Time to look back on the 2010 Masters, the occasion where Phil Mickelson became the proud owner of a third green jacket. In my opinion it was the most impressive Masters to date, action packed and with a diverse leaderboard that kept raising the bar throughout the weekend.
The main story leading into the week was the return of Tiger. The much anticipated return of the world’s most gifted, and of course troubled golfer, was a show stopping performance in itself. Tiger recorded his best first round score ever at Augusta and though clearly off his game, he was still in the hunt on the back nine on Sunday eventually going on to finish fourth. Golf simply is better with him and though he wasn’t at his best and sulked like a nine year old after pretty much every shot, having Tiger in the field just seemed to lift everyone’s game that much more.
The South African challenged fizzled out early unfortunately. Ernie started okay and by his own ‘bladdy’ admission was playing well, but Augusta just seems to always bowl him a yorker or two as he eventually finished 15 shots off the pace with a four round score of -1. Swartzel did his reputation as a new found force in golf no harm by making the cut, and though finishing on +3, he once again showed he has the game and maturity to play and compete at this level. Our best finisher was Trevor Immelman on -2 who showed signs of getting back to his best which was great to see.
And what of the halfway leaders Westwood and Poulter? Well Poulter is a nob and thankfully faded away in round three but poor Lee Westwood missed out again despite playing great golf. It must be hard to come close in the Majors but never win, Lee along with Sergio Garcia, Colin Montgomerie, Kenny Perry, KJ Choi etc, for them golf must be really heart-breaking at times. For this very reason the Majors are just that much more special and what keeps these guys trying harder each year. Out of all the guys who are bloody brilliant and haven’t yet won a Major, I really hope Lee is the one who can shake the monkey soon.
But over to the champions – five shots back at the beginning of the back nine on Saturday, Phil Mickelson eagled the par 5 13th, eagled the par 4 14th and came within cocks length of doing it again at the par 5 15th. On Sunday he was simply masterful again and carded a bogey free 67 to eventually win by 3 shots over Westwood.
The shot of the tournament for me was his second at 13. He had just come off a brilliant birdie on 12 to take the outright lead. He then pulled his drive on the famed par 5 and ended up on the pine needles behind a tree. Any other golfer in the world would have laid up with the hope of making a pitch and putt birdie, Phil however blew off such thoughts and pumped a long iron straight at the flag. He missed the six footer for eagle, but that mattered very little, the balls to make that shot is what real champions are made of, and in Phil Mickelson you have a true champion from the school of grip it and rip it.
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