COMMENTARY | Each major championship leaves impressions that become part of the history of championship golf.
The 2013 Masters was no exception. In the end, it produced one of the most dramatic finishes in the tournament's history and offered a reminder of why golf is unique among major sports.
With that in mind, here are some of the most vivid memories of the 2013 Masters:
A New Star Emerges
Even before arriving at Augusta National, Adam Scott had an impressive resume. But fair or not, there is a chasm that separates players who have won major championships from those who have not. On Sunday evening, Scott crossed that divide by making two of the biggest putts of his life.
Scott's ball striking has never been issue. It's always been his putting that has held him back. At the Masters, however, his putting stroke stood up to the ultimate test. Scott turns 33 in July and, theoretically, is entering his prime as a player.
In my view, there is no limit as to what he can achieve. And by the way, he's placed in the top three in the last three majors.
Respect Still Matters
The mutual respect between Scott and Angel Cabrera, the man he defeated, was evident, particularly during their playoff. They were two highly motivated athletes trying their best to beat one another, but they were also two sportsmen fully cognizant of each other's abilities. Their embrace at evening's end is the most vivid image we'll take away from the week.
What About Tiger?
My thought heading into the Masters was that Tiger Woods would play reasonably well but not win. In the end, he wound up tying for fourth, an impressive performance for any player other than Woods himself.
At age 37, Woods is still an elite player, the best in the world when he's at the top of his game. But the gap that for so long separated him from his peers has narrowed considerably.
The Rules Apply to All
There were two significant rules controversies during the week. The view from here is that both were handled correctly. Guan Tianlang deserved the slow-play penalty he received Friday. The official who issued the penalty had an obligation to protect the entire field. The fact that Guan is an amateur and just 14 years old is irrelevant, in my opinion.
As for Tiger Woods, the rule that allowed him to play on the weekend in the wake of his two-stroke penalty for taking an improper drop was crafted with situations like this in mind, so players would not be subject to disqualification for penalties incurred after the completion of a round.
Woods arouses so much passion in the golfing world that his defenders and detractors alike were caught up in the emotion of the moment.
Fortunately, reason won out over passion.
A Final Thought
All major professional tours should immediately end the policy of accepting phone calls from television viewers regarding rules infractions. Having a trained rules official monitor a tournament telecast for possible infractions is one thing. Accepting the intervention of an untrained person who may have a stake in the outcome of a tournament is quite another -- and the practice should be dispensed with.
Rick Woelfel resides near Philadelphia, near some of the finest golf courses in the world, but this has done nothing to enhance his own ability as a golfer. He prefers to write about the sport instead. Rick is a member of the Golf Writers Association of America and has covered the sport for more than 25 years.
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