April 11, 2005

'An Earthquake Happened': Tiger Woods on the shot that won The Masters: "I was just trying to throw the ball up there on the hill and let it feed down there and hopefully have a makable putt. All of a sudden, it looked pretty good, and all of a sudden it looked like really good, and it looked like how could it not go in, and how did it not go in, and all of a sudden it went in."

posted by rcade to golf at 07:50 AM - 28 comments

I was clicking around earlier and found loads of good stuff all over the net about golf. Who woulda thunk it? Remember the days when golf broadcasting was boring? But now they're zipping from one shot to the next and using tape delay to great effect. But what was up with not showing the back nine of the third round Sunday morning? Talk about missing out on the ratings. Maybe it's a contractual thing with the Masters but I've got to question that decision.

posted by ZDYOLDMAN at 08:36 AM on April 11, 2005

I edited the post to add a link to the live footage of Tiger's chip. It gets bigger with each replay.

posted by rcade at 08:59 AM on April 11, 2005

Was it just me, or did you find it frightening how pedestrian Tiger looked down the stretch (The Shot excepted) and still was able to win?

posted by smithers at 11:38 AM on April 11, 2005

I was glued to the set as much as possible. I wish there were some other golfers that captured my interest as much as Tiger. I mean, obviously over the past three years there have been plenty that have played better. Something about him winning tournaments by 8, 9, 10 strokes and then winning four in a row just makes all other golfers, even when they're on their game, boring by comparison.

posted by vito90 at 12:24 PM on April 11, 2005

As the guy that provided the video wrote, that would make an awesome Nike commercial. Man.

posted by worldcup2002 at 12:27 PM on April 11, 2005

The only difference between Tiger (who despite what he might have said had a so-so final round, especially in his short game) and DeMarco (who played way over his head and had an awesome tournament) was that Tiger kept giving himself opportunities to make great plays, on every hole. That extra 30-60 yards he had off every tee was a good start that way. It gave him wiggle room to try some more adventurous shots when chance and providence required them. He was going to make a shot like that chip at 16 at some point during the round. It was only a matter of when. That doesn't make it any less phenomenal. But like he said, after he hit it, he was just watching it like all the rest of us.

posted by chicobangs at 01:44 PM on April 11, 2005

Thanks for the video link, rcade. Yeah, ZDYOLDMAN, I also felt ripped off that we didn't get to see Tiger make his charge up the leaderboard in the morning either. Hopefully, whatever contractual obligations led to the lack of live network footage will be cleared up as soon as the current contract can be renegotiated. chicobangs, well, "only a matter of when" is pushing it a little, don't you think? In the past two years, Tiger also gave himself opportunities to make great plays on most every hole, but they didn't drop, even though he always (as all great competitors do) believed that it was "only a matter of when". What made yesterday's shot so special was that finally probability, belief, necessity, and reality all aligned themselves together in that one instant.

posted by platocave at 02:10 PM on April 11, 2005

re: DiMarco played way over his head not what I saw. here's a guy with experience playing in the the final pairing last year, who was the leader after something like 4 of the last 8 rounds at Augusta (heard something to that effect someplace), and had some frustrating pars given that he had birdie putts on the front nine that, considered "makeable" or not, were agonizingly (considering the stakes) close to dropping. the tournament was there for him to take. i guess i am quick to discount the Tiger aura factor. DiMarco had a more than fair crack at it and being three shots back to start the round means that the smart money (and pressure?) was on Tiger to win. admittedly I don't know enough about golf to know what level of play surpasses DiMarco's head but on the face of it he had a great final round that was, at times, only an inch away from a different (and better) outcome (you know, considering how he really had nothing to lose and wouldn't have been under the same pressure as Tiger would be, in the lead, when Woods missed some of his own shots by an inch). all in all, a great final round though.

