The Masters was amazing theater Sunday. CBS did the best it could with so many names popping into contention on the back nine, although we feel Tulsa's Bo Van Pelt got short thrift even though his rise into true contention was meteoric and brief.
After Bo eagled 13 and 15 to get to 10 under and within a shot of the lead, it would have been nice to see his tee shot on the par-3 16th, particularly as that proved the beginning of his undoing, as he apparently put it in a position from which it was impossible to get the first putt close, leading to a bogey.
On 17, we didn't see his drive, approach or first putt, just the missed par putt that led to a second consecutive bogey and Bo falling out of contention. Still, a great job by Van Pelt, who is the cover story of the debut issue of Golf Oklahoma just arriving in your pro shops and mailboxes in the next day or two. The new website www.golfoklahoma.org will also be going live later this week. His eighth-place finish is one of the best by an Oklahoman in the Masters (see Dave Sittler's column in today's Tulsa World).
More Masters thoughts: The demise of Tiger Woods' ballstriking has been greatly exaggerated. Some of the shots he produced were simply amazing, a combination of talent, feel, touch and intimate knowledge of Augusta National. Some of the best were his perfectly placed 3-wood approach on the par-5 eighth hole leading to eagle and the way he spun the ball close on the par-3 sixth hole, landing in the middle of the green with hook spin and riding the ridge to the dangerous left side pin placement.
Yes, his charge sputtered on the back nine, particularly missing the short eagle putt on 15. But for all those out there who are claiming that if he made that and took the outright lead it would have had this huge psychological impact on the rest of the field, those days are thankfully over.
Yes, Rory McIlroy choked on the 54-hole lead, but he looked shaky from the first hole on and it had nothing to do with Tiger. Woods' front nine charge certainly didn't slow the likes of Jason Day, Luke Donald or winner Charl Schwartzel (birdies on holes 15-18). No one in contention was giving Tiger a second thought, which is a far cry from the way it used to be.
David Feherty's man crush on Woods got out of control on the 15th after Woods stiffed his second shot to within a few feet for eagle. Feherty started gushing about what an incredible story it would be if Tiger were to win after all he's had to go through this week. What adversity Woods has had to go through that wasn't faced by every other golfer in the field was never specified. Some missed putts? Please. No golfer in the field deserves less sympathy for "what he's had to go through" than Tiger, whose adversity is all of his own creating. The fact that he no longer exerts any psychological control over the field and will have to earn his future victories like everyone else is wonderful for the game.
As for Schwartzel, who knows whether we're witnessing the start of a tremendous career. His mentor Ernie Els has been expecting this and says his swing is as good as anyone on Tour. Anyone who can birdie the last four holes in The Masters to win on a wild Sunday is up there with me. What a memorable finish to an incredible tournament.