Masters: Assessing The Course
We'll take a moment away from the Green debate to engage in the Green Jacket debate: Have the leaders of Augusta National toughened the to the point that it has lost its roars, made it "more like an Open", "a survival contest." That is the post-mortem story of the tournament. Read John Hawkins' game story or visit Geoff Shackelford and you'll here plenty from the media. Being one of the few on the other side of debate--I think Tiger's putter might have made this one of the most exciting Masters ever, but did not-- I was curious about our readers would think. And now the letters are coming in:
Michael Lach of Irvine, California writes:
In my humble opinion after playing and watching golf for over 50 ears (also a single-digit handicap), the green coats of Augusta have succeeeded in making this a boring tournament where the luckiest person wins. The greens are so tricked up that a good shot becomes bad, a perfect shot might be a good one. However, a lucky shot that hits on the top of a rise within a one-foot square on the green, and trickles near the hole becomes a great shot...This is luck, not skill. In the US Open, if you hit the fairway, you have a decent chance of making a good-to-great shot, not so at Augusta anymore. The days when someone rallies on the back nine with a 30 to win it are gone, unless it rains heavily and the greens are soft.... The pros now have trouble making birdies on 13 and 15, which were the most exciting holes in the Masters, expecially on Sunday....Quite honestly, I dozed off and not because Tiger didn't charge, but because I knew no one would make it interesting. The winner chopped it around and still won by 3....
Mike, you're in good company. Many if not most of the writers who covered Immelman's win seemed to agree, except about that "chopped it around" part, and took that story line.
I'm not so sure. Eight-under par is a reasonable winning score, one predicted by Justin Rose prior to the event. There continue to be birdie and even eagle opportunities at 13 and 15. Birdies by Woods and Snedeker at 11 and 12 respectively did create huge roars. Despite weather that conspired against charges on Sunday, to suggest that the 2008 Masters was not exciting or that the champion is somehow not the "right" one, is way wide of the mark, in this humble opinion.