posted by gspm at 02:29 PM on April 11, 2005

If DiMarco holes out that chip on the 18th, he's the champion and we talk about how Woods "choked" in the final two holes. Instead, the ball rolls right over the hole (clipping the pin? They never showed another angle.) and past it by 4 feet and we talk about Woods' "return". I don't think DiMarco played over his head. He's probably the best choice to replace Mickelson as "Best Active Player to Not Win A Major". A sure sign of this fact for me is that in our PGA pool (yah, silly but I won me $80 last month), DiMarco is usually the most commonly chosen player that hasn't won a major. About the shot by Woods on the 16th hole: Does anyone know more about the prelude to that shot? Was he conversing with his caddy much before he took it? Because when the ball went in, Woods seemed extra pumped towards his caddy, and I saw the caddy tip his cap to the gallery a couple of moments later...like he had something to do with the result (more than a normal club-handler would, that is).

posted by grum@work at 03:38 PM on April 11, 2005

What a great show down! Did anyone else think of Sergio Garcia when Tiger was walking around every shot for five minutes? DiMarco didn't back off and (for a change) the announcers were right on point when they said that the 34 DiMarco shot going out was the worst he could have shot. He could have shot 30 there while Tiger was tightening up in a way I cannot recall seeing before. DiMarco had more make-able opportunities then Tiger...but didn't make them. Guess that is why Tiger is Tiger and DiMarco is my new nominee for "best player never to win..." but I'd bet on DiMarco winning a major in the next year based on his recent play.

posted by 15Vikings at 05:49 PM on April 11, 2005

Ah, it seems like just last week I was reading an article called "Is Tiger Woods Still Relevent." Things change pretty fast.

posted by Joey Michaels at 06:44 PM on April 11, 2005

All this talk about "if that chip goes down then DiMarco wins" is nonsense. Tiger would've had a putt for par and a tie that would've sent it to a playoff. Saying "well if things had gone differently then they would've been different" then you can't stop me from saying "if DiMarco had made that chip then Tiger would've made his putt" now can you? If ifs and butts were candy and nuts, every day would be a holiday.

posted by ZDYOLDMAN at 08:05 PM on April 11, 2005

the "if that chip goes down then DiMarco wins" nonsense is just one tiny thing on his mind today. he's probably rueing a good half dozen missed opportunities. so in the bigger picture he's got a golf cart full of ifs, ands and buts and not just the chip on 18. of course there is no logic in saying that if DiMarco makes any of the shots he missed that Tiger would not have responded in kind. but were it not for Tiger being so high profile the story might have more emphasis on DiMarco's missed opportunities. stirring!

posted by gspm at 09:43 PM on April 11, 2005

Everyone's right. DeMarco was full value for being there through 73 holes, and if he'd won it wouldn't have been undeserving, and would have been just as feel-good a story on the other side. Also, he got paid on Sunday, and not just in second place prize money. Endorsements, stature, marquee value, all went way up. He's a true-blue second-tier golfer now, just behind the Big Four, and another few wins (a major among them hopefully) and he'll be right there. And DeMarco will get that chance. Though if he waits as long as Mickelson had to wait before he wins a major, I'll be shocked.

posted by chicobangs at 11:33 PM on April 11, 2005

Despite (or maybe due to) being somewhat the worse for drink at the time, I called Tiger's tee shot at 17. I believe my exact words were just after he'd holed out at 16: "That lunatic's too excitable - bet you he tries to drive 17 - and I bet you he wings it straight right - in fact, the only question is whether or not he'll wing it far enough to get to the 15th fairway and have a shot back to the green. Any more of that red?" I think the story is that Tiger had a bit of a mental collapse over the last two holes - he got away with it, but he made at least two wrong decisions (tee shot at 17 and second to the last). And that he has a funny hat tan. And that Poulter had three cold-blooded shanks *smirk*

posted by JJ at 03:56 AM on April 12, 2005

Ah, it seems like just last week I was reading an article called "Is Tiger Woods Still Relevent." Things change pretty fast. I think that article was dead on, and I thought of this part as I was watching the final round:

With Woods, the world is always just one major championship away from another bout of Tigermania. One more Masters victory and the troubles of '03 and swing changes of '04 will be quickly forgotten. He'll be back and bigger than ever. Another major disappearing act this week at Augusta, however, and his mystique will continue to slowly crumble. The talk of catching Nicklaus and the 18 major titles will soon turn to talk of whether Tiger can win another major, period, not whether he can win another 10.

