Another Unexpected Finish at the Masters – Or Was It?

NC NighthawkAnalyst IApril 12, 2009

AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 11:  Angel Cabrera reacts to his birdie on the 17th hole during the third round of the 2009 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 11, 2009 in Augusta, Georgia.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Another unexpected finish at the Masters. 

Or was it? It was not really unexpected, though, was it?

For golf is a humbling game: it humbled Tiger Woods, the world's number one player and Phil Mickelson, ranked right behind him.

Angel Cabrera, Kenny Perry, and Chad Campbell were also humbled.  Of course, the game of golf humbles all golfers.

Humility is at the heart of what makes golf a popular participant sport. Each of us can identify with both playing at our best and with making errant golf shots.  I tend to identify myself with making errant golf shots than with playing at my best.

On the 18th hole in regulation, when I saw, or more accurately – heard -  Cabrera’s shot off the pine straw hit a tree and then the ball magically and miraculously landed in the middle of the fairway towards the hole, I told my wife that God is smiling on Cabrera and let’s see if he wins.

He did.

Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson drew the loud roars Sunday Augusta National, but it was not enough to win another green jacket for golf's two biggest stars.

Instead, it was Angel Cabrera grabbing the headlines as the winner of the The Masters in a three-man playoff with Kenny Perry and Chad Campbell.

Cabrera beat Perry and Campbell in a sudden-death playoff to win the 2009 Masters.

The sudden-death format started at the 18th hole with Perry and Cabrera making par. Campbell was eliminated when he missed a short par putt that lipped the cup.

The remaining two men headed to No. 10. Perry's second shot went left and missed the green.

He was unable to make par, leaving Cabrera two putts for his second major title. He won the U.S. Open in 2007.

The class and calm of Cabrera and in the final analysis, being a better golfer, won the tournament.

Did Perry “choke”? No.

For me, that is too strong of a word to describe that Perry missed opportunities to win this tournament by bogeying the final two holes in regular play. He also bogied the second playoff hole as Cabrera parred.  

Perry was struggling. The Masters was at stake. Anybody watching could feel for him.

Perry said he has trouble controlling how fast his right hand moves when he is under pressure

"I played beautifully today," he said, "all the way to 17. But I'm not going to hang my head. I just didn't get it done today. I hung in there. I was proud of that. I was nervous. I was juiced up, hit it too far over the green at 17," he said. "It's amazing. I've got a little fire mechanism in my right hand and I can't slow it down.

"I'm not going to pull against him," Perry said of watching Cabrera taking the winning putt. "I know how hard it is. I'm going to shake the man's hand."

And he did.

At 69th in the world, Cabrera became the lowest-rated Masters champion since the rankings began in 1986. His triumph came 41 years after his compatriot Roberto Di Vicenzo became one of the unluckiest losers ever in major golf.

Di Vicenzo was all set to go into a play-off with American Bob Goalby at the same Augusta National course, but signed for a par four on the 17th when he had actually taken three.  The rules stated that he had to accept the higher score and so he is forever listed as a Masters runner-up.

Woods and Mickelson were playing together in the final round at Augusta for the second time.

In 2001, Woods went to the final round with a one-stroke lead over Mickelson and wrapped up an unprecedented fourth straight major title, the Tiger Slam,with a 68. Mickelson shot 70 and settled for third, three strokes behind.

Their other final-round pairing in a major came at the 1997 PGA Championship, where they closed with 75 in a tournament won by Davis Love III.




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Alcohol, if taken in sufficient quantities, produces all the effects of intoxication.
--Oscar Wilde

Luke 9:23-24 “Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.”

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