Sunday, April 13, 2008
Trevor Immelman, Your 2008 Masters Champion
First, congratulations to Trevor Immelman this week, a perfect example of how on any week any golfer in the field can take home the trophy (or jacket in this case).
So many people talk about how only 15-20 people can really win major championships, but I think Trevor joins the likes of Zach Johnson in calling bullshit on this theory. Immelman did exactly what he needed to do, hanging long enough while everyone else around him fell apart. Speaking of everyone else, lets go ahead and pick our winners and losers of Masters week.
Trevor Immelman - They say you can't win a golf tournament in the first round, but he sure didn't lose it then. 68-68-69 in the first three rounds got him to a position where he could have a few mistakes (like 16) and still get away with them. It also didn't hurt that Tiger's putter was as hot as a popsicle on Pluto.
Tiger Woods - I'm sure everyone is going, "WHAATTTTT" when they read his name under "Winners," but Tiger brought his B- or C game to Augusta and still finished second. He's the only golfer to ever touch a wedge that could have posted four rounds of par or better (72-71-68-72) with that putting performance.
Paul Casey - I know he shot a 79 on Sunday, but you have to give credit where credit is due - he played superb up until Sunday and did one of the most difficult things to do in golf, call a penalty on yourself. I know it is part of the game, but it makes you respect people that you previously had little respect for.
Miguel Angel Jimenez - I hate having to give Mr. Poneytail props, but his 68 on Sunday was best in blustery (first time I've ever typed that word) conditions, a round that included just one bogey.
Brandt Snedeker - Hockey sticks on Sunday aside, he played well and gave the galleries a personality to cheer for. I'm sure Immelman is a nice guy, but you couldn't tell the difference in his expression if he flagged a shot (like 13) or dunked one in the pond (like 16). At some point in his career Snedeker will be able to fall back on this as experience.
Padraig Harrington - Another great major championship showing that went without ANY talk. The British Open champion finished in a tie for fifth (bet you didn't know that).
Zach Johnson - His Friday-Sunday were bad (76 and a 77) but the Masters champion was great with the title and played well enough this week to get people off his back about a one-hit wonder. I think he could contend at Augusta for a really long time.
Irony - Did anyone else chuckle a touch when they noticed Immelman was wearing a Tiger Woods Collection Nike polo shirt? Wouldn't that be like Chris Paul breaking MJ's ankles on a nasty crossover in the new Jordan 23s?
Phil Mickelson - Schmickey had it in perfect position after two days but a 75 in the third round during wet conditions? It was the highest round on Saturday (by two shots) of anyone in the top-20. Answer me this - if Tiger is in the position Mickelson was on Saturday morning, does he go out and shoot 75? I know it isn't fair, I'm just asking.
Tiger's Putter - I was told by a buddy someone was sticking "Missing : Tiger's Putter" posters all over the trees at Augusta National. It was honestly like someone else was hitting a lot of those putts.
Retief Goosen - I'll let my pals Fort Minor say it - "Where'd you go, I missed you so, seems like it's been forever that you've been gone." The Goose (GOOSE!) vanished faster than Tracy McGrady in the playoffs after two solid rounds of 71 to open. The best part - he was so out of the talk so fast I actually had to look up where he finished (T-17).
CBS Sports - Memo to CBS - we get it, Nick Faldo has played and won at Augusta National. Most golf fans probably know this fact. Also, him telling us what to do would be like the Rat Pack explaining how to pick up women in the 21st century. Things have changed, the course is different, give it up. Also, they played the "Tiger Tube" (whenever someone drops out of contention they completely drop them from the telecast unless that golfer is Tiger) to everyone, even Phil!
Steve Flesch - The Lefty shot even on the front and made the turn at eight-under, before going double bogey-par-bogey-bogey-bogey-bogey on holes 12-17. One birdie in the final round probably won't sit well with the occasional hot head.
Sunday at the Masters excitement - Was I the only one checking my watch, wondering what outdoor activity I could be doing instead of watching that? Between Tiger's missed putts, and the huge lead by Immelman it was pretty boring television. Honestly, the most exciting thing all day was the water-ball on 16, and the tournament was already over at that point.
Sergio Garcia, Ernie Els, Luke Donald, Aaron Baddeley, Rory Sabbatini - You fellas have a good weekend? Bed, Bath and Beyond on Saturday? Lunch at the Ivy on Sunday? Let me know what you guys were up to.
Tall-ness - Immelman is listed at 5'9" and won, while the other "short" golfer that got a ton of attention was none other than...
Gary Player - He would have been in winners if he hadn't announced he was coming back next year. His 78 in the second round was damn impressive, but he did what he came to do (break Palmers consecutive Masters streak) so I think he should turn it in. Why not join Arnie as an honorary starter and be done with it, especially after the torch was passed to another South African?
Credit: Robert Beck/SI