WOW! Awesome! Outstanding! And other mildly irritating American expressions.
If the opening round of this Masters was ‘quite interesting’ the second day was all of the above. And then some.
From a Tiger charge that ultimately went into an unlucky reverse, to Tianlang Lang’s slow-play penalty and everything in between this was sensational sport. Just wonderful, enthralling stuff.
So let’s sit back and think about what happened and, more importantly, what’s going to happen.
Happily what isn’t going to happen is that my old pal John Paramor will not need a disguise when he turns up at Augusta today. The European Tour’s chief referee is one of the straightest, fairest men I know. Penalising golf’s new young star and China’s hero a shot is the bravest thing John has ever done and, remember, he’s the guy who stood up to a whinging Ballesteros when Seve was in his pomp.
JP will not see it this way. He will tell you he was merely doing his job but by doing preecisely that he has taught this startling 14 year old a lifelong lesson and, along the way, he has sent a trumpet call of warning to the rest of professional golf. It’s about time.
Fact is that Guan was tripped up by his naivety. When a pro is warned he knows what to do and what he does is to send his caddie ahead of him to reach the ball, assess the situation and work out the club needed. Meanwhile the player dawdles his way to the ball so that by the time he arrives his caddie has all the facts and all he has to do is take a club and hit the ball. This is how slow-play is turnd into an epidemic and one that threatens the game.
To his eternal credit Guan accepted his stroke penalty with great, good grace and a maturity far beyond his years. That he then made the cut was justice made flesh. JP did absolutely the correct thing and Guan is still with us. China has no need to rebuild the wall. Good news all round.
Meanwhile Jason Day leads and clearly can win but then so can almost anyone who made the cut. Logically you would think only those on par or better can triumph but, hey, this is Augusta and you just never know.
What will happen today is that someone will shoot low and a few others will blitz out of contention. Tiger is still favourite, of course. His redrop shot at 15 yesterday after his pitch unluckily clattered into the flagstick and then into the water was, for me, the shot of the day.
But here’s a fact. So far Woods is par for 13 and 15 – two pars, a birdie and a bogey. Who’d have thought. Not me certainly.
And here’s a another fact. Angel Cabrera, that sleeping, smokin’ bear of a golfer, the man who goes to sleep and then wakes us all up at a Major, is back in this mix after his birdiefest over the closing holes. It’s a worry. A big worry.
Bring it on.