as a nice guy and good golfer. He said he could change that. Hes still a nice guy, one of the nicest youll meet. Hes still a good golfer. Very good. But hes also now known as the guy who let the 2009 Masters slip right through his fingers. A chance to make the Hall of Fame as the oldest major winner ever. Sad in a way.
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