Tee to Green: Congrats to Scott; goodbye to security
By Andrew Gaddess, Golf Editor
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Let's get right to it.
First, I want to say congratulations to Adam Scott. His British Open collapse last year was painfully memorable, but he vindicated himself Sunday at the Masters. And he did it with the (long) putter, which is surprising, considering how that club failed him at Royal Lytham & St. Annes.
If you recall, Scott fumbled away a four-stroke lead with four to play. He missed par putts on 15 and 16 (the second one from inside five feet), found a bunker and bogeyed again on 17, and missed a 12-foot par putt on the last, which would have forced a playoff with Ernie Els.
It was a textbook collapse, but Scott flipped the script Sunday at the Masters. His 22-foot birdie putt for the lead on 18 was huge. And he didn't wilt after Cabrera forced a playoff.
"El Pato" had the upper hand more than once after regulation, but Scott responded each time. Especially impressive was his third shot on the first extra hole. Hitting from nearly identical spots in front of the green, Cabrera nearly found the bottom of the cup, and left himself a tap-in for par. I thought this was the end for Scott. The moment had enormous weight. He needed to leave himself a makeable par putt, and CBS did a great job capturing the intensity of the situation.
The camera was positioned behind Scott, and you got a great feel for his perspective -- and predicament. You saw the angle of the green, and beyond it the throng of spectators, green and white umbrellas open in the mist, eyes fixes solely on the Australian.
My buddy, an assistant pro at Merion Golf Club (home of the upcoming U.S. Open) texted me and said he couldn't imagine playing under that kind of pressure. I responded: "I'd be shaking right now." And I meant it.
But Scott delivered. He rolled his chip within three feet, made the putt to force another hole, and won it there with a dead-center birdie roll from 12 feet.
And let me quickly give credit to Cabrera. The guy is just naturally cool. He plays at a great pace, just steps up and rips it. He has two PGA Tour wins, both in majors, and he nearly picked up a third on Sunday. Google the guy and the first image that appears is him on the course, pulling on a cigarette, bearing a striking resemblance to Tony Soprano.
In a time when most golfers are clean-cut choir boys, it's good to see a guy like Cabrera waddling up the fairway on a Sunday.
BOSTON MARATHON BOMBING
And now, on a somber note, I want to address the Boston Marathon bombing.
First, I want to, of course, offer my condolences to the victims and the people in their lives.
The incident wasn't golf-related, but it was sports-related. And unfortunately, acts of terror are increasingly becoming a part of the human experience, regardless of the backdrop.
I was relatively young (still in high school) when the World Trade Center was attacked. It was hard to grasp the weight and significance of that moment until years later. And by then it was a sort of retroactive appreciation.
But Monday's bombings really got to me. As the reports, videos and images flowed in, I was hit with a numbing depression and sadness. The kind that makes you exhale loudly and indiscriminately.
I think what affected me was that I could picture myself in the victims' shoes. The Twin Towers were a very specific target. As a teenager, and even now, it's hard to picture myself clocking into work at those buildings on Sept. 11. But I live in Philly, and we have the Broad Street Run coming up in a few weeks. I can distinctly picture myself heading down to the race with a few friends, hanging by the finish line, having a beverage or two and waiting for family members to cross the line. And that is exactly what some of these people were doing on Monday. Now their lives are forever changed -- dead, maimed or shattered mentally.
It is a gradual wearing away of our peace of mind. Especially those of us who live in large cities.
I feel privileged and blessed that I grew up with a general peace of mind. That I could go to a baseball game or get on a subway and feel lost in the moment, not thinking about potential bombings or attacks. But I also am afraid that soon I won't have that blissful sense of security. I fear that peace of mind is a luxury we can no longer afford.
When I was driving home Monday, I was shocked that none of the local sports talk radio stations was discussing the bombing. News stations were covering it, but the sports guys were talking NFL Draft. Everyone should have been discussing it.
And I have to admit, by Tuesday I wasn't as engaged, or distraught, or depressed. I went about my day and only remembered the bombing when I saw CNN at the gym. And I guess that is where we are headed. We are becoming numb. Maybe we already are. We will chalk new attacks up as just another part of life in our time.
I'm not here to say we should be blindly defiant in the face of terror. I'm here to lament what once was. Of course, I will keep going to marathons and games and concerts. But that sense of blissful security, I'm afraid that may be a thing of the past.
04/18 14:59:28 ET