The Live Blog, Squared

I’ve done this before. Sort of.

For Masters Sunday, I’m doing it again.

I’ll start when Sobel does. All times Eastern.

1:23: We’re still waiting for the Tiger/Phil group to tee off, but Aaron Baddeley is the only golfer making a move early. He’s two under on his round through five, moving him to three under for the tournament. Follow scores here.

1:38: New to the top ten: Steve Flesch, two under through two holes on the day. He’s five under overall.

1:55: Sobel’s blog is live. And so are we.

1:57: I appreciate that CBS needs to do promo and show all the great Masters champions of yore, but why isn’t there any live coverage before 2 PM on Masters Sunday? It’s not like people would choose the typical Sunday fare of infomercials and ESPN repeats before it.

1:59: From Sobel:

1:44 p.m. ET: E-mail from John at the University of Florida:

I’m not asking about Tiger or Phil specifically, but do you think that somebody in the field today will be able to go low (i.e. 66 or lower) and make a huge move? Just curious as to whether or not the course is receptive to scores being made today.

Look, John, you can email me, too. I’m here. Webmail’s up for right now. Please?

2:01: The Tiger and Phil report: Both par the first after wild drives, and both are on the green for birdie at the second.

Phil sinks it, and Tiger’s got two feet that Jim Nantz is giving him.

2:02: Tiger does make it. He and Phil are both one under for the day and six strokes back of Angel Cabrera and Kenny Perry.

2:03: One shot better than Tiger/Phil is Steve Flesch, now three under for the day after a birdie on the third.

2:05: Tiger does the Tiger Twirl with his driver on three, but he’s left and in the rough. So is Phil.

And we get the nice tribute to Arnold Palmer, teeing off in the sun.

2:07: From Sobel:

2:02 p.m. ET: Tiger and Phil are now All Square through two.

What’s that? Oh, sorry — thought they were the only ones playing out here.

After a pair of nice par saves on the first, they each keep pace with the field by carding birdie on No. 2.

Interesting fact: That’s the first birdie for Woods on the second hole so far this week. About time, huh?

About time. Tiger’s been rather underwhelming on the front nine all week: He’s been unable to crack 36 on the way out even once this week.

2:09: Phil pitches to about six or seven feet; Tiger’s going to have to make a great twenty-five-footer to card a birdie.

2:10: “Hello, friends.” Nantz is with Nick Faldo, who says both Tiger and Phil have 65 in mind.

Tiger’s going to need a few better putts than the one he just left well short on the third; he cleans up for par. Phil can go five under from here on after sinking his short birdie.

2:15: CBS is showing Tiger and Phil exclusively right now.

As I type that
, they show Stephen Ames just missing a birdie.

2:16: Vijay Singh, with a gorgeous shot to get close on the sixth.

2:17: David Feherty, on the Tiger/Phil relationship: “They essentially don’t have one.”

2:19: From Sobel:

2:07 p.m. ET: One reason to really like Kenny Perry today: He’s a terrific ball-striker. So far this week, he’s hitting nearly 80 percent of fairways and 80 percent of greens in regulation.

As long as he keeps it in play, Perry won’t make any big numbers. (In the first three rounds, he’s posted only four total bogeys.) He’s never been the greatest putter, but if he hits enough greens, he’ll almost accidentally make a few birdies.

Yes, there are scores to be had out here, but the player who makes the fewest mistakes and practices the most patience just may claim the green jacket. I think Perry just may be that man.

It’s all well and good to say the player who plays most conservatively will win a major on the final day. But there’s been a surfeit of red on the boards this week. Why couldn’t Cabrera or Furyk or, heck, Tiger throw a 66 up?

2:21: From my comments (I have comments?):

“ANGC dictates that the coverage starts at 2. CBS & ESPN would show every shot of the tourney if they could, but this is how Augusta wants it, so that’s how it is.”

A tradition unlike any other: Building Sunday anticipation.

2:22: My, my, Steve Flesch’s eagle from the fairway on two was an aesthetic marvel.

Beautiful backspin and a pretty little swirl around the backside of the flag.

2:23: Tiger scorches one by the hole on the fourth. He’ll have six or seven feet for par.

