Masters To Remember, But For The Wrong Reason

Angel Cabrera won his second professional major Sunday afternoon at Augusta National Golf Club. Cabrera has now won the Masters and the U.S. Open. For someone from South America, you can’t pick two tournaments you would rather win than those two. No disrespect to the Open Championship and the U.S. PGA Championship, but the U.S. Open and the Masters are as good as it gets in the Western Hemisphere. With two major wins in the last eight majors contested (same as Tiger Woods), Cabrera has seemingly turned into the most accomplished player in the history of his continent overnight. It’s a great story. It’s an amazing story. Unfortunately, it was not the story that dominated headlines at Augusta on Sunday, and in the papers on Monday morning. Kenny Perry had given the tournament away in a most painful manner.

After jamming his tee shot on the par 3 16th hole to within two feet, assuring himself of a birdie and a two shot lead going to the 17th, Perry’s long awaited first major seemed to be a lock. Then, out of nowhere, it was almost as if he realized what he was about to do. Kenny hadn’t made a bogey since his back nine on Friday, and then he made back to back bogeys on the 71st and 72nd holes. Perry looked rattled, and did not commit to a single swing he made on the last two holes. Once the playoff started, I gave Perry no chance to come out victorious. And after Cabrera’s unbelievable par on the first playoff hole, eliminating Campbell, it left him one-on-one with Perry. The rest is history. Cabrera makes a routine par, and Perry is left to contemplate what might have been. If this was the Shell Houston Open or the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, I have no doubts that Kenny finishes the job on Sunday. That is what makes major championships so difficult to win. The pressure gets cranked up several notches, and some people just can’t handle it.

This Masters will be remembered by many as the tournament that Kenny Perry gave away, and not the tournament that Angel Cabrera outlasted the field for his 2nd major title. If you’re looking for more evidence of what I’m talking about, go ask Geoff Ogilvy how many questions he answered about Phil Mickelson’s finish at Winger Foot in 2006, as opposed to questions he answered about his own. Ogilvy was the only player in the last four groups to make a par on the 72nd hole. He hovered around the lead all week, but all anyone could talk about was how Mickelson gave the tournament away. Perhaps a better example: I polled six of my friends, all of whom I would consider to be very golf knowledgeable, if they could tell me who won the 1999 Open Championship? I obviously knew the answer because I have no life and I’m a major championship guru. Only one out of the six of them could tell me that Paul Lawrie was the 1999 Open Champion, but all six of them could tell me where they were when they watched Jean Van de Velde implode on the 72nd hole at Carnoustie.

The bottom line is that people win golf tournaments every week, some spectacular, some not. But, it’s rare when you get to see someone lose in an unusual or unfortunate manner, and that is often which sticks in our minds, which is a shame.

– Patrick Keegan

2 Responses to “Masters To Remember, But For The Wrong Reason”

  1. Pqul B says:

    I said all week that Kenny Perrys swing looked suspect and was about to eat my words as he ground out pars and a birdie on 16. What he did do well was get the club back on the inside on the down swing. Zach Johnson’s swing isn’t exactly text book but he managed to hold on in 07. Jim Furyk, no matter how many times I see him, I can not figure out how he hits the ball. At the end of the day, it’s not how, its how many and how you deal with the pressure. After Cabrerras second shot on the first play off hole, no one in this world would have backed him with the other two in the fairway. For him to get down in two from there, he deserves the green jacket. Well done Angel, he took the pressure.

  2. nobody deliberately throws away a win ,its up to how you handle pressure.Angel looked as if he were out for a knockabout instead of in a playoff for a major.More luck to him.

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