Sunday, April 13
Sunday no snoozer at Augusta
By Andy North
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- It's only fitting that a bizarre Masters week ends with a crazy final round.
With all the big names on the leaderboard at the end of Saturday's third round, there was no way Sunday was going to be a snoozer. You just knew something special was going to happen.
And it did. Just not the way we thought it would.
Take a look back at what unfolded Sunday at Augusta:
Jeff Maggert, the third-round leader, played 16 holes at 5-under par, and played the other two (Nos. 3 and 12) at 8-over. If he does anything else on those two holes than what he did (triple and quintuple bogeys), he wins the tournament.
He was on the wrong end of a weird penalty on the third hole. Maggert's shot out of a bunker hit the lip, bounced back and struck him in the chest -- a two-stroke penalty. Crazy things like that will happen to a player every once in a while. It's happened to all of us, and it'll happen to all of us again.
Then you look at Mike Weir, who was second coming into the final round. He went out and played a terrific round of golf. He made 14 pars, four birdies and made some key mid-range putts down the stretch when he needed to. Bottom line: He didn't make any mistakes. He deserved to win.
Tiger Woods played maybe six of the poorest holes I've seen him play under good conditions -- Nos. 3-8. He missed every green during that stretch, and made what he admitted was a mental mistake on the third, taking a driver off the tee instead of an iron. He ended up making a double-bogey six after landing his tee shot in the trees. In the last three or four years I don't ever remember him making a bad play strategically, and that's exactly what he did there.
You can't say any one shot cost anyone a tournament, but that one really hurt Woods. He had just come off a par-birdie start to his round, and went and threw it away at No. 3. At that point, as far as I was concerned, his chances had pretty much ended.
Phil Mickelson played very, very well, better than he ever had before on a Sunday at Augusta. If you told him before the round that he'd shoot a 68 he'd probably have thought there was a good chance he'd be wearing the green jacket. Mickelson finished third for the third straight year here, and it was the first time he broke 70 in the final round.
Finally, there's Len Mattiace, whose name hadn't been mentioned once the entire week before Sunday. He played the round of a lifetime, and still fell just short in a playoff with Weir.
Mattiace pulled off great shot after great shot, and then saw it all slip away at the end with a bogey on 18 and a double on the first playoff hole. He's got to be feeling bad about that, but he also should be proud that he played the round of his dreams on golf's biggest stage.
|Len Mattiace's name hadn't been mentioned once before Sunday, yet he nearly ran away with his first green jacket.|
Two-time U.S. Open champion Andy North is a golf analyst for ESPN.