Angel Cabrera’s thumbs-up to Adam Scott was a highly-visible display of sportsmanship on the second hole of their Masters playoff. It may have been less important than a private moment they had shared more than three years earlier.
As Scott, in the midst of a prolonged slump, left the 2009 Presidents Cup, Cabrera pulled him aside and said, “You’re a great, great player.” Scott arrived at San Francisco’s Harding Park as the world’s 65th-ranked player. He went 1-4; Scott and Cabrera lost, 2 down, to Anthony Kim and Jim Furyk. Yet Cabrera's words allowed Scott to leave with his head held high.
“Something I didn’t forget,” Scott said. “He’s a gentleman.”
That year was the worst of Scott’s career. He had a runner-up in his second event, the Sony Open, but made just five of his last 15 cuts, never finishing in the top 25. Greg Norman still took a chance on Scott, selecting him as a captain’s pick. Norman, an icon in Scott’s home country, hoped Scott’s inclusion on the team would inspire a return to form. It did. He won at the 2010 Valero Texas Open.
There were tears again when Brandt Snedeker fell short at Augusta National. He wasn’t the one crying this time, though. It was his 2-year-old daughter, Lily, who was upset. “I guess we’re just tearful,” the elder Snedeker said.
Lily was not yet born the first time he contended at Augusta National. Snedeker, then a second-year PGA Tour player, was two shots off the lead entering the final round of the 2008 Masters. He shot 77 in the final round, then shed tears in his post-round press conference, becoming a sympathetic viewer to golf fans around the globe.
Snedeker was back in contention at this year’s Masters, tied for the 54-hole lead with Angel Cabrera after shooting three consecutive sub-par rounds (70-70-69). His favorite club, the putter, betrayed him in the final round, as did a hole that also hurt his chances in 2008. He again shot over par on Masters Sunday, firing 75 to tie for sixth.
“I’m not as crushed as I was in 2008 because I know I’m going to be there again,” said Snedeker, who arrived at Augusta as the reigning FedEx Cup champion and world’s No. 5 player. The loss ...
The golfer with model looks struck a pose as evening fell on Augusta National’s putting green. Adam Scott cast long shadows on the grass as the cameras flashed. He raised both hands in the air and lifted his face skyward, soaking in the raindrops that had fallen throughout the day. This victory washed away any blemishes that remained from last year’s Open Championship, where his bogeys during the final four holes had cost him his first major.
Now he had that defining triumph, and at the event that his homeland so deeply desired. Scott was the Masters champion, accepting the Green Jacket from Bubba Watson after a heroic finish that so contrasted last year’s Open at Royal Lytham.
Scott missed a 7-foot par putt there last year that would have forced a playoff with Ernie Els. This time, Scott made a 25-footer to birdie the final hole, then won with a 12-foot birdie putt on the second hole of a sudden-death playoff with Angel Cabrera, the 2009 Masters champion.
Australia’s first Masters title seemed probable Sunday, as the country was represented by three of the top five players at the start of the day. Scott, who ...
Those who came close to winning the Masters spoke candidly after their rounds. Here's a sampling of their words after Sunday's final round at Augusta National:
• • •
Asked if he felt unlucky when close putts didn't fall: Yeah, that's golf. Golf gives and takes. So yeah, sometimes you make those putts, sometimes you just miss them. But that's golf.
Asked if his experience as a Masters champion helped Sunday: Yeah, I had a lot of peace of mind and I was very confident. I knew that it depended on me. I knew that they can make some birdies, but I still was thinking that it depended on me.
Asked if Adam Scott's life will change much having won a major: Well, it's going to change quite a lot, his life. He's been looking for it, searching for it, this major title. He's achieved it, so I'm pretty sure his life is going to change really fast right now.
• • •
Asked how much it hurts to come up just short: I love this tournament regardless of where I finish today. It's obviously an honor to come this week ...
Jason Day walked off the 18th green at Augusta National holding his wife’s hand and carrying nine-month old Dash in his right arm. For a man who had come so close to winning his first major title, he looked remarkably calm. When Day later emerged from the scoring area, he walked straight toward fellow Aussie Adam Scott, shaking his hand and then giving him a supportive hug.
“I’m really pulling for Scotty,” Day said as his friend prepared for a playoff against Angel Cabrera. “I know that he’s come so close so many times in majors and he really does deserve it.”
Funny, Scott could say the same about Day if the situation were reversed. Day, 25, finished runner-up at both the 2011 Masters and the ’11 British Open.
On Sunday at the Masters, with three holes to play, Day looked poised to make his own breakthrough after birdieing three consecutive holes (Nos. 13-15) on the back nine.
Standing on the 16th tee with a two-stroke lead, Day turned over a 7-iron and missed the green long and left. He chose to put it, and the ball came up slow through the collar. He left the putt ...
