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Monday, April 12, 2010

Tiger may have set the table but Lefty carries the day

Now that the lights have all gone out, the non-Georgians have filtered to Ben Epps airport, and the grounds crew is repairing all of the divots, the PGA has a chance to asses the results of the 2010 Masters and it appears they got everything they wanted. Firstly, was Tiger’s return, which had every media outlet with more that two employees requesting media credentials, TV ratings up an phenomenal 50% over last year and 80% over 2008, with 4.94 million viewers, and having the most “current” media friendly participant win the tournament in Phil Mickelson, makes for a perfect weekend. It’s not just the PGA who was pleased, ESPN and CBS who carried the coverage saw ad revenues almost double, and unique internet users increase 89%. Although the final round did not have the drama of year’s past with Lefty winning by 3 strokes by then, everyone seemed to have gotten what they came for. Hopefully what won’t be lost in theatrics of the weekend is another amazing showing by Phil on Golf’s biggest stage. En route to getting fitted for his third green jacket he a stretch that included back-to-back Eagles and was less than 2 feet away from a third, shot a final round 5-under-par 67 with a series of great par saves and clutch shots, and fully shaken the rep of not being ready for prime time. It was the Brits who faded this time as Poulter and Westwood couldn’t close the deal or hold off the charging Mickelson who turned out to be better at darts as the was throwing them with deadly accuracy all day on Sunday. Now, the question is will Phil take over the title as the “people’s champion” and be able to parlay Sunday’s win into creating a consistent challenge to Tiger going forward as no one has been able to consistently ruffle his fur for quite some time although the Rory Sabatinis of the world occasionally have a shining moment or two. If he can this will be the greatest rivalry in the sport since Arnie and Jack used to drop gloves, but it could polarize the sport as now anyone who was on the fence will surely choose a side and in the tournaments without the crowd control of Augusta could get heated. Rest assured there will be more drama to come and either way the sport will benefit from it, and I’ll be one of those 5 million plus watching. What did you think of the Masters final? How do you think Tiger’s return will change golf if any? Let us know here and in World Sports and Golf Blogs.
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