15th Annual Gerry Dulac Parkway West Rotary Charity Classic
Monday, July 29th
Sewickley Heights Golf Club
Benefits Robinson Twp. Parks & Recreation Department and Parkway West Rotary Charities
Includes: 18-hole Scramble, Gift, Continental Breakfast, Dinner, Auction.
Register online at parkwaywestrotary.com
Special Editions of the Golf Show
The Golf Show LIVE at Kiawah Island Resort in South Carolina, Monday March 11th, 8-9pm
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Adam Scott thought his celebration for a dramatic birdie putt at the 72nd hole was the most exhilarating moment of his professional career. But, when Angel Cabrera upstaged the occasion with a pulsating birdie of his own, Scott got to do it again.
And boy did that feel good.
If one ground-shaking birdie wasn't enough for one day, Scott delivered another amid the raindrops at Augusta National Golf Club, this one a 12-footer on the second playoff hole to win the 77th Masters for his first major victory.
"I don't know how that happened," Scott said when it was all over Sunday. "There was luck there, but it was incredible. It's incredible to be in this position. I'm honored."
The victory was additionally sweet for Scott, 32, because he became the first Australian player to win the green jacket. And he did it by making birdies on four of the final eight holes he played, including the one in the playoff.
It was quite a different finish from what happened in the 2012 British Open when Scott bogeyed the final four holes to hand the title to Ernie Els -- a defeat that caused some to wonder just how Scott would rebound.
"Australia is a proud sporting nation and this is one notch in the belt we never got," Scott said. "It's amazing it came down to me. There was one guy who inspired a nation of golfers and that's Greg Norman. Part of this definitely belongs to him."
Scott appeared to win the Masters at the end of regulation when he made a bending, right-to-left 18-footer for birdie that so many other past Masters champions have made on the 72nd hole. The putt brought a wild celebration from the usually quiet Scott, who pumped and shook his arms in delight and high-fived his caddie, Steve Williams.
But, playing in the group behind, Cabrera upstaged the celebration by stuffing his approach through the raindrops to 2 1/2 feet -- dramatically answering Scott's amazing moment with one of his own to force the sudden-death playoff. Both players finished at 9-under 279.
"There was a split second I thought I had won, but you never count your chickens," Scott said. "It was a spot where we had seen so many guys win and I thought it was my time to step up to make a putt to win a Masters."
It was quite a finish by Scott, who made just two bogeys in the final 49 holes and closed with three birdies in the final six holes of regulation to shoot 69.
And it was an equally pulsating finish for Cabrera, who overcame a watered approach at No. 13 to birdie two of the final three holes to shoot 70 and tie Scott.
For a Masters that had little excitement and few roars for most of 3 1/2 days, Scott and Cabrera provided an electric atmosphere on the 72nd hole of regulation that probably hasn't been witnessed at Augusta National in a long time, if ever.
"I let myself think I could have won, and I let that show a little," Scott said. "Angel hit an incredible shot and it was time to get myself ready to play a few more holes."
Cabrera, 43, from Argentina, was trying to win his second green jacket and third major championship. He came within inches of doing so on the first playoff hole when his chip shot from in front of the 18th green narrowly missed going in for birdie.
And he narrowly missed a 16-foot birdie on the second playoff hole, setting the stage for Scott's winning putt. Scott and Cabrera were teammates for the International team in the President's Cup and they shared a big embrace on the 10th green.
"That how golf is," Cabrera said through an interpreter. "I had that chip on 18, I could have won. Adam is a good winner. I would have been happy if I won, but he's a great person, a great player. I'm happy for him."
Jason Day of Australia made a run at his first major title with the help of two remarkable bunker shots -- a holed shot for eagle from the greenside bunker at No. 2 and a nice recovery for birdie from the greenside bunker at No. 13.
But his chance was derailed when he made back-to-back bogeys at Nos. 16 and 17, right after he had made three consecutive birdies to take a two-shot lead.
Day, 25, ended his third round much the same way, making bogeys at Nos. 17 and 18 to fall from the 54-hole lead. He shot 70 and finished at 7 under, two shots from the playoff.
