Sunday, April 10, 2011

Who won at Augusta? Just about everyone

It wasn't hard to figure out who came out more than satisfied after a fantastic Sunday at Augusta in the Masters.

The biggest winner, obviously, is Charl Schwartzel, the unheralded South African who emerged from a tight pack with a great late charge to secure the green jacket.

It does go beyond that, though.

Come on, admit it. Despite all the off-course ridiculousness, you know as well as I do that Sundays at a major just aren't the same without Tiger Woods in the hunt. It almost felt like a rewind as Tiger shot 31 on the front nine to get in contention. He didn't say much on CBS after his round, but it was clear that maybe Tiger's golf game - the other stuff aside - has possibly started to turn the corner.

Another big winner was CBS. It's a fact that ratings suffer if Woods isn't contending on a Sunday, no matter how many other big names are battling for a major. Those roars at Augusta weren't just from the gallery. They were from CBS executives who could envision the dollar signs in front of them.

By the way, it was a shame to see what happened to Rory McIlroy, the Northern Irish phenom, as things got away from him. But with that kind of game at that age, he'll be heard from again with experience to draw upon.

If you think about it, on the back nine almost the entire world had a rooting interest with countrymen in the mix - Europe (Luke Donald and, to a certain extent, Angel Cabrera), Australia (Geoff Ogilvy, Adam Scott and Jason Day), North America (Woods) and Africa (Schwartzel).

I'm not much of a golf person, but there's a certain something that's alluring about Sunday at Augusta. And this final round of the Masters not only didn't disappoint. It may well go down as one of the best there's ever been.

- Chris Lillstrung


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