Courtesy of MCT
In a country rich with golfing greats and close major championship calls, Australia had never produced a Masters champion.
But on a soggy Sunday at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Ga., that all changed with one clutch putt.
Adam Scott, the 32-year old who finished T-2 in the 2011 Masters, made a pressure-packed birdie putt on the second playoff hole against Angel Cabrera to become the first Australian to take home the green jacket.
Scott, who had eight PGA Tour wins coming into the week, used his broomstick putter (it’s about four feet tall), to birdie the 18th hole in regulation which led him to a playoff after Cabrera birdied the 18th as well.
The major championship victory is long overdue for Scott, who had the lead in the 2012 British Open but bogeyed the final four holes and lost. He’s been a prominent player throughout his career, and finally getting his first major could open the floodgates for more majors down the road.
Other history was made at the Masters as well. Fourteen-year old Tianlang Guan from China, who was the youngest player to compete in any major championship in 148 years, also became the youngest player to make the cut and play the weekend in a major championship.
However, his dreams of playing the weekend were almost gone after he received a one-stroke penalty for slow play during Friday’s second round. It was the first time a player was assessed a penalty for slow play on the PGA Tour since 2010.
After finishing with a second-round 75, and 4-over for the tournament, the eighth-grader made the cut right on the number. By adding rounds of 77 and 75 the next two days, he finished as the low amateur for the week in 58th place and earned respect around the world.
That Guan competed in the Masters is significant enough, but making the cut against the best players in the world on an extremely challenging course speaks volumes to how special of a week it was for the youngster.
Sunday afternoon at the Masters wouldn’t be complete without a back-nine charge from No. 1 player Tiger Woods. He entered the final round four shots back but couldn’t overcome bogeys on 5 and 7, despite having four birdies from 9-15, and finished T-4.
Woods, along with Guan, was part of another controversial penalty. In Friday’s second round, he hit his third shot in the water on the par-5 15th after an unlucky break in which his ball hit the flagstick and came spinning back violently into the water.
After weighing out his options, he decided to take a drop at the same spot, where he eventually got up-and-down to save bogey. The problem, though, was that he dropped his next shot about two yards further back than his previous shot, which wasn’t as close as possible to his previous shot.
That drop eventually led to a two-stroke penalty, so instead of starting Saturday’s third round three shots back, he was five back and never recovered.
All in all, the decision to give him a two-stroke penalty instead of disqualifying him, which many felt should have happened, was probably the correct move, but the drop and resulting penalty will be discussed for years to come.
Every year, the Masters provides heart-pounding excitement throughout the entire week, especially late Sunday afternoon. This year was no different, and the remarkable finish showed why this tournament is one of the most exciting in all of sports. Only 360 more days until next year’s edition.