A great save

Masters ends in fine fashion with two of golf's most noble pros

  • Follow Editorials

Amazingly, no Australian had ever won a Masters.

Astonishingly, Adam Scott had to win it twice in one day.

The much-liked Aussie had flirted with winning a major in recent years, both in Augusta and the United Kingdom. On Sunday, he seemingly did it twice – first with a spectacular around-the-rim birdie on the final hole of regulation that most of the planet had to figure earned him the win. But the lion-hearted Angel Cabrera gamely followed Scott’s theatrics with a shot from the fairway to just feet from the pin for another birdie – forcing a playoff after Scott had for all appearances celebrated a victory.

The players then traded pars on the first playoff hole – and after Cabrera came within an inch or two of a birdie on the second hole, Scott glided his 15-footer in for a dramatic win.

And a second celebration – this time for good.

Scott uses a controversial “belly” putter that is anchored against the body – a device which the guardians of the game have yet to decide to allow going forward. But in this case, it’s not the belly putter, it’s what’s in the belly.

Adam Scott showed the world he had the guts of a champion.

Ninety-three players crowded the field at the start of the tournament on Thursday. Only one could come out on top. But two came out winners: Scott and Cabrera not only put on an exhibition of golf mastery in their tense duel, but also of class, dignity and sincere sportsmanship. You can see why these two are so highly regarded on tour.

In the process, they rocked several continents at once, more than any earthquake could. Argentina was hoping for Cabrera’s second green jacket, while Australia woke up to its first.

We couldn’t be happier for the land Down Under. It has given birth to some of the best golfers in the world, who had won at each of the other three majors. It’s hard to believe they hadn’t won at Augusta.

But the wait was worth it, and Adam Scott is a particularly deserving countryman to bring home its first Masters trophy.

The game of golf also won big on Sunday, with yet another
riveting, down-to-the-wire Masters. Nor was the tournament decided on an errant shot or a miss of an easy putt. Adam Scott beat Angel’s Cabrera’s best – and the affable South American could only tip his cap, heartily applaud the victor and walk away knowing he’d given it his all.

Consider, too: After Sunday, more young golfers in Australia and Argentina will no doubt be inspired to pick up the game. Even as two titans of the sport went at it, golf itself grew.

And then there’s the world’s most populous nation, China – where young and old alike had to be moved and motivated by the stirring performance of 14-year-old Tianlang Guan, the youngest Masters player ever, and youngest to make the cut in Masters and PGA Tour history. He also ended up as the amateur with the lowest score this Masters.

All of these things came together to overshadow the unfortunate controversy over Tiger Woods’ illegal drop after a shot that went into the water at the 15th hole on Friday. He was lucky to finish the tournament, after admitting that he’d purposely dropped his ball several yards back from the site of his original shot in order to improve his chances on his next shot. That’s a clear violation of the rules, and he could easily have been disqualified before the third round on Saturday. Woods got off with a well-earned two-stroke penalty.

In the end, the Masters lucked out even more than Tiger did: Had he won – and he came very close, tying for fourth – the controversy would’ve been the story of the tournament, and not a happy one.

Instead, by the winds of fate and the proficient play of two consummate gentlemen and virtuoso masters of the game, history is left with a much more ennobling tale.

It will make a great read for years to come.

Comments (4) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
Riverman1 04/16/13 - 04:52 am
Tiger's Drop and Other Pickles

“…he’d purposely dropped his ball several yards back from the site of his original shot…”

Not according to the Chronicle’s Michael Holahan’s photos that have garnered national attention.


But onto another pickle. So Scott wins using a putting technique that’s so much against the rules of golf it will be outlawed in two years? Should his win get the asterisk as being under the old putting rules? Or should the proposed rule change never be implemented?

David Parker
David Parker 04/16/13 - 03:19 pm
Wanna make your head spin?

"can you be penalized for intending to violate a rule even if you didn't actually violate it?"

Their are alot of haterz and people who understand / watch golf just enough to discuss it and they have their opinions. I don't see any infraction as I anticipated the ball to roll a few rotations after hitting the ground. THe incline would suggest it would have rolled forward, placing it closer to the "original" lie. It did not roll and I've no problems as the new location is sufficiently close enough to the original, whether it provided an advantage or not.

To those hatin on Eldrick, I have this to say. If you don't like him, beat him at golf and he'll fade away. Aside from doing that, it looks like alot of envy to me.

Lee Benedict
Lee Benedict 04/16/13 - 05:40 pm
No asterisk

The belly-putter may be used now. Suppose it becomes prohibited for tournament play tomorrow; Scott (and the others) would practice with another putter for hundreds of hours. Golf is what they do for a living and for a lot of money. Believe me, any professional golfer would find another piece of equipment and become just as proficient with it

Regarding Eldrick, he violated a rule and that's all there is to it. He stepped back and dropped, which, did not satisfy one of the three permissible methods of relief. A Tour official is at every hole, and Tiger was free to ask for a ruling. That said, he said he didn't know what the rule was, he thought that he could take it back a bit since he would be no closer to the hole, and drop it. Later that evening and after the tournament rules guys decided to not DQ him (as can be done IAW the rules), they saw the clip of Tiger's interview where he admitted to intentionally going back for the drop in order to have a better shot due to distance and club selection. Ergo, the we best talk with him decision was reached. They spoke the following morning and gave him the 2-stroke penalty, which, is authorized instead of a DQ.

If this happened to someone else, it would have been reported, discussed for a segment, and then dropped. But since this is Tiger, everything pertaining to him warrants a king's ransom in air time. I will say that Tiger and his brigade of handlers act as though he is bigger than the game.

Back to Top
Search Augusta jobs
Top headlines
Arraignment coming Tuesday in Irish Travelers case
A total of 22 people - 20 identified as Travelers and two from Augusta - face racketeering charges under the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.