Zach Johnson proved this week that you don’t have to be a bomber to win the Masters. Johnson didn’t go for any of Augusta’s par 5s in two, largely because he doesn’t have the distance. He’s one of the Tour’s shortest hitters, ranked 157th with a 276.3 average.
“I felt like (on No.) 8, I could not get home,” Johnson said. “Two, I could get home if I hit a good drive, but I never really had the opportunity to. Thirteen, I had an opportunity to get there fairly easily, but I didn’t have the proper club. Fifteen, I never really had the opportunity.” That about sums it up.
Mickelson collapses at the start
After tying his worst-ever Masters score earlier in the week, Phil Mickelson managed to top it on Sunday. He opened with a triple-bogey 7 and shot five-over 77 to finish at 11-over. “Even after I made a triple on No. 1, I felt like if I could get back to even by the turn I had a chance,” Mickelson said. “I didn’t feel like I played that well, or certainly not like I wanted.”
Goosen’s remarkable rise
Retief Goosen barely stuck around for the weekend, but he managed to score the only round under par on Saturday, a two-under 70, and a three-under 69 to tie for second on Sunday. In doing so, Goosen became the only Masters player to finish in the runner-up position after making the cut on the number. Goosen shot 76-76 for the first two rounds, putting him at eight over and in a tie for 46th. In 1983, Ben Crenshaw made the cut by one shot and finished in a tie for 2nd behind Seve Ballesteros.
After his round Sunday, Goosen said he wouldn’t have even made the weekend if it weren’t for Zach Johnson. “Zach has been a good player for a long time now as well, and it’s probably thanks to Zach that I’m sitting here because he messed up on Friday for the last three holes for me to make the cut,” Goosen said. “So in a way I’m happy I’m here, but in a way I’m sad I didn’t win it.”
Who’s coming back for ’08?
The top 16 players at the 2007 Masters have earned automatic entry into the 2008 Masters. They are: Zach Johnson (USA), Tiger Woods (USA), Retief Goosen (RSA), Rory Sabbatini (RSA), Justin Rose (ENG), Jerry Kelly (USA), Stuart Appleby (AUS), Padraig Harrington (IRE), David Toms (USA), Vaughn Taylor (USA), Luke Donald (ENG), Paul Casey (ENG), Jim Furyk (USA), Tim Clark (RSA), Vijay Singh (Fiji), Ian Poulter (ENG).
The two players who probably would have had the hardest time making it back, 40-year-old Jerry Kelly and Vaughn Taylor, are now locks for next year. “It’s huge,” said Kelly after his round Sunday. “Still can’t believe it. First top-10 in a major. It has put me in a different league.”
Augusta (finally) looked beatable
Saturday’s scoring average was the third-highest for a third round in the history of the Masters, and the fifth-highest ever. But Sunday was different. The wind was calmer, the temps were warmer and the players were better. Sunday saw 13 rounds under par compared to one on Saturday. The scoring average was 74.33, a solid three strokes lower than Saturday’s 77.35. After his win Sunday, Zach Johnson said it was obvious that the greens were a bit softer for the fourth round.
“You could tell,” he said. “That was very evident on the first hole.” While Sunday’s round felt more like a traditional Masters, this year’s tourney will be remembered as one that felt like a U.S. Open camouflaged in a green jacket. The overall average score was 75.881, which is the fourth-highest in tournament history.