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How does one explain the inexplicable, the unraveling of the lone active candidate for the title of greatest player ever? This was the task with which the CBS' broadcast crew had to deal on Friday on ESPN's telecdast of the second round of the Masters.
Nick Faldo summed it up succinctly after Tiger Woods fanned his tee shot at the par-3 16th hole, then tossed his club to the ground and kicked it.
"I think we can officially say now that Tiger has lost his game," Faldo said. "And his mind."
"And his temper," Verne Lundquist said.
"He hasn't got a clue how to put the clubface on the ball right now," Faldo said.
More Tiger Troubles
The word that came to mind when Woods shoved a four-foot birdie putt well right of the eighth hole was conspicuously absent on the telecast.
Golf Channel's Mark Lye, meanwhile, expressed it in written form on Twitter. "Yippee," he wrote. "I'm not happy...just describing Tiger's stroke."
Nick Faldo and Peter Oosterhuis did dissect it in this exchange:
Faldo: "Hello, hello."
Oosterhuis: "That was nasty, wasn't it?"
Faldo: "That was a block."
Oosterhuis: "Rhythm was not good, not smooth."
Woods faced another four-footer at nine, this one for par.
"This putt is straight forward. Inside right. Nice and solid, simple as that. Easy read," Faldo said.
"Tiger's always had that amazing ability, as I would describe it, to hit the reset button and forget everything else in the past...But you alway wonder if in the last couple of years there's a few scars with some of the putts he's seen missed."
Then he missed again, this time by pulling the putt.
"Like so," Faldo said.
Phil: 'It's going to have to get firmer'
Mickelson, from his post-round interview with ESPN's Tom Rinaldi:
"I still think that the greens are very soft and receptive. I don't want to say slow, but they're not Augusta-esque. If they become Augusta-esque on the weekend, I think it's going to be very exciting to watch. But if it stays like this I think you're going to see a huge congregation of 20 or so guys on the leaderboard. It's going to have to take the conditions to start separating the players, it's going to have to get firmer."
Ratings reflect hype
The anticipation that preceded this Masters translated to a 10 percent increase in the percentage of households watching Thursday's first round on ESPN, from 2.1 in 2011 to 2.3 on Friday. The average number of viewers was in excess of 2.6 million.
Bob Estes, responding to Woods having verbally violated one of the Ten Commandments: "I don't think you'll be seeing Tiger at any of the sunrise services in Augusta Sunday morning."
France's Thomas Levet: "Temps parfait a Augusta ,il va y avoir du spectacle ,Tiger ,Rory ,Luke ,Miguel ,Fred et les autres ..a tout a l'heure !!'"
Comment: We plugged it into an internet translator, which produced this: Perfect time has Augusta, there is going to be show, Tiger, Rory, Luke, Miguel, Fred and the others has everything has the hour!!"
-- John Strege