Monday, April 11, 2005 at 4:36 PM
So Tonight I'm Gonna Party Like It's 1999...
However, it didn't look that way at first. During the 1st round of last week's Masters, Tiger hit some wayward shots like the Tiger of new. Actually, he hit some stuff that, seemingly, only a high-handicapper would produce. We all dropped our jaws when we saw Tiger putt his ball off the green and into Rae's Creek on the 13th green. On another hole, he "girly-man" putted his ball up a slope that quickly reversed course and rolled all the way off the green. On the 2nd hole, Tiger chili-dipped his driver off the tee (even I haven't done that in years). Tiger took a divot about 6 inches behind that ball before it duck-hooked left, flying only about 100-yards.
After the 1st round, Tiger stood at two over and his chances to win were looking slim. Then, just when you thought it was all over for Mr. Woods, he turned it on. In the next 11-hour span he registered 12 birdies over 26 holes, leaping up the leaderboard over 30 places to take sole possession of 2nd. The leader, Chris DiMarco, held a sizeable 4-shot margin over Tiger when play resumed on Sunday morning to complete the delayed 3rd round. However, by the time I finished cooking my breakfast, Tiger not only caught up to DiMarco, he blew by him. I almost coughed up my bagel.
By the time the final round started, Tiger held a 3-shot lead over DiMarco. Tiger continued his superb play, but DiMarco didn't wilt. In fact, DiMarco stayed step-for-step with Tiger and cut into Tiger's lead. It looked like DiMarco would finally catch Tiger when he hit his tee shot stiff at the historic par-3 16th hole while Tiger overshot the green into an area littered with "body bags." Tiger's ball settled on the fringe up against the "2nd cut" at a location where getting up-and-down would be difficult at best. But Tiger did one better. He pulled out a miracle and holed his chip for birdie. DiMarco could only par, giving Tiger a 2-shot lead.
DiMarco fought back, and even sent it into a sudden-death playoff. But somehow, most of us knew that it was over at the 16th. In the end, it turned out to be a great Masters that thrilled the fans, I mean patrons. DiMarco deserves major props for answering everything that Tiger threw at him. Whether Tiger's got his groove back, it remains to be seen. But it's lookin' pretty damn good right now.
P.S. While my pick to win the Masters, Luke Donald, came up a little short this year, look for great things from him in the near future.
I haven't chili dipped a shot in a while myself, but I better go knock on wood :)
I honestly see Tiger possibly making the slam this year. If he can get his driver grooving by the time the US open rolls around, he will definitly be in contention. If that driver doesn't get fixed, he might not have a prayer.
Jam Boy said...
Throughout much of the Master's the commentators were talking about how precise you have to be with this course to get a good score. And I just had to laugh when I was watching Tiger play. I mean, he did string together some incredible holes and hole that amazing chip on 16, but he had many shots that were FAR from precise. But I'm excited to see how his game improves over the next few months.
© Golf Grouch 2006