Last week, I wrote that if Tiger Woods miraculously pulled off a win in his return to golf at the Masters, which turned out to only add to this hoax, there would be no closure to go along with his tainted green jacket.
Thanks to the golf gods — who we now know mostly likely aren’t Buddhist — and champion Phil Mickelson for bestowing the ending they did on us Sunday evening. It was the type of ending that should occur only along Magnolia Lane, and it was the ending needed after months of deception from the face of golf.
It has been almost one year since Mickelson took his indefinite leave of absence to tend to his wife, Amy, as she was diagnosed with breast cancer last May. This week marked the first time Phil and his family traveled to his tournament since he came back to golf.
And it goes down with the all-time classics, whether it’s the 2006 Indianapolis Colts winning Tony Dungy’s first Super Bowl a year after his son committed suicide, or Connecticut winning their bowl game this past season after cornerback Jasper Howard was murdered in-season.
How sweet is it for Amy Mickelson, especially as she was able to celebrate the biggest win of her husband’s career with him in person?
Prior to the final round of the Masters, Phil said he was unsure if his wife would have the energy to make it to the course due to her recent cancer treatment.
“I want to recognize my family,” Mickelson said. “She’s an incredible wife and an incredible mother, and she has been an inspiration for me this past year in seeing what she went through.”
“Incredible” is the right word to describe the entirety of Mickelson’s week at Augusta. Pinned against a tree on the par-five 13th on Sunday, Mickelson and his caddie, Jim “Bones” Mackay, chose a six-iron for what may go down as the shot of his career. Mickelson hit a high draw out of the woods to stick his ball three feet from the cup for a chance at his fourth eagle of the week.
What a role reversal. Previously, it was Mickelson who couldn’t make the Sunday jump to catch Woods, who has never won a major after trailing after the third round. Now, it seems as if fate is doing its part.
“I’m going to have to take a little time off and evaluate some things,” Woods said.
Good. The last thing golf wants is more of the same. We heard the malarkey Monday that Tiger was a changed man off the course and his vow to keep his on-course emotions in check. What we witnessed all week contradicted what Tiger had said.
Sure, he acknowledged galleries and spared his signature fist thrust. But what about the club dropping and constant cursing we saw and heard after a bad shot? Tiger was all about it Monday, but the control-freak struck again when he claimed the media was blowing it out of proportion after his final round.
“I think people are making way too much of a big deal of this thing,” Woods said. “I hit a wedge from 45 yards and basically bladed it over the green. So I’m not going to be smiling and not going to be happy.”
Woods had the perfect opportunity at Augusta to turn things around: the setting, the people and — to an extent — our sympathy. And apparently, Phil Knight’s, too.
For his return, Nike filmed a commercial depicting Woods staring at the camera, with the voice of his late father rapid-firing questions at him about his mistakes. It was an embarrassment and a money-maker for Woods at the same time. It was Tiger at his best, campaigning for our sympathy during this so-called life of integrity. Why is Tiger financially benefiting from his past instead of him shelling out some of his millions to charitable foundations or his Buddhist religion, something Tiger tells us now is a major part of his life?
It all points to a Tiger Woods that still doesn’t get it and never will, unless he starts to show us and stops telling us.
But there was no need to tell after 2009 Masters champion Angel Cabrera donned Mickelson in his third green jacket.
The deserving man won, finally. Strike up that signature Masters tune on the piano, because amid the dogwoods and setting sun was the perfect storyline. A storyline that will rightfully live in our hearts for a long time.