Two years ago today I wrote in The Masters Tradition: “There is one weekend every spring that I clear my calendar from early afternoon until early evening, the weekend of the Masters. I find myself seduced by the beauty of the course, particularly Amen Corner, combined with the challenge it holds for the world’s best golfers and its unique traditions. There is something special at the end of this tournament when the prior year’s winner puts the Green Jacket on the new champion. It was fitting that Phil Mickelson won his first major here several years ago and that Zach Johnson, last year’s winner, will have the honor of putting the Green Jacket on this year’s winner. Both of them entered Sunday at -2 and too far off the pace of Trevor Immelman at -11 to catch him.
Tiger Woods did not disappoint us on Saturday and played himself back into contention at -5. Tiger has won the Masters 4 times and has a profound understanding of the importance of this tournament. If anyone could close the gap of 6 strokes on the final day at the Masters it was Tiger…”
As we fast-forward to this year’s Masters, we know that Tiger set a new record for consecutive days on the cover of the New York Post for “sexploits” off the course, but he chose to return to the Tour in Augusta. It proved to be the right venue for him. Tiger did not embarrass himself on the course and finished 4th, but he was in the hunt right through Sunday’s back 9. Phil Mickelson, the fan favorite, who in many ways represents the human side of every golfer, made a charge on Saturday with back-to-back eagles on 13 and 14 and had a near miss on 15. I believe 3 consecutive eagles in a major would have established a new record! He entered Sunday 1 stroke off the pace.
On Sunday, again on 13, Mickelson found himself with a second shot off the pine straw and a slight view of the flag from between two trees. He took his 6 iron, and with a gambling instinct that has often gotten him into trouble, put his 2nd shot on the green, leaving himself a short putt for another eagle. This time he missed the putt and had to settle for a birdie, but he was not going to be denied his third Green Jacket and ended up finishing 3 strokes ahead of Lee Westwood with a birdie on 18. He then had a memorable embrace with his wife, Amy, who has been fighting breast cancer over the past year. He clearly represented the American Eagle on this special weekend in Augusta.
On Saturday evening, my alma mater, the Boston College Eagles, played the Wisconsin Badgers in the Frozen Four Final at Ford Field in Detroit for the NCAA hockey championship. Coach Jerry York, who has gotten his team into 9 of the last 13 Frozen Fours behind very fast front lines, coached the Eagles to this year’s national championship, their third during York’s tenure. With a flourish of goals in the 3rd period, the Eagles coasted to a 5-0 victory over the much larger Badgers. (York also coached Bowling Green to a national championship prior to coming to Boston College.) The trophy moved from one end of Commonwealth Avenue, home of Boston University, last year’s winning team, to the other end in Chestnut Hill.
Finally, after waiting more than a decade and eventually forgetting about my request to get on the mailing list for Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon, one of the most difficult cult wines from northern California to secure, I received notification that I could place my order for my three-bottle allocation. After much back and forth with myself, I placed my order for a wine that Robert Parker gave a 96-98+ score, but wrote: “The 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon may merit a three-digit score if it continues to evolve as it is currently.”
April has arrived with the sighting of many Eagles!