Anybody that has followed golf will probably say that there have been far crazier things that have happened in Augusta over the years. But that doesn’t take away from the confusing and the bizarre from happening this week at the Masters.
First, there’s Tianlang Guan, the 14-year old hotshot who not only stole the show in the first round by actually making the cut, but found himself in the news again in the second round for being penalized for slow play that almost torpedoed the impressive showing he put forth in the tournament. Golf is an interminably slow game and if you’ve ever watched in on TV, it is, in every stretch of the imagination, an exercise in patience. So for Masters officials to penalize him for slow playing the 17th hole in the second round seems harsh, especially since that one-stroke penalty meted against the kid almost left him out of the cut. We get it that rules are rules, but couldn’t you have been a little more understanding to a 14-year old?
Moving from the bizarre to the more bizarre is the case of Tiger Woods. Towards the end of the second round, Woods, who is seeking his first Masters in eight years, made an illegal drop that he himself admitted during his post-round interviews when he said that he dropped the ball “2 yards further back” than the original divot made while hitting his third shot on the par-5 15th hole. That’s something you can’t do, but nobody called him out on it. Not his partners. Not the rules officials. Not even the rules committee. It was only brought to their attention after a TV viewer called in, putting the weirdness of this situation to a whole new level.
Upon further investigation, the committee decided to dock Woods a two-stroke penalty but did not disqualify him for signing a wrong scorecard. Anybody keeping up at this point?
The boo-boos have been inexplicable and one that has put a surreal feel to this tournament. A 14-year old is still playing. The world number 1 was docked a two-stroke penalty for a miscue that nobody even noticed. Aforementioned world number 1 is still in the mix despite calls from players and the media to disqualify himself.
And we haven’t even gotten to Brandt Snedeker who somehow finds himself at the top of the leader board as a co-leader with Angel Cabrera at 7-under. Updated odds on the tournament has Snedeker as the leader though at 7/4 odds, lower than the 11/2 odds placed on Cabrera, seemingly suggesting that Snedeker has the comfortable lead heading into the last round. And that’s despite Cabrera posting nine straight weekend rounds at Augusta under par, the second most in the event’s history.
Adam Scott, who is at 6-under, is the second favorite at 7/2, followed by Cabrera, Woods at 13/2, Jason Day at 9/1, and Matt Kuchar at 12/1.
At this point in the tournament, we’re won’t be surprised if we see more absurdities in the last round of the Masters. The first three days have each had their moments, and we expect nothing less than a doozy to cap off what has become a wild and unpredictable golf weekend.