Monday, April 13, 2009
The Price Is Wrong For Kenny
After choking it up big time on the last two holes yesterday then losing in a playoff, Kenny Perry said he was fine with it. While he might have acted all "gold jacket, green jacket who gives a shit" at the press conference, this one hurt for him more than a Bob Barker haymaker right in the stomach. After weathering the storm (and all the tv coverage) from Tiger and Phil's pairing, KP seemed to have one arm in the green jacket with a two shot lead with two holes left. He would have become the oldest player ever to win a major but let it all slip away with some really bad shots on 17 and 18. There is no way he will not be kicking himself all the way back to Kentucky after this weekend. Without making Kenny feel any worse, here are some of my observations from a Masters Sunday that was crazier than George Clooney's blonde, black and white beard in The Perfect Storm.
The first thing that struck me on Sunday was the Tiger and Phil pairing. These two guys couldn't be more opposite. Tiger is an athlete. He is jacked, he is intense out there. He is sponsored by Nike, an athletics company. Phil is a soft, flabby yuppie. He still needs to drop a few more pounds for those tight t's to fit, and the big belt buckle and pinstriped pants look like he is planning on going window shopping after the round. His sponsors, KPMG and Callaway speak to this. Accounting and golf. He would do well in Wellesley, and would probably frequent Brigham's or White Mountain Creamery. Despite these differences though, Phil and Tiger both played pretty similarly with great rounds on Sunday, and Phil hit some of the best shots I have ever seen him hit. A 7 shot deficit was just too much to come back from for both of them.
Speaking of Tiger and Phil, I was pretty disgusted with the amount of coverage that they got, and how much all of the announcers were sweating them. Sure they were playing well and drawing all the crowds, but did we have to watch them walk around the green and line up their putts at the expense of the missing the leaders' shots behind them? It got to the point where the leader Kenny Perry was on a two shot tape delay so we could watch Phil suck in his gut. The announcers were also ready to crown either Phil or Tiger as this year's champion when they were going through the easy stretch of the back nine, despite the fact that Perry was still leading the tournament and had yet to go through these easy holes himself. I understand that Tiger and Phil are a huge reason why so many people tune in, but the final two pairings were seemingly forgotten about by the cameras and the announcers. I was pretty pumped when Phil and Tiger finished their round so that the other guys would actually get some coverage.
Finally, how unlikely was the playoff pairing? Chad Campbell, a quiet guy from Texas with a huge head. Angel Cabrera, a guy that looks like a used car salesman and speaks no english. And Kenny Perry, a 48 year old Kentuckian with a wacky swing. The Masters Champion was coming from this group? Keeping with the unlikely theme, Angel Cabrera managed to save par after hitting his second shot off of a tree and having it bounce back into the fairway. Chad Campbell, who watched Angel rattle around in the trees and Kenny hit his shot short and right, seemed to be in the best position to win but then hit his shot into the sand, splashed one close and missed the putt. Gone. Kenny managed to take the playoff to a second hole against Angel, but by then it seemed all the momentum was with Cabrera. Cabrera became the unlikely (and of the three, the most unwanted) Masters Champion on what was a wild weekend with many sub plots in it. On the heels of all this Greg Norman talk, I certainly feel bad for Kenny Perry. KP had an almost Kenny Powers like fall from grace. But he has great memories of the Ryder Cup to fall back on so he can't feel too bad. Go get 'em next year Kenny. Congrats Angel.