Imagine Golf Blogs

Augusta Gets it Back

Imagine Golf Club's Rob Lee on The Masters' Renaissance

Posted Apr 15, 2009 by Rob Lee

Angel Cabrera

One of the most remarkable things about Augusta National visa vi The Masters is that they make decisions about what should happen before the following years event just after the previous one and then they make it happen.  Now you might not like everything that they do to the course - new bunkers, putting rough on the course, planting trees, removing trees, lengthening holes but the fact is wouldn't it be nice if our own government or council acted immediately on promises and manifestos instead of just serving the plebeians, sorry, voters the same old empty platitudes that we have lamentably become too used to?  It would seem that the most autonomous golf club in the world after years of steadily taking the fun and excitement out of the Masters listened and reacted positively to the accolades that Torrey Pines received after the excitement of Tiger’s one legged win last June in California.  What was evident at the US Open was that good scores were possible if you played well.  That was always the case at Augusta where the phrase 'it only starts on the back nine on Sunday' must surely have originated.  The good news is that the boys in the Green jackets have got their tournament back to what it was which is the most exciting tournament in the world.  The Augusta roar is back and it certainly could be heard just a few days ago in Georgia.

There were some remarkable performances over the week; Anthony Kim's incredible 11 birdie day going into the weekend (a new Augusta record), Sandy Lyle making the cut again as a senior and finishing ahead of some players a third of his age and we also said goodbye to Gary Player and Fuzzy Zoeller who competed for the last time on the manicured layout.  So, to the competition proper and a terrific final day where the world no1 and 2 were drawn together some 7 shots behind leaders Kenny Perry and Angel Cabrera.  The most pressing agenda for Tiger and Phil was to get off to a lightening start.  Well, lefty sure did; out in 30, 6 under to Tigers 3 under with scoreboards going into meltdown on the course and the atmosphere alive and crackling which must have affected those at the back end of the field who were doing their best to ignore what was happening up ahead.  Then Mickelson doubled 12 after hooking a 9 iron into the water - back to just 1 in front of Woods.  Both then birdied 13 and 15 with Tiger moving along side Phil at 10 under after a fine 2 at 16.  Alas, the run came to an end for both men with sloppy finishes but it served to give the spectators almost 2 final days which was what we've been waiting for for years at Augusta.  Then it was down to 3 players jostling for position with Kenny Perry holding off Chad Campbell and Cabrera, it would seem, well enough to become the oldest major winner, aged 48 years and 8 months, ever.  All he had to do is play the last 2 in 1 over and the title was his but that's easy to say from your armchair and not so easy to do.  2 bogeys and it was play off time with Campbell and Cabrera and after Angel had sliced his 3 wood behind a tree in the woods it looked like America would have the champion.  Not so!  The Argentine somehow made four after clunking his escape shot into a tree.  Campbell bogeyed to Perry's par and it was off down the 10th where the Kentuckian stuffed his approach left.  Cabrera hit the perfect 2nd shot and had the luxury of 2 putts from 15 feet for the jacket which he duly took.  It was poetic justice for Argentine golf fans who perhaps would have had a winner in Roberto De Vicenzo 42 years ago when he tied Bob Goalby but forgot to check his card properly and his playing partner put him down for a 4 at the 17th instead of the birdie and the higher score counted. 

Now the wait is over for the man who has only won 5 times on the European Tour, but 2 of them are majors, Angel Cabrera.  He will be assured a warm welcome back home where he has done so much for the locals who will keep the party going for years to come on the back of their favourite son which is now draped in the finest Green wool. 

Robert Lee

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