posted by rcade at 07:11 AM on April 12, 2005

According to a comment on the shot video site, Woods hit a shot on the front nine that caused DeMarco's ball to slide off the green, presumably because of how close it landed and the sado-masochistic glass-like smoothness of Augusta greens. This brings to mind a question I had about the two-second delay and subsequent fall of Woods' putt on 16. He and his caddy were walking up to the hole, excitedly, trying to will it to go in. Could their movements have been what caused it to drop? And if so, is that legal by the rules of golf? Some golfers, such as Craig Stadler, would have an advantage simply by jumping up and down in dismay at a putt that dances at the edge of the cup without going in.

posted by rcade at 07:29 AM on April 12, 2005

that shot on the front nine didn't land anywhere near (say within 30 feet) DiMarco's ball. The replays they showed weren't very clear and one wag suggested that the ball, in a very precarious position to start with, had started to roll before Tiger's ball landed. ther others tried to tie the two events together but I wasn't convinced.

posted by gspm at 07:34 AM on April 12, 2005

Also, the greens weren't very glass-like this weekend, especially for Augusta. Two days of rain apparently softened them quite a bit.

posted by chicobangs at 09:08 AM on April 12, 2005

So - should he (Tiger) have been penalised for playing his shot before that of his playing partner had come to rest? (of course, the answer is "no" because not playing while your playing partner is playing is an etiquette thing, not a rule thing - but still - no manners) And rcade - jumping up and down on the green to make your ball go in the hole is not allowed, no (otherwise the Wlarus would have won way more majors). If your ball sits on the lip, you're allowed a reasonable time to walk to it, and then no more than 10 more seconds before you tap it in. Sam Torrence had one sit on the lip a number of years ago. He waited and waited (for more than 10 seconds) and finally it dropped, but he got penalised for waiting too long. He (probably rightly) complained that the waiting ten seconds rule only applies to a ball that has stopped moving, and as his subsequently fell in, it clearly hadn't stopped moving. Furthermore, had he hit the ball within the ten seconds (and it WAS still moving) he would have been penalised for hitting a moving ball. Still - couldn't have happened to a bigger idiot. If Tiger continues to win majors at his current rate (one a year), and we assume that very few people win majors when they've passed their 40th birthday, he's on schedule to win... 18. Mind you, then he'd probably claim to have surppassed Nicklaus by virtue of having won one more US Amateur than the latter did.

posted by JJ at 09:15 AM on April 12, 2005

All that's true, JJ, but really, it's hard to call foul on any of that. No one on the course called foul, and one would think that at the Masters of all places, attention would be paid to the even the most picayune rule interpretation. Tiger would never claim to have passed his personal hero on a technicality. Both Woods and Nicklaus have bent over backwards to be classy and deferential to the legacy of the other, and if Tiger winds up with 18 majors, there'd be plenty of room for the both of them at the top of Golf Olympus. But seeing as golfers tend to peak through their 30's, Tiger is set to make that discussion moot in short order.

posted by chicobangs at 10:24 AM on April 12, 2005

He's already claimed the grand slam on a technicality, and I don't get "classy" from him at all. I was only messing - he didn't do anything wrong on the 16th - but I'm not so sure about his illegal tap in from earlier in the week: The talking point around Augusta yesterday morning was the fact that when play had been terminated the night before, Woods had been carted off on a buggy with a green-jacketed official at the wheel to review evidence of a possible infringement earlier in his round. It is not sufficient in golf at this level to persuade the referee that you are playing within the rules. It seems that you have to convince the television viewers, too, and CBS, the host broadcaster, had been assailed by punters phoning and crying foul in reference to Woods’s tap-in on the 14th. The foul, they said, was his stance. Rule 16e states that a player must not putt with a stance astride of, or with either foot touching, the line of the putt. Television replay confirmed that Woods was extremely close to the line of legality and thus a two-stroke penalty. Will F. Nicholson, the competition committees chairman, ruled it inconclusive. It all smacks a bit of the decision Ernie got last year when he hooked one into the jungle on 11 in the final round and was told by the Augusta official that the stuff he'd hit it into was "piled for collection" so he could have a drop. Piled for collection... 40 yards into the forest... with grass growing through it. Indeed. Something tells me a top five player might not have gotten such a good decision.

posted by JJ at 11:55 AM on April 12, 2005

OK - So between this, and the fact that he's won 3 times this year already, is back to number 1 and leading the money list the question shouldn't be - Is Tiger irrelevant? But, Are golf fans idiots?

