Some expected a circus. Instead, golf fans were treated to a great tournament, highlighted by remarkable shots from all over the course.
In the end, Phil Mickelson donned the green jacket for a third time. He fired a 5-under, 67 on Sunday to pull away from a star-studded logjam atop the leaderboard.
As for the circus’ main attraction, Tiger Woods finished in fourth, thanks to a misbehaving driver and putter. When asked if his standards of success were different in his return to golf after 144 days away, Woods replied, “I entered this event and I enter events to win,” he said. “I didn’t get that done.”
He did, however, earn a cool $330,000 for tying with K.J. Choi at 11-under. Mickelson snatched up $1,350,000.
By all accounts, the heckling of Woods that was expected was kept to a minimum, although security guards were quick to pounce any wayward comment from patrons. And, of course, there was infamous airplane banners, which flew above Augusta on Thursday. That plane never reappeared, thanks to the FAA.
Among the other storylines, veteran Tom Watson held a share of the first-round lead, but stumbled in the final three rounds and finished at a respectable 1-under.
Another veteran former Masters champ, Fred Couples, stayed in the hunt until hitting one in the drink on No. 12, leading to a double-bogey. Couples finished alone in sixth at 9-under.
But, by far, the feel-good story of the tournament was Mickelson, who embraced his wife Amy, who’s battling cancer, after winning his third Masters.
Leaf me alone
As it turns out, Mother Nature disrupted Phil Mickelson more than Tiger Woods.
On his way to winning a third green jacket, Mickelson had a leaf blow onto his line while attempting a birdie putt on the third hole. His ball hit the leaf and deflected left of the hole. Unbelievable.
Tiger’s ‘tude a work in progress
In a post-tournament interview, Tiger Woods made no apologies about his on-course demeanor at the Masters.
While he started the week smiling and acknowledging fans, he was caught swearing on live television on Saturday and Sunday, directly contradicting his promise to be more respectful of the game.
When asked about his emotions by CBS reporter Peter Kostis, Woods replied, “I think people are making way too much of a big deal of this thing,” Woods said of critiques and analysis of his on course demeanor.
“I was not feeling good. I hit a big snipe off the first hole and I don’t know how people can think I should be happy about that. I hit a wedge from 45 yards and basically bladed it over the green.”
“These are not things I normally do,” he added. “So I’m not going to be smiling and not going to be happy. And I hit one of the worst, low, kind of low quack hook on 5. So I hadn’t hit a good shot yet. I’m not going to be walking around there with a lot of pep in my step because I hadn’t hit a good shot yet.”