Masters notes: Anchoreds away?
by Al Muskewitz
Apr 14, 2013 | 2873 views |  0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Adam Scott, of Australia, reacts after missing a putt on the eighth green during the third round of the Masters golf tournament Saturday in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Adam Scott, of Australia, reacts after missing a putt on the eighth green during the third round of the Masters golf tournament Saturday in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
AUGUSTA, Ga. – Adam Scott’s playoff victory Sunday in the Masters may have been a wonderful thing for the folks in Australia, but it’s bound to fire up the opponents of the long and anchored putters.

Scott is the fourth player in the last six majors to claim victory using the extended flat sticks. The list includes Webb Simpson (2012 U.S. Open), Ernie Els (2012 British Open) and Keegan Bradley (2011 PGA).

The USGA and Royal & Ancient Golf Club are proposing a rules change to ban the use of anchored putters and a decision is expected soon. The PGA Tour and PGA of America are both opposed to the ban. Masters officials declined to join the debate earlier this week, saying they aren’t a governing body so it would inappropriate to comment before a decision has been made, but they hoped everyone could reach a common set of rules.

Angel Cabrera, the loser in Sunday’s playoff, said he didn’t believe the long putter was a factor in Scott’s victory. Scott made a lengthy birdie putt on the final hole of regulation to grab the lead (before Cabrera tied him with a conventional putter) and a 15-foot birdie putt on the second playoff hole to win.

“I don’t think there’s any advantage,” Cabrera said through an interpreter. “If it really is an advantage, why doesn’t everybody play it? I’m just happy for him.”

Scott, who has used the long putter since 2011, didn’t want to speculate Sunday how his win might reshape the debate. He has been quoted before saying he opposed the ban.

“We are all waiting to hear what’s going to happen,” he said. “I don’t know this is going to impact any decisions at all.

“You know my feeling on it all – it was inevitable that big tournaments would be won with this equipment because these are the best players in the world and they practice thousands of hours. They are going to get good with whatever they are using, it’s inevitable.”

BUDDY SYSTEM: Golf is a game of etiquette and sportsmanship. The latter was never more evident than in the actions of the two playoff participants Sunday.

Masters champion Adam Scott hits a brilliant shot from the fairway on the second extra hole and opponent Angel Cabrera turns and gives him a “thumbs up.”

When it was over, when Scott drained a 15-foot birdie putt to win a well-played playoff, the two players hugged and walked off the green with arms wrapped around each other.

“Unfortunately in playoffs it’s one-on-one, head-to-head,” Cabrera said. “There’s got to be only one winner, and he was able to win.

“I told him I was happy for him, that I know he deserved it and he was going to eventually win it like he did right now. It was just a matter of time.”

Scott called Cabrera’s reaction to his approach shot in the playoff “a nice gesture,” but it wasn’t out of character.

“I’ve gotten to know him a fair bit through President Cups,” the champion said. “I played with him a couple times in them and have spent some time with him. I think he’s a gentleman. To do that at that point is very nice.

“He said a great thing to me in 2009 at the Presidents Cup before we all left. I was on a captain’s pick and my form was struggling, but he pulled me aside and said, ‘You’re a great, great player.’ It was something I didn’t forget and really nice of him.”

TWELFTH OF NEVER: The 12th hole at Augusta National is the most famous par-3 in the world. Many avid golfers have a print of it hanging in their home or office.

If Kevin Na and defending Masters champion Bubba Watson have one they might consider covering it up for a while.

Both made 10 there Sunday. That’s 10 – triple-par plus one.

Na hit three in the water before putting a fourth tee shot into play behind the green and not getting up and down. He hit 8-iron on all the shots.

“It happens,” Na said. “I went for the flag. Obviously you’re not supposed to, but I’m back of the field, trying to make a birdie. Maybe a 1. I hit a bad shot and wanted to try it again and hit another bad one.”

Going to the drop area would’ve given him a difficult shot, so he re-teed. And re-teed again.

“I tried to hit the same shot over and over again and it just wasn’t happening,” he said. “(Just) trying to pull off a shot that is maybe a little low percentage, but I got nothing to lose.”

Misery loves company, and Na got some a little while later when Watson made the same score.

He also put three balls in Rae’s Creek – a 9-iron off the tee, one from the drop area and one from the back bunker. He made a 12-foot putt for 10.

“If you’re not going to win, you’ve got to get in the record books somehow, so I’m a guy who got a double-digit score on a par-3,” Watson said.

BY THE NUMBERS: The last five Masters champions have shot a combined 16-under-par on the back nine, 17-under if you count Scott’s winning birdie in the playoff. … The hole Cabrera birdied to force the playoff was his 900th Masters hole.

Sports Writer Al Muskewitz: 256-235-3577. On Twitter @almusky_star.
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