Masters official Craig Heatley, a New Zealander, conducted the main post-round interview for the media with 2013 Masters champion Adam Scott, which also included questions from reporters on hand:
Ladies and gentlemen, it's my distinct pleasure to welcome our 2013 Masters Champion from Australia, Adam Scott. When I heard the roar down on 10, a second later I heard about 30 million people in Australia and New Zealand all cheering, as well, I can't even describe the pleasure that it gives me to welcome and congratulate you, Adam, on an awesome performance.
ADAM SCOTT: With that introduction, I don't know how I'm going to manage. What an incredible day. Everything fell my way in the end, I guess, and you just never know.
I just kept plugging away, and I didn't know if it was going to happen through nine. But a good back nine here solves a lot and gives you a chance.
It was just great that everything fell into place for me, and I'm just so proud of myself and everyone around me who has helped me. The list is so long, I can't do thank yous.
But really incredible ...
Almost as quickly as Angel Cabrera was doling out a hug on the 10th green, pro and top amateur golfers were quick to line up their congratulatory posts on social media for new Masters champ Adam Scott, who broke through for his first major championship. Here's a sampling from their Twitter accounts:
• Brandt Snedeker, @BrandtSnedeker: Humbled by all the support I received this week.. My time will come.. Congrats to a worthy champ.. Adam deserved today..
• Trevor Immelman, @TrevorImmelman: Really happy for Scotty, one of my longest standing friends on tour. A true champion and gentleman.... One for our generation :)
• Ian Poulter, @IanJamesPoulter: Massive congrats to Adam I'm really happy for him, he deserves a huge win after the Open disappointment last year. Beers on him at Albany.
• Graeme McDowell, @Graeme_McDowell: Congratulations Adam Scott. Much deserved. Fantastic player. What an amazing finish and great for golf. #themasters
• Beth Daniel, @bethdanielBMFD: For all of you talking about another long putter winning.....remember how many putts Adam missed before making putts on 18 and 10.
• Keegan Bradley, @Keegan_Bradley ...
Denmark's Thorbjorn Olesen means "Thunderbear," and he certainly roared to life at Augusta National on Sunday. Playing in his first Masters, the 23-year-old carded a 68 using the following Nike gear:
DRIVER: Nike VR_S Covert Tour (9.5 degree) with a Graphite Design DI 7X shaft
FAIRWAY WOOD: Nike VR_S Covert (15 degree) with a Mitsubishi Rayon Diamana 'ahina 80x
HYBRID: Nike VR_S Covert Tour (18 degree) with a Mitsubishi Rayon Fubuki AX Hybrid X
IRONS: Nike VR Pro Blade (3-9) with Royal Precision Rifle Project X 6.5 shafts
WEDGES: Nike VR Pro (46, 54 and 58 degree) with Royal Precision Rifle Project X 6.5 shafts
PUTTER: Nike Method 001
BALL: Nike 20XI
The word about Augusta early Sunday morning was that hole locations were there for the taking – and amid favorable conditions at that.
Rory McIlroy certainly took advantage, closing out an otherwise disappointing Masters with a 69, good for 2 over for the week. Much of McIlroy's troubles stemmed from a 79 in Saturday's third round.
". . . I didn't feel like I played too differently today than I did yesterday, but yet the score is 10 shots lower," McIlroy said. "It's just the way it is on this golf course. If you get on the wrong sides of the greens and wrong sides of the pins it can make you look silly at times. But obviously I went through a bad stretch of holes there yesterday from 7 to 11, played them in 5 over, but apart from that I actually felt like I had a decent tournament."
McIlroy succinctly summed up what many have known for years about the Augusta National layout and setup.
"It's one of these golf courses where, when it's like this unfortunately like you can shoot 65 in a heartbeat, but all of a sudden you go for a few shots ...
Bubba Watson, like any PGA Tour golfer, can't be competitive every week – but he's almost always entertaining. After closing the defense of his Masters championship with a 77 to finish the week at 7 over, Watson had some typically candid remarks.
For one thing, he reiterated that he wasn't out to stage a defense of his title – just win – and that made things simpler.
"Oh, it's really easy, because no matter what, you're playing the following year. So when you look at it, it was a blast. Like I said, though, my mindset was I'm not defending champion, my mindset is I'm trying to win a golf tournament," Watson said. "My golf proved that I didn't win it. So it was fun, it was a blast. Obviously when you come back here, like the other question was, you're always the defending champion, you're always a Masters champion, so no matter what, it's going to be a blast every year I show up here."
Watson's Sunday 77 was punctuated by a 10 on the par-3 12th hole in Amen Corner. He wasn't the only one who suffered the ...
If Sunday’s early scores are any indication, we should be in for low scores Sunday at Augusta National. Softer greens, accessible hole locations and overcast, windless conditions are making birdies fairly easy to come by.