Phil follows suit. The CBSers call it “bludgeoning.”

2:25: From Sobel:

2:12 p.m. ET: Phil Mickelson goes 1-up on Tiger Woods.

Damn, did it again. Sorry. Reverting back to my Live Blog from the Accenture Match Play Championship.

Birdie for Phil on No. 3 to move to 6-under. Par for Tiger, he remains at 5-under.

Ha. It’s still 1-up; Tiger and Phil both finish with nice par putts on No. 4.

2:27: Phil’s on the extreme left of the fairway on No. 5.

Tiger’s well right.

2:28: The best round in the clubhouse is even-par 72, shared by Kevin Sutherland and Mike Weir.

Rocco Mediate, heroic second-place finisher from Tiger’s last major, has the worst completed round, a 77.

2:33: The CBS research department has dredged up every conceivable Tiger/Phil statistic. We’ve gotten their majors history (neither has a comeback win on Sunday), their head-to-head history, and their performance in 23 professional rounds together.

All that’s left is a side-by-side comparison of their lunches.

2:35: And the last group is off.

Cabrera crushes one into the fairway. Perry’s not quite as long.

2:37: From Sobel:

2:26 p.m. ET: Tiger and Phil each blow their birdie attempts way past the hole on No. 4, each make their par-saving comebackers.

Just call ‘em The Odd Couple …

“On April 12th, Tiger Woods was asked to remove himself from his usual place atop the Masters leaderboard. That request came from his competitors. Deep down he knew they were right. But he also knew that someday he would return. With nowhere else to go, he appeared in the earlier tee time of his childhood friend, Phil Mickelson. Sometime earlier, Mickelson’s competitors had thrown him out, requesting that he never return. Can two former champions share a tee time without driving each other crazy?”

There’s a good chance that preceding paragraph made absolutely no sense at all.

You have a better chance of winning that Lamar Odom Twitter contest than making sense of that.

2:38: Here comes Lefty.

Mickelson’s birdie on No. 5 trickles in the back door, and he’s just four shots back of the leaders.

2:39: Tiger guts out his par. Nantz tries to quantify mental toughness.

Here’s a hint: You can’t.

Unless you have some sort of synapse counter that I don’t.

2:41: Perry chunks his approach, and Cabrera’s chases right.

Neither of the leaders hits the green in regulation on No. 1.

2:42: From my email (now I have email?):

“So a good score is definitely out there, but it is still Sunday at the Masters. Of the guys in the last three pairings, is there anyone you see completely blowing it?

I can’t see Perry, Cabrera, or Furyk moving too far, as they seem pretty consistent.

Campbell, on the other hand, played his best golf earlier in the week (11 under through 26 holes, 2 over in the last 28, or something like that). And I wouldn’t be surprised to see Sabbatini end up with a 75 or so. Not sure what to think about Stricker though.”

If we’re gauging the chances of the top three, I think Perry’s got the best chance of a blowup. All he needs is one stretch of terrible driving and/or iron play, and his chances of victory are torpedoed.

2:44: Goodness, Phil.

He’s three feet away, if that, on No. 6. Makes Tiger’s ten feet away look mortal.

2:46: Perry and Cabrera get up and down for par at the first.

2:47: More email:

“I just walked into the family room, presumably to watch some of the golf with my dad, as opposed to just myself.

And he’s watching baseball!!!!!!

It’s Sunday at the Masters, and he’s watching baseball?!?!?!? What level of sin would that qualify as?”

Put it this way: You may eat all of his Peeps for life without any fear of cosmic retribution.

2:49: Tiger misses from ten, cleans up for par.

2:51: Uncle Verne: “Phil Mickelson is now within three of the lead.”

And he’s three-up on Tiger, too, after putting in his birdie at No. 6.

2:54: Analysis from people paid to do that:

“Tiger’s really fighting his swing right now.” As for Phil, his “rhythm and tempo” are good.

2:56: From Sobel:

2:34 p.m. ET: E-mail from Andy in Blogs Unknown:

I promise you that Jim Nantz is licking his lips to try for Angel Cabrera, “On Easter, Angel rises.”

Too easy.

I still have my money on a dark-horse: “Touched By An Angel.”

Although that could be miscontrued as kinda creepy.

