And so we get on with the future. Sorry I’ve been a bit laggard on “Unleashed” of late, but that’s what the Masters does to you. It consumes you. It’s the one subject of the year that gets my absorbed attention, and this one was historic in a linguistic nature. For the first time, the Masters has a champion who couldn’t acknowledge his joy in English. We found out when Angel Cabrera won the U.S. Open at Oakmont that he couldn’t speak English. And he still can’t. You’d have thought that, after becoming this country’s national golf champion, he might have brushed up a bit on our native tongue. Do a little Berlitz-ing, at least. Instead, he still addresses the traditional press conference through a translator.
One thing that does is cost television an interview opportunity. Left more Tiger Woods time for CBS. Never during the championship was Woods even a threat, though both he and Phil Mickelson did slash their way through the field late Sunday. It was strange TV, concentrated on the Woods-Mickelson pairing like a contest within a tournament. This was the kind of thing you’d never expect, a telecast in which the leaders are almost entirely left off the screen while the internal shoot-out between Woods and Mickelson hogged the screen. CBS’ total absorption with Woods is so absolute that at some time there has to be some degree of relief. It must have been soul-searing for the network that Mickelson dominated the front nine and came out a stroke ahead of Woods. Lefty did move into second place for one short while, but that was a close as either got to the lead.
Meanwhile, somewhere back up the track, the humble Kentuckian, Kenny Perry, and the burly Argentine, Cabrera, and the somber Texan, Chad Campbell, were slugging it out. Perry’s early round was a perfect match for his personality. He posted par after par, enough to hold the lead until after the turn. Then, with Mickelson and Woods off camera, the issue was left to the three leaders, and it was a finish that reminded us that this had been some kind of Masters to remember.
If I had it my way, it would have been Perry in the green jacket. He is 48-years-old and probably will never come that close again. He’s down to earth, farm-bred and reared, and polished in a rural sort of way. Nothing flashy, solid average, knows what it is to milk a cow and walk behind a plow. He has his own country golf club outside Franklin, NC, laid it out and superintended the construction by himself.
The perfect red, white and blue finish would have been Perry and Campbell duking it out to the finish. An everyday kind of Kentucky farm boy and a small town Texas ranch type wrangling over Augusta’s green acreage for the Masters green jacket. That would have been my kind of finish. Sorry, Senor Cabrera, but since you already got one American major that’s how I feel about it.