Sunday’s easier conditions led to some large turnarounds among players who had plummeted down the leaderboard amid firmer conditions Saturday, when players used words like “crusty” to describe the putting surfaces. Keegan Bradley closed with a 69 after his 82 the previous day. Sandy Lyle’s 71 was 10 shots better than the previous day’s score. Ryan Moore went 81-68 on the weekend. Ryo Ishikawa’s 68 was his first sub-70 score at Augusta National and eight shots better than Saturday’s score. Rory McIlroy shot 79-69 in the final two rounds. Michael Thompson’s 67 came after a Saturday 79.
"There's definitely some accessible pins," Moore said. "I think they want that and they like that. I think the greens got kind of on the brink yesterday afternoon, a few of them, and they may have actually put some water on them, and then you get this cloud cover on top of that and it just adds to more receptive ...
Tianlang Guan walked off the 18th hole and posed for a photograph with Billy Payne, chairman of Augusta National Golf Club and Peter Dawson, secretary of the R&A. It was a fitting way to end a heady week for Guan, who proved the Asia-Pacific Amateur initiative to be worthwhile with his gutsy performance.
Guan, 14, became the youngest player to ever make the cut at the Masters and the youngest to win low-amateur honors. Three of the four Asia-Pacific champions have now made the cut here.
“It’s actually the most difficult course in the world,” said Guan, when asked if he felt Augusta National got easier for him as the week went on. Guan shot 73-75-77-75 to finish 12 over. He never made worse than bogey. He also never had a three-putt. He headed to the clubhouse leading the field in putting.
Before Guan made history here at the Masters, the family planned to head back to China. Now that invitations to play have started coming in, however, his schedule is uncertain. Guan wouldn’t elaborate on his tournament options.
When asked about his long-term plans on turning professional, Guan said there’s no need to rush.
The Masters had Twitter and other social-media sites aflame Saturday morning -- typically a time when all is relatively quiet at Augusta National, save perhaps for someone going low on the front nine with an early time.
Sunday provided a return to a more conventional weekend-morning feel. At the forefront were a couple of players' posts on Twitter about the final-round hole locations:
• Graeme McDowell, @Graeme_McDowell: "Looking at today's pins there is a definite 65/66 out there so you can look as far down the leaderboard as -2 perhaps"
• Nathan Smith, @DStick23: "They r gonna let them go today Pin locations on back 9 today at Masters r accessible! Look forward to roars!"
• Bob Estes, @BobEstesPGA: "15th green ANGC(could've changed slightly since). I do my homework. #TheMasters"
Another player chimed in with an observation on co-leader Brandt Snedeker:
• Joe Ogilvie, @ogilviej: "Snedeker: He's nervous, but on the surface he looks calm and ready...to drop Bombs. #Masters"
The Solheim Cup captain took time out from celebrating her 50th birthday in Hawaii to share her Masters Sunday breakfast view:
A top amateur shared her rooting ...
Fred Couples’ chances of a walk-off win at the Masters ended on the back nine Saturday. He started the third round at 5 under par, one shot off Jason Day’s lead, but shot 77 to fall to 18th place, seven shots behind Brandt Snedeker and Angel Cabrera.
Couples, who said he'd retire if he won, was even par for the day when he arrived at the par-4 14th. He played his final five holes in 5 over par, though, and shot 77. Couples bogeyed Nos. 14 and 15 and made triple-bogey at the 17th.
“I would think that put me out of any running for anything tomorrow,” said Couples, who played with Jason Day in Saturday’s final group. “The rest of the holes weren't all that great either. I was very mediocre. I made a lot of pars, but I had just some mediocre swings. I wasn't all over the place.”
Couples, 53, has been in the top 10 after 36 holes in each of the last four Masters.
He held the first-round lead at the 2010 Masters after shooting 66, but followed with 75 to fall to ninth. He rallied with 68-70 on the ...
Mandy Snedeker was up at 3:30 a.m. Saturday. That kind of thing happens when you’re the mother of a 6-month-old and a 2-year-old. Many things have changed since Brandt Snedeker sobbed golf ball-sized tears into his towel here five years ago, but nothing quite bigger than becoming a dad.
“I hope he gets to see our little girl before she gets to sleep,” said Mandy. “If not, these are long mornings and they will get to play in the morning.”
The promise of that scene alone tells us that Snedeker will prepare differently this time around for being in the final group Sunday at the Masters. Nothing melts a nervous heart faster than a bouncing baby.
Yes, Snedeker is a changed man since his emotionally charged 5-over 77 in 2008. And it’s not just because of Lily and Austin alone.
“I had no clue what I was doing in 2008,” said Snedeker, who shares the lead 7-under 209 with Angel Cabrera. “I had no game plan, no idea of when to be aggressive, when not to be aggressive, how to play this golf course the way you’re supposed to play it.”
This is a confident ...