In related news, Cabrera just hit his opening tee shot about 900 yards.

“Touched” was a CBS property, though. I think the Easter reference is a little too religious. Anyone else have any Nantzisms to contribute?

2:58: Tiger’s ball gets caught by a gust on the approach at No. 7.

Phil’s bends wind, time, gravity. From the shadow of a pine to two feet from the cup.

3:00: That’s not even two feet.

And that shot gave me goosebumps.

3:01: Here’s something for you: Phil is playing like Tiger.

He’s laser-locked with the irons, and making incredible shots from trouble. The biggest difference is that, unlike Tiger, he might well have a chance to come from behind on Sunday.

3:02: Can’t say Tiger’s playing poorly: He’s maybe a foot too strong on a long and winding putt that pops out. Tiger drops the club, clearly miffed, but the putt was a good one.

He just needs to play birdie golf instead of par. He cleans up.

3:04: Phil Mickelson is within two shots of the leader and hasn’t even finished the front nine. One more birdie, and he ties Greg Norman’s record 30 going out on Sunday.

And No. 8 is a par 5.

3:06: Commercial break. Be right back.

3:08: Chad Campbell chips in for bird on the third.

He’s just one back of Cabrera and Perry.

3:10: From Sobel:

3:00 p.m. ET: WOW!

Phil Mickelson from the trees on the right side of No. 7 … to within inches of the hole!

Unbelievable shot. He’ll tap that one in for his fifth birdie of the day, moving to 9-under and in a share of third place.

Get excited, folks. We could be witnessing history in the making.

FYI, Mickelson posted five birdies on the front nine in 27 holes coming into this round; he’s now about to make his fifth in seven holes today.

If this turns into Mickelson’s third Masters victory, that shot needs a nickname. What should it be?

3:13: From my email:

“I’m sure he was completely justified with his thoughts about the wind, but I couldn’t help but notice the way Tiger stood there and complained about the gust of wind sounded quite a bit like Sergio’s whining normally does.”

It’s hard not to notice that Tiger, when playing well, is ebullient and steely. When he isn’t though, he’s as petulant and tempestuous as they come.

It’s also got to be burning him that Phil’s torching this course.

3:15: Cabrera makes birdie at No. 3. He’s at twelve under.

Perry makes a tough uphill par, and the leaderboard has five players on its first page, each spaced from the next by one shot. In order, that’s Cabrera, Perry, Campbell, Mickelson, and Furyk.

3:18: Phil’s got a rough chip on No. 8 for his third; Tiger’s on the green.

So Phil chips to about five feet.

3:19: And Jim Furyk “ruins the sequence,” missing a par putt.

3:20: Tiger’s turn: He sinks a thirty-foot eagle.

And immediately someone brings up Ali/Frazier. Stop it. That was a great putt, but Tiger’s still two behind Phil, and five behind the lead of Cabrera.

3:21: Make that three behind Phil, who holes his birdie.

Phil’s just two back of Cabrera. He’s the one to watch.

3:22: From one of The Rookies:

“I’m going to posit this right now, unlikely as it is. Could you imagine a Tiger/Phil playoff?”

Nantz’ head would explode. Augusta would be a mob scene. I would be quite surprised.

But it’s going to require better play than the bad and worse shots Tiger and Phil just played on No. 9. Tiger’s in the rough; Mickelson’s in the straw.

3:25: From Sobel:

3:07 p.m. ET: E-mail from Kevin in North Carolina:

I know there is plenty of golf left, but how momentous would it be for Mickelson to possibly win this Masters and obtain the No. 1 world golf ranking with Tiger as his playing partner?

Great point.

An underlying subplot of this pairing is that if Phil can win the Masters and Tiger finishes lower than second, Mickelson will become the game’s top-ranked player for the first time in his career.

Tiger might well stab Phil on the 18th green if that’s a possibility. I would not put it past him.

3:27: Kenny Perry, putting like he wants to make me look stupid.

He just missed a birdie on No. 4.

3:28: And Cabrera misses a long par putt. He’s back to eleven under at best.

Meanwhile, Phil’s got a couple of future armoires in his way at No. 9.

3:30: So, naturally, he punches to the bunker.

