The 2013 Masters will be remembered as Adam Scott becoming the first-ever Australian on April 14th to be fitted with an August National members green jacket.
Seventeen years ago also on April 14th, Scott had been allowed a day off school to watch his idol being Australia’s Augusta jinx to a close. Instead it turned in misery with Greg Norman enduring a Masters meltdown to hand victory to arch rival Nick Faldo.
However the tournament that was embraced by controversy on Thursday and Saturday morning proudly got back up onto its feet late Sunday afternoon with Scott burying any lingering demons from last year’s Open Championship demise to sensationally win the season’s first Major.
Here then is my selection of aces, eagles, birdies and bogeys from the 2013 Masters.
ACE – Adam Scott becomes the first Australian since Jim Ferrier in 1940 to be fitted with the most sought after item of clothing in golf. Ferrier was the first of 41 Australians to drive down Magnolia Lane. Scott drove out very late on Sunday night as the first to be wearing a green jacket.
ACE – Who said the game at the highest level is not exciting? Tiger Woods may have gone to Augusta as red hot favourite to capture a 15th Major but Adam Scott became the 17th different Major winner over the last 18 Majors with Rory McIlroy the only two-time winner in this period.
EAGLE – Argentina’s Angel Cabrera went within inches of capturing a second green jacket at the final hole in regulation and then at the second play-off hole only to be denied by good friend, Adam Scott. The player nick-named The Duck took to the rainy conditions like a duck to water. And Cabrera in raising his thumb in approval of Scott’s second shot into the second play-off hole was a fabulous sporting gesture. Sunday also marked the 90th birthday of fellow Argentinean Roberto de Vincenzo and what a story that would have been for the South American nation.
EAGLE – Australia’s Jason Day had one arm in a green jacket right up to a last few remaining holes. The Queenslander clearly displayed his share of second two years ago was no surprise. Day must surely now be among the favourites heading into the season’s three remaining Majors.
EAGLE – Marc Leishman was competing in just his second Masters but after a first round 66 when he shared the lead with Spain’s Sergio Garcia the rural Victorian golfer refused to go away He was one shot off the lead after two rounds and one shot behind countryman Jason Day. Then with eight holes to play Leishman was just two strokes off the lead before eventually sharing fourth place with Tiger Woods.
BIRDIE – Adam Scott had singled out Kiwi-born caddy, Steve Williams as the rock he will draw upon over the final round of the 77th Masters and Williams, who had been criticised for his part in Scott’s Royal Lytham downfall, answered the call when needed most for Scott’s final stroke. The win was William’s fourth at Augusta (three with Tiger Woods) and he is now within one Masters victory of the record shared by August National caddies Paddy Stokes (Picard, Harmon, Hogan twice and Burke Jnr) and Willie Peterson (Nicklaus four)
BOGEY – The decision to single out young 14-year Chinese sensation Tialang Chuh for a two-stroke slow play penalty was greeted by most competitors as unnecessary. As former US Open champion, Graeme McDowell suggested ‘it sends out the wrong message’. And McDowell was right in also stating: “There is more senior players out there who need a rocket up their backside”. One of those is Jason Day who is quickly taking over American golfer, Glen Day’s nickname of ‘All Day’.
DOUBLE BOGEY – Augusta National’s handling of the Tiger Woods penalty was a colossal accumulation of failures by all parties to properly apply the Rules of Golf. Why did officials not discuss the matter with Woods when he ended his round on Friday? Why had it taken a TV network contacting the Masters Championship Chairman into reviewing the issue? Why did it take so long for officials to make any announcement of their eventual ruling. And while Woods pleaded the 33rd Amendment – Harrington’s Law, the 14-time Major Champion, who admitted he dropped two yards away from his third shot at the 15th hole on Friday, why did he not fall on his sword in the bigger interests of the game?
BIRDIE - Craig Heatley is the New Zealand-born Augusta Chairman of the Media Committee. Heatley is an extremely affable and has long been seen as a very welcome addition to Augusta National. Heatley moderated Adam Scott’s final round news conference and he brilliantly touched a cord with all those present in the interview room when he remarked: “When I heard the roar down on 10, a second later I heard about 30 million people in Australia and New Zealand all cheering, as well, I can’t even describe the pleasure that it gives me to welcome and congratulate you, Adam, on an awesome performance.”
EAGLE – Despite a controversial two-stroke penalty for slow play, 14-year old Tialang Guan, and the Masters youngest-ever competitor, upstaged his more fancied rivals to also make the cut and win the Low Amateur award.
BIRDIE – Scotland’s Sandy Lyle celebrates the 25th anniversary of his 1988 Masters triumph by making the club and then finishing the leading Scot, and using a Black and Swan putter, that a colleague suggested to the 55-year old Lyle he could also use to pick up the internet.
BOGEY – The Australian Augusta jinx is over but a European hoodoo remains in full swing with the only real bright spot coming from exciting 23-year old Dane Thorbjorn Olesen, who recovered from a first round 78 on his Mastes debut to finish inside the top-10.
BIRDIE – Augusta National’s decision to extend the cut from 40 to 50 players and retain the 10-shot rule. It was good news for the PGA Tour’s Fall Series tournaments where the winner will now earn a Masters invitation but it was bad news also for the PGA Tour with Augusta removing invitations to the top-30 finishers in the FedEx Cup Series.
ACE – Welshman Jamie Donaldson holes out at the par three, sixth hole to be the only person during Masters week to record a hole-in-one. The reigning Irish Open and Abu Dhabi HSBC Champion proudly returned home to Pontypridd with a gleaming Augusta National crystal bowl.
EAGLE – The appearance of Augusta National’s newest member, Condaleezzia Rice at this year’s Masters and also being present at the 5th hole on the Par Three Course, and dressed in her Augusta green jacket, to greet those competing in the event. Also the sight of former World No. 1 tennis ace, Caroline Wozniacki caddying for her former World No. 1 ranked boyfriend, Rory McIlroy.
BOGEY – No one in their right mind would right off Rory McIlroy winning more majors but his body language over the four days of this year’s first Major suggests he’s still hasn’t got over his 2011 meltdown. McIlroy was eight over par for his closing 11 holes on day two and from there on was simply making up the Masters numbers.
BOGEY – Bubba Watson’s Champions Dinner menu must have had patrons choking on their chicken bones. As three-time Masters winner, Nick Faldo tweeted: “Bubba had 365 days before deciding on Fried Chicken along with Macaroni and Cheese”.
BOGEY – American Dustin Johnson had moved to seven under par with five holes to play on day two but finished bogey, double bogey, par, bogey and double bogey.
BOGEY – Reigning British Amateur champion, Alan Dunbar had waited 10 months to make his Masters debut but with Augusta National sending the young Northern Irishman packing to the pro ranks with scores of 83 and 77.
ACE – Bernie McGuire becomes the first Australin-born print journalist to cover the first ‘Australian Grand Slam’ having been present to report on Greg Norman’s 1993 Open Championship success, Steve Elkington’s 1995 PGA Championship triumph, Geoff Ogilvy’s 2006 US Open win and now Adam Scott’s stunning Masters success.
BOGEY – Bernie McGuire is the only golf journalist among 50 surveyed by the Augusta Chronicle to pick Adam Scott as the winner of the 2013 Masters and also select Tiger Woods as the leading American. The big blunder was not putting my money on the pair.