Here's who's hot and who's not after Augusta
The donning of the green jacket tends to blot out the Masters'
subplots, however juicy they may be. Yes, Tiger Woods was the
champion and Retief Goosen the runner-up, but there were plenty
of other winners and losers last week.
TRADITION Fewer past champions, more trees, fewer eagles, more
bogeys and loose talk about a Masters ball. What's next, a green
sweat suit for the winner?
MIDDLE-AGED Americans The flameout of Davis Love III, the
first-round leader, symbolized a lost generation of players
sliding toward irrelevancy. Love (who faded to 14th), Paul
Azinger (missed cut), Fred Couples (36th), Tom Lehman (missed
cut) and Hal Sutton (withdrew) all look increasingly like one-hit
wonders in the majors.
JOS VANSTIPHOUT The failed pop singer turned sports psychologist
became a cult figure when he helped Goosen shake off his
72nd-hole blunder at the 2001 U.S. Open, and he has gotten much
of the credit for Ernie Els's renaissance. It may be time to
rethink Vanstiphout's Belgian voodoo. On Sunday, Els lost his
head on the 13th hole and blew himself out of the tournament,
while Goosen never regained his confidence after an ugly
three-putt on the 1st hole.
JACK NICKLAUS Don't look now, but Woods, 26, is halfway to the
Golden Bear's record of 20 majors.
THE RYDER CUP Jose Maria Olazabal, fourth at the Masters, doesn't
get to play, but Pierre Fulke, who wasn't even invited to
Augusta, does? Sutton gets a nod, but Charles Howell, 29th in his
first Masters, doesn't? Wake us when it's time for the Presidents
DAVID DUVAL Six of the top seven in the World Ranking were
fighting it out on the leader board, so where was Waldo? With
rounds of 74-74 Duval missed the cut--no great surprise since he
has cracked the top 20 only once this season. With a brittle
body, fragile psyche and an often mystifying schedule, Duval
rarely seems ready to play.
GOLF Just when it looked as if the gap was narrowing between
Woods and his competition, Tiger dismantled the field with
frightening ease. Is anyone going to challenge this guy?
GOLF Then again, nothing creates more buzz than Woods winning the
BYRON NELSON At 90, he quietly made his own exit, leaving Sam
Snead as the lone honorary starter. Lord Byron looked all the
wiser when Snead coldcocked a spectator with his errant drive.
U.S. OPEN With Woods stalking a real Grand Slam, the People's
Open now has even more juice.
TOM FAZIO Augusta National's consulting architect pushed all the
right buttons in restoring the course's former shot values. Can't
wait to see what he does with the once fearsome 5th hole for next
MUD Even at the hoity-toity Masters, a little dollop of slop can
send balls soaring off-line. It was fun listening to players
whine about not getting to lift, clean and place on the mushy
ADAM SCOTT Forget Howell and Sergio Garcia--the world's hottest
player (22-and-under division) is this stylish Aussie, who tied
for ninth in his first Masters.
TV VIEWERS The fans at home finally got a peek at the front nine
as well as their first glimpse of the outdoor jacket ceremony.
Throw in the fact that Ken Venturi finally signed off, and this
was probably the greatest Masters ever--for the couch potato.
There are more ugly Sundays in store for the Masters. Believe it
or not, the wet conditions made the revamped course play easier.
When it's firm and fast, train wrecks will abound and making par
will be the path to the championship.
by Sal Johnson
At 26 years, three months and 15 days, Tiger Woods is the
youngest player to win seven professional majors, breaking Jack
Nicklaus's record (27 years, four months and 28 days). Nicklaus,
however, was 25 days younger when he won his third Masters, in
1966, than Woods was on Sunday.... For the fourth time in the
last six years Woods led the field in greens in regulation.... In
his 24 rounds at Augusta, Woods has had 33 playing partners; only
three have bettered Tiger's score.... Runner-up Retief Goosen
played the final 29 holes in two over and had four
three-putts.... Phil Mickelson is 0 for 39 in majors. Among
players who have won majors since 1970, only four needed more
starts to snare their first: Tom Kite (71), Mark O'Meara (58),
Corey Pavin (43) and Ben Crenshaw (42).
A motley crew of LPGA players and caddies attended a taping of
The Price Is Right on April 9 in Television City, Calif., and
veteran Sally Dee, 31, stole the show. Conspicuous in a
bright-yellow LPGA [LOVES] BOB T-shirt, Dee swept to victory in
the Showcase Showdown, scoring a fire-engine-red Dodge Ram
truck, a camper and a six-night vacation in Yellowstone National
Park, to go along with an exercise machine, a dining room table
and a popcorn popper that she had won earlier in the show. The
total value of the prizes was more than $40,000. "The whole
experience was so surreal," says Dee. "My heart was thumping the
whole time. I've been watching The Price Is Right since I was
six years old. It's a part of American culture, ya know?" After
Dee clinched the booty, the other players and caddies (in
matching T-shirts) stormed the stage for some face time with
silver-maned host Bob Barker. Says Dee,"I know what you're
thinking, and no, Bob didn't get handsy with any of the women."
The show is scheduled to air on May 8, and Dee is planning to
host a party at that week's Aerus Electrolux USA Championship.
Tiger Woods in Rush Hour 3? It could happen, especially since
he's one down to actor Chris Tucker. On Sunday the motor-mouthed
Tucker drove from his house in Atlanta to Augusta National to
watch Woods's victory march, and two hours after the final putt
had dropped, he got an audience with Woods in the Butler Cabin.
"Congratulations on a great game, brother," said Tucker, who
later told SI that he beat Woods in a match in Orlando a couple
of years ago. "Not a lot of people know this--and, in fact, I
promised Tiger I wouldn't say anything," Tucker said. "He was
real off that day. He claimed he was tired." Pressed for
details, Tucker grew uncharacteristically reticent. "I've
already said too much."
Among the Augusta National members making the rounds at the
Masters were former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn of Georgia and Frank
Broyles, the athletic director at Arkansas. Spotted in the
gallery: retired slugger Mark McGwire and retired passer John
VOTE AT GOLFONLINE.COM
WILL TIGER WOODS win the Grand Slam this year?
LAST WEEK: Did the changes to Augusta National enhance or detract
from the tournament?
Enhance 74% Detract 26%
--Based on 7,824 responses to our informal survey
COLOR PHOTO: SIMON BRUTY Still Slammin' Snead's ceremonial tee shot was a knockout.
COLOR PHOTO: JOEY TERRILL C'mon down! Barker waved the flag for the LPGA, after Dee (to his right) won big in the Showcase Showdown.