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No tears shed for Tiger

April 15, 2003|by TIM KOELBLE

koelble@herald-mail.com

How many of you golf fans are in mourning over the fact Tiger Woods did not three-peat as the Masters champion?

After a pair of subpar performances and only making the cut on a last-hole par-saving putt, Woods goes out and shoots a 66 to put himself in a reasonable position to challenge the leaders on Sunday.

You know as well as I that everyone was expecting the Sunday charge to victory by Woods.

The back nine at Augusta National on a Sunday is probably the toughest set of holes to play anywhere on the continent when one is in contention, not that I know that to be a fact personally.

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I had my own difficulties playing Sunday before joining my entourage of playing competitors in front of the tube.

It was obvious by the time he reached the 10th hole, not even Woods was going to tame Augusta and move upward on the leaderboard.

Naw, I'm not feeling bad at all he didn't win. In fact, I almost found myself rooting for Phil Mickelson - I said almost.

Augusta had its usual Sunday crowd-roaring noise.

The fans were roaring approval of the final-day, 7-under par performance of Len Mattiace, who suffered a bogey on 18 that eventually led to a playoff when Mike Weir drained a par-saving putt.

When Mickelson was no longer a threat, along with the likes of Vijay Singh and Jeff Maggert, I really didn't care who won because Mattiace or Weir would be first-time Masters winners. Of the contenders, I probably was pulling for Maggert most of all.

I felt bad for Maggert and the problems he faced on two specific holes that most assuredly cost him the championship. I felt bad for Mattiace and the problems he encountered on the lone playoff hole that led to Weir's wearing of the green jacket.

But NO, golf was again being played as usual Monday and today as it will tomorrow and on and on despite Tiger not winning. Not that I don't like him, but no tears were shed.

Joining New Zealander Bob Charles as the only lefties to win the Masters, Canadian Weir probably put his name at the top of the list for player of the year with his third victory of the season. It might be his only Masters title, but he'll continue to win elsewhere on tour.

Now, if we can just take a vacation from all the Tiger Woods stories for a bit!

And we should also be free from the Martha Burk protest fiasco that generated nothing more than a circus-like atmosphere Saturday.

When the chips were down, Burk found out who her real allies were, and not many of them.

On with the next major.




Tim Koelble is a staff writer for The Herald-Mail. His column appears every other Tuesday. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2311, or by e-mail at koelble@herald-mail.com

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