"That wasn't what I wanted to do," said Day, who finished second in the 2011 Masters. "It was really tough. I think the pressure got to me a little bit."
Tiger Woods tried to make a run on the back nine with birdies on the two par 5s -- Nos. 13 and 15 -- but the world's No. 1 player shot 70 and finished at 283, four back. It was disappointing ending for Woods, who came to Augusta National as an overwhelming favorite but was penalized two shots for taking an illegal drop on the 15th hole in the second round.
Woods, a four-time Masters champion, has now gone eight years without a green jacket.
"I played well, unfortunately I didn't make enough putts and also missed a few shots here and there," Woods said. "I certainly had an opportunity."
Scott got a break at No. 13 when his approach took a right hop off the putting surface and began rolling down the bank to Rae's Creek. But, much like what happened to Fred Couples at No. 12 when he won in 1992, Scott's ball stopped on the slope and he was able to pitch his third to 2 1/2 feet for birdie. That moved him a shot from the lead and was the first of four birdies in the final eight holes, including the playoff.
"I got a break there," Scott said.
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- In America, only one golf course has been the host of more major championships than the Augusta National Golf Club, the annual site of the Masters.
Oakmont Country Club has staged 11 majors since it was founded in 1904, including eight U.S. Open championships. Another one is coming to Oakmont in 2016, nine years after the most recent Open was held there.
In all that time, only five players can uniquely say they have won a major championship at Augusta National and Oakmont, and they are some of the greatest names in golf.
Sarazen (1922) and Snead (1951) won PGA Championships at Oakmont. Hogan (1953) and Nicklaus (1962) won a U.S. Open there.
But there is one more player on that list, and he might seem an unlikely member.
Angel Cabrera of Argentina.
He already was part of that Augusta-Oakmont parlay before Sunday, having won the U.S. Open at Oakmont in 2007, when he outlasted Tiger Woods and Jim Furyk; and the Masters in 2009 in a three-way playoff with Chad Campbell and Kenny Perry.
And he was looking Sunday as though he would join Woods and Phil Mickelson as the only repeat winners of the green jacket since 2000, at least after his dramatic birdie at the 72nd hole forced a playoff with Adam Scott.
And wouldn't have that been something.
Before the 77th Masters even began, Cabrera, 43, was the Andy North of his era. He has only two victories in 16 years on the PGA Tour and both are majors. North won three tournaments when he played the tour from 1973 to 1992, but two of them were U.S. Open titles.
In fact, since his victory at Oakmont, Cabrera's only victory against a full field came in 2012 in the Argentina Open. He also won the Grand Slam of Golf in 2007, but that was against just three other players.
Had he defeated Scott in the two-hole playoff, Cabrera would have been in his own category. He would have been the Angel Cabrera of his era -- three victories, all majors -- and maybe every other era.
Bring Cabrera to Augusta National and his game flourishes like the azaleas and dogwood in Amen Corner. He has made eight consecutive cuts, finished in the top 10 five times and, most impressive, been in the final group on Sunday in three of the past five Masters, including this one.
"I like the challenges, and this tournament, and they are very, very important to me," Cabrera said through an interpreter. "So sometimes they get the best out of me."
Cabrera delivered his best in the fading light at Augusta National, making birdies on two of the final three holes -- none more electric than stuffing a 7-iron from 163 yards to 2 1/2 feet at No. 18 -- to force a playoff.
And, on each playoff hole, he came within inches of making another birdie that might have spelled a different ending.
Granted, Cabrera has 39 world-wide victories as a professional, including five on the European Tour. But he has been so long without a victory of significance that, entering the Masters, he was ranked No. 269 in the world.
And then he does this.
"A lot of work and a lot of faith in myself," Cabrera said, when asked how he explains this latest surprise. "I have a lot of confidence in myself. I'm going to keep on going."
Because of his waddling gait, Cabrera is known as "El Pato," which means "the duck" in Spanish. But he stalks his way around the golf course and, when he would smoked, he looked more like a locomotive chugging down the fairway.
