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Rub of the Green

April 21, 2007

Rub of the Green: Tiger failed to follow usual Masters script

TERRE HAUTE — In the realm of performing arts, it would seem that golf deserves its rightful place in that spectrum, especially when it comes to that rite of spring called The Masters.

Every good play deserves some advance publicity and The Masters always provides plenty of that. Most of it indicated that the tournament would come down to a shootout between the world’s No. 1 player and four-time champ, Tiger Woods, and the defending champion who owns two green jackets of his own, Phil Mickelson.

This was a mistake right off the bat. You see, Tiger doesn’t like a co-starring role with anyone, especially Mickelson. They definitely do not exchange Christmas cards. In fact, Mickelson recently had to apologize to Woods for disrespecting Tiger’s golf clubs.

Mickelson had said something to the effect that he couldn’t believe Woods could play the great golf he played with the clubs he used. It actually sounded more like a compliment to this writer.

It has always seemed that Woods has been loath to acknowledge that there are other players in professional golf who are on a par with his consummate abilities.

Tiger’s too smart to say this directly. When asked who, among the younger pros, he could mention who might be able to provide some stern competition, he answered to the effect that if a player is going to be a contender as the final 18 holes rolls around, he is going to need some experience in that role. Of course, there were no players who fit that description. It is difficult, however, to fault a player who feels he “owns” the opposition and has gone out and proved it as often as Tiger during the past 10 years.

Every play that’s destined to become a hit needs an equally good script, and as The Masters plot unfolded, it proved to be a good one, although one that wasn’t anticipated. Cold, windy weather contributed to some high scores for the first three days of play.

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