Yesterday afternoon’s warm sunshine over Augusta, that reflected the outstanding second round of 67, five-under-par, by Fred Couples, was temporarily eclipsed at the end of the day by the swirling storm of Tiger Woods.
Having arrived in Augusta with so much hope, and promising his finest golf, Tiger’s swing deserted him on the back nine yesterday, which is literally the last place in the world where a golfer would wish it to happen. Once his swing had bolted, so did Tiger’s composure, and his clubs made an early bit for the exit too, as Tiger dropped his nine-iron over his shoulder on the 16th tee in despair, before a petulant kick sent the offending club spiraling to the back of the tee.
Kicking clubs on the 16th tee at Augusta? It was back in 1967 that Augusta’s founder and ‘President in Perpetuity’ Bobby Jones wrote; “In golf, customs of etiquette an decorum are just as important as rules governing play… excessive demonstrations by a player or his partisans are not proper because of the possible effect upon other competitors”.
Woods’ playing partners yesterday were Spain’s Miguel Angel Jimenez and South Korea’s Bae Sang-moon. Forty-eight-year-old Jimenez is playing in his 14th Masters this year; Woods could have picked up his bag, spun it over his head and launched it into the lake in front of Augusta’s 16th tee, and battle-worn Jimenez would not have flinched. Twenty-five-year-old Bae, on the other hand, is making his Masters debut this week – he is a PGA Tour rookie given the daunting challenge of playing with Woods for the first two rounds – a difficult task even if Woods was the model of Augusta’s expected behaviour. What an unlikely vision.
Japanese amateur Hideki Matsuyama spoke yesterday of the smiles and support he received from playing partner Tom Watson, despite the language barrier between the two. Watson finished on seven-over-par to miss the cut by two. Watson may be 62, but missing the cut would have hurt nonetheless.
At the age of 36, Woods has 14 Majors in the bag, but he still has a lot to learn.
As for Bae, he emerged from Hurricane Tiger unscathed, at two over par and a shot ahead of his chief distractor. Today he has a third-round pairing with another 25-year-old Masters rookie, American Kevin Chappell, so the third round should be a breeze.
Article courtesy of Mercedes-Benz, International Partner of the Masters Tournament