Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Masters scorecard: winners, whiners and losers

The (Westchester, N.Y.) Journal News

AUGUSTA, Ga. - Tiger and Stevie, what a team. Like Stockton and Malone, Abbott and Costello, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Woods and Williams were destined to end up hip to hip, tee to green. The stone-cold American and the cheery Kiwi were scheduled to conquer the world together, without any marital stress, until they stood on the third tee at Augusta National Sunday and debated their saber of choice.

Tiger wanted iron, Stevie wanted driver. Tiger chose driver. Tiger hit driver toward the azalea bushes nearest this stunned observer. Tiger hit a lefty shot out of the cones, sticks and straw. Tiger left himself with what he called one of the toughest shots on the course. Tiger double-bogeyed the hole. Tiger lost the Masters.

Tiger blamed Stevie on CBS.

I know, I know, he took it back. But not really. Once Woods told millions of viewers that Williams was the one who wanted to scare the green on the short but unforgiving par-4, it didn't matter how often he conceded that club choice is ultimately the player's call.

Stevie Blunder had been outed as man who got too fast and loose with three-peat history, meaning his boss violated the game's cardinal rule: It's never the caddie's fault. Particularly when that caddie's been loyal enough to throw backswing-busting cameras into Skins Game ponds.

Body language experts at the Masters reported a big chill between Woods and Williams across the fourth hole and beyond, as if Stevie was that annoying, talking club cover in the TV ad. You're better than that, Tiger. A lot better. So Woods, the ultimate champ, ends up on the wrong side of this Masters Week scorecard separating the green-blazered winners from the red-faced losers.

Winner: Fluff Cowan - Tiger's former caddie is allowed a smile. Nothing like the ex-wife, traded in for a younger set of wheels, basking in a little trouble in paradise.

Loser: Chris DiMarco - The player who said there would be a woman member at Augusta National before mud-caked golfers play lift, clean and place should get the Martha Burk treatment next time he approaches the Masters gates. At 16-over, DiMarco bailed on the Masters rather than return to the course Saturday morning to finish his 36th hole. "I didn't know you don't withdraw at Augusta," DiMarco told The Gainesville Sun. A source close to DiMarco said the dog ate his conscience.

Winner: Len Mattiace - Big boys do cry. They also understand one faulty flick of the wrists in a playoff can't render moot a forever Sunday round. His weren't the tears of a sudden-death loser, but of a man who would fly home with a fairy tale to share with grandchildren not yet born.

Winner: Annika Sorenstam - Hits the ball about as far as Mike Weir, right? If Weir can win the Masters, she can make the Colonial cut.

Loser: Martha Burk - Dreadful performance at a dreadful rally. If it wasn't Burk's fault that her protest was punctuated by a cross-dressing clown who carried a black umbrella, danced to Aretha Franklin's "Respect," and handed out Hermann Goering quotes, it was her responsibility to round up more than a Volkswagen's worth of activists. Blaming a conservative think tank for buying off supporters - What committed supporter would allow herself/himself to be bought off, anyway? - was a desperate cry for help. Her cause remains noble, but it needs a new leader and fast.

Loser: Hootie Johnson - He put on a great show at his news conference, and you have to respect the man's unwavering faith in his position. But at day's end, Johnson hardened Old South stereotypes and sprayed more graffiti across his own good civil rights past. Now that his Masters weathered the storm, Hootie can play the hero, claim his timetable prevailed, emerge from his 19th century funk and write a letter to Nancy Lopez beginning, "You da ma'am."

Winner: Mickelson - He finally shot a damn good 68 on a Masters Sunday.

Loser: Mickelson - He dismissed a pre-tournament question about which lefty would have all the right Sunday stuff with a standard dose of Dollar Phil condescension. "I think we all know the answer to that," Mickelson said. Well, we sure do now.

Winner: Jeff Maggert - Showed remarkable fortitude by recovering from his two-shot penalty to challenge for the lead, and by birdieing three straight holes after his fatal double-splashdown 8 at No. 12.

Loser: Maggert - We didn't need him following Tiger's lead and blaming his wet and wild misadventures at No. 12 on some poor-raking caddie.

Winner: Canada - We might just make it the 51st state, after all.

Loser: Roy Williams - College basketball's most accomplished golfer lectured the media and treated Bonnie Bernstein as if he were Nixon and she were Carl Bernstein, then took the job he was questioned about. Good luck in Chapel Hill, phony.

Reds 11, Cubs 3
Larkin joins Griffey on DL
Reds notebook: Boone eases Larson's mind

Tigers awful top to bottom
Kent doesn't want to dwell on past
NL: Expos sweep Mets
AL: Godzilla powers Yanks over Jays
Notes from Monday's games
Phillies outfielder Byrd put on disabled list

Newman's agent says cornerback is healthy
Time for Bengals to decide on pick

Successful run in Florida leads Dodds to Princeton
Monday's Results
Today's Games

Determined Johnson starts over in the NBA
Koester gets new start at UC

Tar Heels get their man in Williams
Look at the photos - Jordan isn't the only one in them
Pistons, Spurs grab No. 1 seeds

Masters scorecard: winners, whiners and losers
Teacher says Mattiace is not give-up guy
PGA rookie plays with his idols
34.5 million tune in to Masters, third-most ever
SOPGA results

Senators edge Isles in double OT
Cyclones can oust Toledo tonight

Rising jockey McKee rides winner in RD homecoming

Walton's Green moves up to Craftsman series
The Kid vs. Junior: a dream NASCAR matchup

Tuesday's sports on TV, radio