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Now browsing: Hometown News > Golf > James Stammer

Thoughts on the 'best tradition in sports'
Rating: 3.27 / 5 (22 votes)  
Posted: 2013 Apr 19 - 08:55

Now that was a thrilling finish! This year's Masters had everything one could hope for. Cinderella stories, controversy, Twitter attacks, meltdowns, clutch shots, a patron that nearly got thrown out, true sportsmanship, continued traditions and more.

Let's start with the best tradition in sports. Thursday's round and the Masters itself gets started by a ceremonial tee shot from three of the game's greatest players, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player. It's difficult not to get a bit teary-eyed watching Annie hitch up his trousers one more time and take a mighty lash at the ball. For many of us these men were, and still are, our golf heroes.

During Thursday's round one patron was nearly on the outside of Magnolia Lane looking in. We all hate those idiots who yell "Get in the hole!" after every shot, even tee shots on par-fives. One such genius was on-hand to do just that after one of Tiger Woods' tee shots. Immediately Augusta National Security descended on the spot looking for the offender.

One writer carrying his credentials was asked who had yelled. No one seemed to know and no one pointed anyone out. When asked what would have happened had they caught this person, they were told that his badge would be revoked permanently, he would have been escorted off the property and never allowed to return. Ever. Now this is a rule I think we would all love to see enforced!

Speaking of rules. One rule that had many perplexed was the one that allowed Tiger not to be disqualified for signing an incorrect scorecard after his second round. In a rule implemented a couple years ago, the tournament committee may decide that when it is found that a player should have had a penalty invoked and strokes added to his score after he has signed his card, instead of disqualifying the player, they may instead add those strokes to his score and he may continue to play.

Many people thought the Masters was breaking a rule by not sending Tiger packing and instead wanted to protect their tournament and keep the cash cow on the farm. I honestly think the committee was covering their own behind because they initially told Tiger that there was no penalty, but changed their mind when later they heard his version of what happened after a television viewer called in to mention it.

To add fuel to the fire Thomas Vonn, the ex-husband of Tiger's current squeeze, Lindsey Vonn, claimed to be the unknown caller in a tweet on Saturday. "No problem Masters tournament. You always have to keep an eye on those cheaters ;)", his tweet stated.

As I get older I find myself pulling for the older, former champions at Augusta. Fred Couples and Bernhard Langer are two former champions who put on a great show, but eventually saw their games melt in the pressure.

Midway through the front nine on Saturday, Couples found himself at 6-under-par and tied for the lead. He went on to card a double and a triple-bogey, a saw three more bogeys cancel out three birdies and was never again a factor.

The 55-year-old Langer looked to be creating magic on Sunday. He started the day five shots behind and when birdied the first three holes found himself just one shot out of the lead. Sadly the magic turned into a pumpkin and Langer would play the remaining holes in 7-over to finish well back. Oh what could have been.

On the 72nd hole we saw two truly clutch shots. A 25-foot birdie putt from Adam Scott and an approach to within a couple feet for Angel Cabrera resulted in a playoff between the two.

Cabrera nearly won the playoff on the first extra hole as his chip for birdie ran just over the edge of the hole. At the second playoff hole Cabrera was teased yet again as his birdie putt stopped just on the top side of the hole, refusing to fall. He then watched as Scott rolled his 12-foot birdie putt right into the hear of the hole for the win.

In a show of true sportsmanship, after Scott's winning putt dropped, Cabrera smiled, shrugged his shoulders and gave the new Champion a big hug. Just a few minutes earlier as the pair walked down the tenth fairway, the second playoff hole, Cabrera looked at Scott and gave him a smile and a thumbs-up.

After donning his green jacket, Scott mentioned how Cabrera's warmth and generosity had helped save his game and career back in 2009. Certainly nowt something we hear being said in other sports these days.

In all it was a wonderful first major of the year. I can hardly wait until June for the next one.

James Stammer has been an avid golfer and golf enthusiast for nearly 40 years. He hosts the Thursday Night Golf Show on WSTU 1450-AM. Contact him at stammergolf@yahoo.com.

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