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The Masters is unofficial open to local golf year

April 15, 2013
By MIKE MATHISON - Sports editor (mmathison@heraldstaronline.com) , The Herald-Star

Augusta National begs drama like no other golf tournament.

As many of us sat somewhere watching the final 11 holes unfold, many more got the itch to get back on the golf course.

Every year, the Masters is the unofficial opening to the local golf season.

And, once again, a major championship showed gazillions of golfers how to act.

Junior golfers, especially, really need to watch Adam Scott and how he handles himself.

He was just as classy after winning at Augusta Sunday as he was blowing The Open Championship last July.

After reeling off nine pars in a row from holes 4 through 12, Scott birdied 13, 15 and then dunked a Mark O'Meara-like putt on 18 to seemingly win the dang thing.

But, 2009 Masters champion Angel Cabrera had other thoughts.

He flagged his second on 18 for a birdie to force extra holes.

In the pouring rain, no less.

This came after Scott missed a ton of putts, got a break on 13 and jarred it on the 72nd hole.

This came after Cabrera shot 34 on the front for a two-shot lead, butchered 10 and 13, then canned putts on 16 and 18 to play more golf.

Cabrera nearly holed his chip on 18, acting as the first playoff hole, and then, after Scott lasered his second shot on 10, the second playoff hole, inside his really good second shot, turned to the Australian and gave him thumbs up.

Class.

Cabrera missed his birdie putt by "this much" and that set the stage for Scott.

Bam!

Scott became the first Australian to win the Masters.

Ever.

Nine Australian golfers - Peter Thomson, Greg Norman, David Graham, Geoff Ogilvy, Steve Elkington, Ian Baker-Finch, Wayne Grady, Kel Nagle and Jim Ferrier - have won 15 majors, none the Masters until Sunday.

Good on ya mate!

The Tiger ruling was correct.

I am not going to go through the entire thing, but the golf committee at Augusta had a chance to talk to Tiger before he signed his card on Friday and chose not to penalize because they saw nothing wrong.

Once Tiger admitted to what he did, the situation was addressed again and, come Saturday morning, the committee summoned Tiger to the course, talked it over and two strokes were added.

He missed the playoff by four.

Tianlang Guan, the 14-year-old phenom from China, was slapped with a slow play penalty in the second round at Augusta.

That was a farce.

He got tagged during a six-hour round.

It was the first slow play penalty in a major in 10 years and first on PGA Tour-sanctioned event since 1996, four years before the kid was born.

And, the kid, handled the mess like a true professional.

As the locals dust off the golf bag and prepare to play, a few things to make your game better:

The game of golf is played directly behind the game in front of you, not directly in front of the game behind you. In other words, keep pace with the group in front of you and do not care where the group behind you is on the course.

Here is a rule of thumb if your group is behind:

Group steps to the tee on a par 3 and group ahead has left the tee on the next hole.

Group steps to the tee on a par 4 and the group ahead has already left the green.

Group steps to the tee on a par 5 and the group ahead is already on the green.

Play "ready golf" means, when it's your turn, be ready. Pick a club and know the distance when someone else is hitting. Read your putt while someone else is putting.

When in carts and you walk to your ball, please take the club you think, plus the one up and down from it. If you think it is an 8-iron, also take your 7- and 9-irons.

Proceed to the next tee before recording scores.

After you rake the bunker, knock the sand off your shoes with the sand wedge once exiting the bunker and BEFORE you get on the green.

Leave the golf course better than you found it.

Fix your ballmark on the green and one more. Rake a bunker if you see it was not done by someone else.

The last person to putt out should never put the flagstick in the cup.

Choose the correct set of tees to play from.

No, sir, you should never play the blue tees.

Do your best to stay away from "cart path only" golf courses. That messed up situation adds about 30 minutes to a round.

If you are waiting for the group in front of you that is in the fairway, and you have some big hitters in your group, it is OK to allow the short hitter to hit if he knows he will never reach that group in the fairway.

Remember, you aren't that good to get that mad.

Don't give playing lessons.

(Mathison, a Weirton resident, is the sports editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times and can be contacted at mmathison@heraldstaronline.com and can be followed on Twitter at @MathisonMike).

 
 

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