Read me out. Charl Schwartzel birdied the final four holes to win the Masters by two strokes. That had never been done before…by anyone. Jason Day birdied the last two holes to finish tied for the green button with Adam Scott, who birdied 11, 14 and 16 to take what appeared to be a solid lead.
Prior to those closing feats of clutch play, Tiger Woods tossed his lowest 4th round at Augusta ever to climb to double-digits under par and secure yet another, top-5 finish at The National. Luke Donald, having bogeyed the 17th, dinged an iron off the flagstick on 18, then chipped in for birdie to say “take that, Par 3 curse!”
The 2011 Masters had its Norman figure, too. Rory McIlroy made one birdie on the day and lost 8 strokes to par. Just as impressively, there were junctures where 8 players had the potential to finish at -10; oh that such a playoff might have ensued.
We take a moment and thank Billy Payne, architect of the 1996 Atlanta Olympic games, for his desire to re-inject the Masters with the excitement and sub-par scores that his predecessors sought to strip from the event. Augusta is about birdies and eagles and roars and groans. It is not about the relentless struggle to hit fairways and greens, make pars and win with level 72s.
Our collective desire is that 2012 should remind us of 2011, not makes us long for it. Our hope is that another hearty winner, like Charl Schwartzel, will close with five birdies this time, to either fend off or steal from, a fellow competitor, on the way to victory. After all, they are masters.