Monday, April 12, 2010

Phil Mickelson Won the Masters

In all the years I've watched the Masters, there are only a few moments I distinctly remember. The reason is usually this -- I'm so taken back by the tournament as a whole that I can't really key in on certain events.

I remember when Mark O'Meara made the putt in 1998. Same goes for Mickelson in 2004. I believe that 2010 might be one of the few tournaments that gave us a ton of those golf shots, from Phil Mickelson's deuce on 14 in the third round to Tiger Woods' eagle on No. 7 in the fourth round.

We had press conferences and lead changes and Sunday 65s and areyoufreakingkiddingme iron shots from the pine straw. You can think back to Tiger's eagle on No. 8 followed by his hook around the tree second on the 9th to set up another birdie. It was Tiger's first sub-70 Thursday round, and although we were told to keep an eye on this "different Tiger," by Sunday we got more of the same.

We saw a leaf become famous for being able to read a putt as good as Phil Mickelson. We saw airplanes disrupt the order of Augusta. We had a 16-year-old make the weekend. We finally were able to believe in Anthony Kim's chances at the Masters. We got to root for Fred Couples once more at Augusta, and watch in agony as the 12th hole paid him back for saving his ass in 1992.

And then there was Phil. Oh Phil. All week I had said that his chances had to be low because he continued to make big numbers at the events leading up to the Masters. On Sunday at the Shell Houston Open, Mickelson made three double-bogeys in 18 holes. It just didn't seem he was sharp enough for this golf course.

Then Thursday happened, and Phil was in the clubhouse at 5-under and all my doubts started to trickle away. I had to remember that he is the second best golfer in the world, and one round here or one round there could get him right back to where he needed to be.

When Lefty poured in the birdie putt on 12, you started to feel it. When he hit that bananas shot out of the trees on 13, you started to realize it. After he missed the eagle putt, however, you had your doubts. But a great shot into 15 was all he needed, and at that point you were pretty certain that Phil Mickelson would rule this golf course once more.

Mickelson has now won three of the last seven Masters, and I don't see why he can't win three more. The course sets up so well for him you'd expect him to be a favorite in years to go.

All we know is this Masters was as fun to watch as any of them, and if we could get Mickelson and Woods together in 2011, things would be pretty good in the golf world.


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