Cabrera still smokes, but he doesn't smoke on the golf course. Instead, he calms his nerves by chewing gum.
"Some golfers have psychologists, I smoke," he once said.
Unlike most of today's tour players, Cabrera has never been to the gym and never had a swing coach. What's more, he never went to school beyond elementary school and began caddying when he was 10 to help make money for his family.
Indeed, Cabrera does not always look the part. But, for several moments on the back nine, he came within inches of being a three-time major champion.
With no other victories.
"That's golf," Cabrera said. "Golf gives and takes. Sometimes you make those putts, sometimes you just miss them. But that's golf."
Phil Mickelson took a bold step several years ago when he played -- and won -- the 2006 Masters with two drivers in his bag.
Mickelson used a "draw" driver when he wanted more distance on some par-4s and par-5s at Augusta National that, for him, required a left-to-right ball flight.
He used the "fade" driver when he wanted more control to land the ball in some of Augusta's firm fairways. The approach was so successful for Mickelson that he went back to using two drivers in the 2011 Masters -- this time with less success.
Players will do anything to gain an advantage, especially when it comes to using clubs that make the ball easier to hit or fly farther than other clubs. Just ask K.J. Choi, who played the 2012 Masters with four hybrid clubs in his bag.
Golfers who use that many clubs with head covers are usually found at South Park, not on the PGA Tour, and not at the Masters.
But Choi merely discovered what other regular players have discovered: That hitting a hybrid, or utility club as it is often referred, is much easier than hitting an iron.
The approach was nothing new for Choi, who carried two hybrids in his bag at Doral and three at Bay Hill in the weeks leading up to the Masters. Most PGA Tour players carry one hybrid in their bag, maybe two, depending on the course.
"In order to contend at major tournaments, I felt the need to get the ball up in the air better, higher, and to be able to stop the ball on the greens better," said Choi, a seven-time winner on the PGA Tour. "And that's why I put the hybrids in the bag.
"You know, when I actually tried it, it made my par 3s much easier to play."
Hybrid clubs have become an accepted and necessary part of any player's bag, even on the PGA Tour.
Higher handicap players use them instead of a 3-, 4- and sometimes even 5-iron because they can launch the ball off the ground much more easily.
Lower handicap players use them because they launch the ball higher and allow the ball to land softer on the greens than a normal long iron.
In its most basic form, the hybrid is a combination of the accuracy of a long iron and the forgiving nature of a fairway metal. They are designed to help players recover more easily from trouble shots in the rough, which is why they are also referred to as rescue clubs.
"I think the worst thing you can do to yourself is wanting to do something, but not having the courage to do it," Choi said. "And I don't want to be the type of person that regrets not testing something out when I feel that it's right."
Hybrids are revolutionizing the way the average player can perform on the course. Long par-4s that used to be unreachable in two are back in play. So are long par-3s. Those were holes players couldn't reach with long irons that were difficult to hit.
Now, club manufacturers have made it easier to hit a hybrid because they can shift the center of gravity to the bottom of the club head, allowing a golfer to launch the ball easier and with more control.
"The average player has a harder time launching 3-wood off the deck and hybrids make it easier to accomplish that," said Chris Marchini, general manager of Golf Galaxy in Robinson. "The other benefit is that the average player today can hit a 3-hybrid or a 4-hybrid a lot farther than they ever hit a 3- or 4-iron. And the consistency is there, too."
While the club head of a hybrid is similar to and made from the same material as a fairway metal (steel or titanium), the face is flatter, the shaft is shorter. The object of the manufacturer, of course, is game improvement: Allowing golfers to hit the ball with distance, accuracy and more ease.
Some manufactures, such as Adams, have started selling combo sets that feature three to four hybrids and irons no longer than a 6-iron. They are popular buys because the hybrids are easier to hit.
But most PGA Tour players carry at least one hybrid in their bag because it can fill in the distance gap between their longest iron and shortest fairway metal.
Just ask K.J. Choi, who knows a good thing when he sees it.