Ramble On Sports

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Posts Tagged ‘Tiger Woods Masters’

Masterful Mickelson rules at Augusta

Posted by Bill Koch on April 12, 2010

Phil Mickelson

Sunday was just one more example of how far apart Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods are in their personal and professional lives.

Phil thrived in the fourth round of The Masters while Tiger wilted. Phil stepped off the back of the 18th green at picturesque Augusta National to embrace his beautiful wife, Amy, and their three kids while Tiger stalked to the clubhouse alone. Phil slipped into his third green jacket while Tiger disappeared down Magnolia Lane, back into his sorry, self-imposed exile.

It was ultimately Mickelson, not Woods, who enjoyed a sort of revival on familiar soil this weekend by capturing the 2010 Masters and the fourth major championship of his career. So much has been made of the fact that Mickelson won this tournament for his wife and his mother, Mary, both of whom are stricken with breast cancer. We here at Ramble On would also like to congratulate Mickelson on his victory and the composure that he showed in dealing with his own grief, but we also want to point out something that we feel like most people have missed – namely, that Phil loves the fact that Tiger is suffering right now.

Just think back to when Tiger was winning all of those major championships at the turn of the decade. He displaced Mickelson, a guy who won a PGA tournament as a 21-year-old amateur in 1991, as the new prodigy. Questions dogged Mickelson about his lack of fitness compared to Woods’ chiseled physique, his seemingly lazy practice habits compared to the long hours that Tiger spent on the driving range and the incredible risks that he took on the course compared to Woods’ steely resolve and unshakable desire to win every event he entered.

Mickelson probably could have won a lot more tournaments over the past 20 years if he pulled a 3-wood instead of a driver out of his bag every once in a while, laid up out of the trees instead of trying some misguided hero shot and just hit fairways and greens. That’s not his personality. Mickelson said once that golf would be boring for him if he just played it straight, and it makes perfect sense. It’s not like any virtuoso in any walk of life to do things the easy way, and Mickelson’s talent certainly can’t be taught.

As far as we knew six months ago, Tiger was a loyal husband and great father as well. The true Mickelson will be hidden to a degree behind closed doors like any other celebrity. What we see between the ropes is the same go-for-broke guy who has the balls to try that ridiculous shot from the pine trees on the 13th hole on Sunday. His 16-under total of 272 was the best since Tiger set the tournament record of 270 in 2001, and both men did so with the same swing coach – Butch Harmon, the architect of Tiger’s early success. Add one more tweak to Tiger’s moon-sized ego, the final indignity during Mickelson’s masterful weekend.


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Tiger back on the prowl at The Masters

Posted by Bill Koch on March 16, 2010

Tiger Woods

Women of Augusta, consider this your official warning.

We here at Ramble On feel obligated to provide the occasional public service, and that’s what we’re trying to do with this post today. It’s just been announced that Tiger Woods is returning to competitive golf in your town, and his off-course prowling gives us some cause for concern on your behalf.

Tiger will make his comeback at The Masters, strolling the hallowed fairways at Augusta National where he’s won four previous green jackets. As with everything else that Tiger does, this is a strategic move designed to protect what’s left (very little) of both his career and his image. The sex rehab-enrolling, Ambien-popping, painkiller-addicted former golden boy of the PGA has lost some of the shine off his star since that mini-soap opera erupted at his Florida home back in November, and you just have to be prepared for what’s headed your way.

Career-wise, this was always the move Tiger would have made. He wants to break Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major titles won, and he’s not going to be able to do that by hiding out on his yacht or hanging in Hattiesburg with the rest of the rejects who weren’t cast by Dr. Drew on VH1. Augusta suits Tiger’s game perfectly – wide fairways, little wind, receptive greens – and gives him a chance to win immediately. That would put the focus back on his game and take it off his games.

Ah yes, Tiger’s image. It’s been destroyed and he’s been exposed as the fraud so many people thought he was behind the scenes. Tiger’s nothing more than a shameless liar who cheated on Elin Nordegren, one of the world’s most beautiful women, with a collection of skanks that would have made Ron Jeremy blush. Of course, you won’t hear a word about that at Augusta. The tournament organizers there run The Masters with an iron fist, and there’s no chance that any of the gossip Web sites who will pick through Tiger’s trash cans, tail his Escalade and fly alongside his G4 for the rest of his life will ever be granted a media credential to roam the grounds in search of more salacious details. It’s the perfect alternative for Tiger, who can continue to release his watered-down version of the events that put his life squarely into freefall and watch as the golf writers keep their focus 80 percent on the course.

Tiger will be all business between the ropes. He’ll maintain a respectful distance from his fellow professionals to avoid distracting them before the PGA’s opening major of the season. He’ll stick close to the script in his press conferences – “I was wrong, I’m ashamed, I let my family down” – as he always does. It’s what goes on when he leaves the Augusta National grounds that has us concerned for your emotional health, ladies. Don’t say we never did anything for you.

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