The Achie Awards return: Masters, Round 2
Friday, April 6, 2012
After Friday at the Masters, a second installment of the Achie Awards...
• The lesson-of-a-lifetime award: There is a valuable lesson to be learned from the performance of Fred Couples. That lesson is to stay flexible. There seems little doubt that flexibility, exhibited so well by Couples, is the most important factor in the ability of senior golfers to maintain their length and overall skill.
2012 Masters: Round 2 at Augusta
Don't miss these images of the players as they get underway in the second round of the 2012 Masters at Augusta National.
• The masterful-Masters award: Part of the credit for this tightly bunched Masters belongs to Fred Ridley, the former USGA president and current chairman of the Masters championship committees. Ridley, the 1975 U.S. Amateur champion, knows a lot about championship layouts.
• The “Phil’s back” award: Well, who do you think?
• The “I told you so” award: After an opening 74, Phil Mickelson declared his intention to fight back in the second round. He did, with a 68. With 36 holes left, Mickelson is just three back.
• The “I lost it” award: Tiger Woods, who inexplicably lost his swing, is an enigma these days. Some observers believe the solution calls for more Tiger and less Sean Foley.
• “I’m the British Open champion” award: Darren Clarke, who is looking like he will never win another tournament. Clarke looks out of shape and out of sorts. He shot 81 in the second round.
• The double-botchkie award: Zach Johnson, who doubled two holes in a three-hole stretch (9, 11) but is still only five strokes off the lead. Johnson birdied 16 and 17 coming home.
• “Well, it isn’t Scotland, but I just want to make the cut” award: Tom Watson, who at 62 is still a wonderful player. Sadly he missed the cut by two strokes. There is a collection of intriguing 10-year increments between the ages of some of golf’s greatest contemporary players: Fred Couples 52, Watson 62, Jack Nicklaus 72, Arnold Palmer 82.
• The Yo-Ryo award: Of course, Ryo Ishikawa deserves this out of sympathy. But we’ll go even further and give him an award. Ishikawa was schooled Friday by playing competitor Couples, losing to the former Masters champion by 10 strokes (77 to 67) in the second round.
Ishikawa is 20, Couples 52. For 36 holes, Ishikawa lost to Freddie by 14 shots (153 to 139).
• The Big Pink award: In bright sunlight, Bubba Watson’s pink Ping driver has an art deco look about it. It looks like it came from another era. Paula Creamer, the certified pink freak, should get one of these from TaylorMade, her golf club sponsor.
• The Sergio-big-surge award: Sergio Garcia is back. Just when we thought he was missing in action, the Spaniard posted a second-round 68 and trails the leaders by only one stroke. There is nobody, including Woods and Lee Westwood, who wants this victory more than Garcia.
• The Rory-roaring-back award: Why is it so easy to get the feeling that Rory McIlroy remains in solid contention while playing ho-hum golf? McIlroy sometimes appears to be coasting. At this point, he probably should be considered the favorite in this Masters.
• The Friday-courage award: Henrik Stenson, who finished with a quadruple bogey 8 in the first round, had two birdies and seven pars on the front nine in the second round.
• The Louis-Louis award, part two: Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 British Open Champion, was 3-over-par after five holes of the second round. For the final 13 holes, he went 3-under and is only one stroke off the pace after 36 holes. Launching such a comeback in the Masters is a huge deal.
• Best Ben Crane Golf Boys imitation: Ben Crane, naturally. Crane, just three back after two rounds, was asked if he gets a lot of Golf Boys reference from spectators. “Yeah,” he answered. “Actually I hear a fair amount of ooh-da-la-la’s.” Ooooohhh.