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 03:26 PM on April 12, 2005

A couple points: 1) If Tiger says in any interview he meant to hole out the chip on the 16th, he's full of shit. He did a masterful job of what the 16th green gives you -- a small area to stop the ball in and have it feed safely to the hole. The miracle of that shot was bouncing the ball on the fringe and STILL getting the sumbitch to stop in the right spot. 2) While Woods was on that hole, I handed my father-in-law a pack of 2001 Upper Deck SP Authentic golf cards to open and he pulled a Tiger Woods autograph -- $300 to $400 worth of autograph. All I got was an Ian Baker Finch auto, but my new bestest dad gave me the auto back. Yay for father-in-laws! 3) Here's what I really want to know: what did Tiger say to DiMarco on the 18th green before DiMarco's par-saving putt? I'd swear to GOD he said rather forcefully, "Make it." If so, that would be the greatest moment in golf history -- Woods telling his competitor to make the putt to force a playoff so he wouldn't have to back into his fourth green jacket. Anyone else see that?

posted by wfrazerjr at 04:07 PM on April 12, 2005

1) If Tiger says in any interview he meant to hole out the chip on the 16th, he's full of shit. I read somewhere that he said it was "a fluke". You don't chip to hole it out from there, you do it to get close enough so you have a shot at making par.

posted by grum@work at 11:35 PM on April 12, 2005

wfrazerjr - I was watching with a bunch of friends and debate raged for an hour after it finished about what was said. Some of the options: 1) Good luck. (If he said that, or anything like that, he's a nasty piece of work - that would have been sheer gamesmanship in my book) 2) You're a shit golfer and I hope you miss. (Not likely) 3) Chris, mate, your flies are open. 4) Chris, honestly, green just isn't your colour. What I think he actually said, and the only thing I can think of that it would have been OK for him to say, was "Did you put it back?" - DiMarco had moved his marker to get it out of the line of Tiger's putt. It's standard practice if someone does that for you to remind them to put the marker back before they replace the ball (if they fail to do so, they incur a penalty). If he said anything other than that, he was clearly trying to mess with DiMarco's head and is therefore a dick.

posted by JJ at 04:21 AM on April 13, 2005

Relevant? RELEVANT? If Tiger Woods is with 3 shots of the leader on the last day of a Major, he is a threat to win. The guy is MORE than relevant. He is simply amazing.

posted by NoEscape at 04:53 AM on April 13, 2005

If Tiger Woods is with 3 shots of the leader on the last day of a Major, he is a threat to win. What's that comment based on? He's never won a major that he didn't lead after 54 holes, and he's blown more than a couple. I agree with rcade's agreement with whoever wrote the "relevant" article - he wins the Masters and the talk is of a possible grand slam - but if he'd lost it, the talk would be of a possible terminal decline in form. I have to say, I'm just not buying the fact that "he's back" to where he was. He absolutely is not. The IMG/Nike/Tiger Woods publicity machine will make much of: 1) Holing the chip on 16. 2) Winning the playoff with a textbook birdie. 3) Climbing the all-time major winners' league table 4) "This one's for you, Pop." 5) Back to world number one. The same machine will gloss over the fact that: 1) He played the last two holes of regulation play like a mindless idiot. 2) He gave up a five shot lead in the final round. 3) He putted off a green into a water hazard... again. It's not that I don't like him - I do - but I don't like what comes with him. I don't like the revisionist way he and his team talk about his former glories. I saw a 'documentary' all about him on the plane home from South Africa a few weeks ago - I nearly barfed. I cannot describe its sickening awfulness. It would seem I'm not the only one who has seen it mid-air and had to reach for the sick bag: Richard Williams from the Guardian did too.

posted by JJ at 08:19 AM on April 13, 2005

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