The Masters: Major Entertainment

Kevin JonesContributor IApril 12, 2010

AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 11:  Phil Mickelson hits a shot on the 17th hole during the final round of the 2010 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 11, 2010 in Augusta, Georgia.  (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
David Cannon/Getty Images

How Masterful was the 2010 Masters?

After receiving more hype than a spoiled kid’s 10th birthday party, it actually lived up to the buildup. I’ve been watching this tournament every year since Tigers roaring start to his career in 1997, and I cannot ever remember being so entertained.

The leader board was jaw-dropping all weekend, especially on Thursday when Tom Watson was in sole possession of the lead. Although father time eventually caught up with the 60-year-old, age is proving that it isn’t once what it was in golf.

Take fan favorite and now Senior PGA Tour member Freddy Couples. The 50-year-old was in contention for the duration of the tournament.

Freddy always has two battles going on. First is shooting a good score and second is his back, which is about as stiff as Tiger’s wood. If Couples wouldn’t have closed out his second round bogeying four out of five holes (he shot a 75) who knows what would have happened around Amen Corner time on Sunday.

Of course the main reason everyone and their mother’s were watching the 2010 Masters was to see Mr. Tiger Woods. Tiger’s tie for fourth finish was shocking to many, but not to me.

I don’t believe that this man hasn’t been swinging golf clubs throughout his whole fiasco. Tiger’s father Earl raised him to become a golfing machine, literally. Tiger would go into an even deeper depression not having golf in his life.

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Regardless of my previous paragraph, Tiger Woods has returned . Maybe it’s not quite yet to his old form, but he is very, very relevant again. His first round 68 was his lowest Thursday score at Augusta, EVER. He shot very respectable 70’s both on Friday and Saturday, and entered Sunday four shots back from then leader Lee Westwood.

What more could a national audience want from the most anticipated athletic comeback since Michael Jordan donned the number 45?

Tiger in his Sunday red, chasing the likes of veterans Phil Mickelson, Couples, Westwood, KJ Choi (who played with Tiger all four days) and even the youthful Anthony Kim, major championship golf just doesn’t get any better.

Yet Tiger seemed somewhat human today, like he has these past five months. His first tee shot looked like something from my bag, as it sprayed left well onto the 8th fairway. How about later on the front nine when Tiger took two shots out of a bunker?

On a Sunday?

Tigers putting on the 11th ended any potential excitement he could have offered. What looked like an easy seven foot birdie putt turned into a Tiger temper tantrum and a three putt bogey. Regardless of these few gaffes, Woods silenced critics like Mark Davis and Nabeel Ahmadieh who doubted the best golfer alive.  

Lost in all the shuffle of this crazy weekend is the actual winner of the tournament, Phil Mickelson. After years of heartbreak, disaster, misfortune, hardship, and choking in all majors, especially The Masters, Phil seems to have figured himself out.

His bogey-free five under 67, on Sunday was nothing short of dazzling. And Saturday’s eagle-eagle-nearEagle will be remembered for decades. With all the Mickelson family has been through this past year, even a Mickelson nay-sayer like myself has to applaud.  

Many questions will arise as the months of April, May, and June drag on. How much will Tiger play? Is Anthony Kim going to win a major this year? When is Vijay Singh going to be competitive again? When will Ricky Barnes declare his love for men?

I do know one answer though: The 2010 Masters couldn’t have been better.

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