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A messy Masters and a beautiful finish
Scott fears that the USGA and R&A already have made up their minds. USGA president Glen Nager took part in a youth initiative last week at Augusta. He declined to say anything about long putters because the decision is pending.
“We are all waiting to hear what’s going to happen,” Scott said. “I don’t know that this is going to impact any decisions at all.”
He’s right about that. Closing statements were made in February when the PGA Tour, along with the PGA of America, weighed in with their objections to the proposed rule, while the European Tour and LPGA Tour did not object. Scott winning the Masters is not enough to stop jury deliberations to present more evidence.
Besides, if the governing bodies were looking to build their case at Augusta, they would have settled on Guan. The Chinese teenager started using a belly putter about six months before he won the Asia-Pacific Amateur to earn a spot in the Masters. The fear is that more kids will start using anchored strokes under the best instruction, and it won’t be long before conventional putters go the way of the 1-iron.
Carl Pettersson has used a long putter his entire PGA Tour career. He played in the last group at the PGA Championship. He finished dead last at the Masters. Ernie Els, who won the British Open with a belly putter, couldn’t hit the hole from 3 feet when he lost in the Match Play. There are no good answers in this debate.
So in the meantime, let’s not lose sight of the finish while it’s still fresh.
There had never been a Masters where two players made birdie on the 18th hole to force a playoff. Cabrera’s 7-iron into the 18th should not be forgotten, nor should the way the burly Argentine smiled so genuinely and pulled Scott toward him for a warm hug on the 10th green when it was over.
Golf will get messy again soon enough.
We’re still awaiting word from the PGA Tour, perhaps by the end of the month, on whether Vijay Singh will be punished for admitting he took deer antler spray, which is said to contain a banned substance under the anti-doping policy.
The next time a round takes well over five hours, everyone will gripe about how slow play is killing the game. Yet when a penalty is called, there’s an outrage that it was assessed against the wrong guy. Guan was a wonderful story. He turned in a remarkable performance. But he’s slow. He was warned. And he deserved the penalty.
As for Woods‘ drop, more at fault for not knowing the rules was Ridley, the chairman of the Masters‘ competition committees. He didn’t recognize the violation watching on video, and that’s OK. But it’s the Masters. It’s Tiger Woods. Even a hint of doubt _ a hint _ should have been enough to at least talk to Woods before he signed his card. Woods was not disqualified because Augusta felt it should have talked to him. That’s what Rule 33-7 covers, and there is precedence.
Woods looked like the best player in the world until his shot hit the pin on the 15th hole of the second round and bounced into the water, eventually leading to a triple bogey with the penalty.
Ultimately, what should be remembered about this Masters is the right guy won.
For all the right reasons.
By John R. Bolton
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