Tiger, on the other hand, goes from the straw/rough border to the far right rough.

3:31: With Mickelson yet to finish No. 9 and Cabrera done with No. 4, Lefty is now one shot back of Perry and El Pato.

Heady stuff for someone who started seven shots back.

3:33: Jim Furyk makes birdie on No. 5 after bogey on the fourth.

He should dislodge Tiger from the first page of the leaderboard.

3:34: Tiger’s chip at No. 9 goes around the hole the long way. He’s going to have a tough nine-footer for par.

Phil, of course, chips to within the length of the flagstick. Painful slider forthcoming.

3:36: Cabrera goes from beach to fairway on No. 5.

Perry will have about twenty feet for birdie.

3:37: Tiger’s putting well today.

It’s hard to see the evidence on the scoreboard, because he’s only had a few medium-range chances at birdie, but he’s holing anything he looks at under twelve feet.

3:38: And, somehow, Mickelson makes his birdie.

Barring a sensational putt by Cabrera on the fifth, Phil will be at least tied for second with Cabrera and Campbell.

3:41: Cabrera has eight feet for bogey at the fifth. Perry just misses his birdie.

Mickelson outdrives Tiger at the 10th.

3:43: Cabrera makes his second straight bogey, Campbell misses a birdie, and Kenny Perry is alone in first place at Augusta National on Sunday.

Cue Nick Falso squinting and wearing a green jacket. The arrogance drips.

3:45: Tiger’s got about fifty feet to work with on the 10th green.

To my commenter debating watching or following this blog: Go watch.

I promise, you won’t miss much here.

3:46: Phil’s first folly: Failing to fly his iron over the false front at the 10th. But it’s a decent lie, and he should be able to get up and down painlessly.

3:49: At this point, I’d like to thank Jason Sobel for the link at ESPN, and the ESPN readers for clicking through. Look around if you’d like, and thanks for coming.

3:50: Phil chips to a couple feet.

Tiger’s well short. At least six feet left for Eldrick.

3:52: Perry makes his sixth straight par. Cabrera recovers with one, too.

Ahead, Campbell will have a long putt for birdie at the 7th.

3:53: Tiger drops his par at the 10th.

3:54: Phil follows suit with his.

From my comments: “Okay so when you watch Lefty play like this, does it make you feel like he’s a huge waste of talent? I don’t much like Phil, but obviously the dude can play some serious golf, its sad that he’s known more for his ability to fall apart than his ability to win.”

I don’t really like Phil, either: Unlike Tiger, he comes off as either a goof who is coasting on talent without being totally competitive or a big-time choke. That’s an unfortunate dichotomy.

But the Phil of old, the one that would be in it until a singular, explosive failure at the end of the round, isn’t the one playing today. Today, Phil’s playing like Tiger.

That doesn’t make him a huge waste of talent the rest of the time: In this generation, it’s hard to argue that anyone but Mickelson is second to Tiger. It’s more a nice sight to see Phil playing the kind of great golf he’s got in his repertoire without taking the risks that lead to self-immolation.

3:59: There’s the sort of shot Kenny Perry needs.

He’s got four feet to the hole at No. 7.

4:02: Tiger’s got thirty feet at No. 11.

4:04: At least Perry kept the par streak alive.

He misses a golden opportunity to stretch the lead, and will go to No. 8 at eleven under, the same score he boasted entering the first tee box.

4:07: Phil scrambles for par at No. 11.

4:08: Tiger, meanwhile, will settle for it.

Both were short from the right side.

4:10: Let’s play some knockdown shots. From Sobel:

3:58 p.m. ET: Let’s do a quick leaderboard check with a little stream-of-consciousness ramble on each player …

1. Kenny Perry (-11): Will 18 pars be good enough? Doubtful.
T-2. Phil Mickelson (-10) A score of 4-under on the back would mean the lowest single-round total in 406 all-time majors.
T-2. Chad Campbell (-10): Sort of the forgotten man in the whole mix.
T-2. Angel Cabrera (-10): Needs to bounce back from those bogeys and start finding fairways.
5. Jim Furyk (-8): Needs to make a move pretty soon.
T-6. Tiger Woods (-7): If anyone has a Jack-like 30 in him on the back-nine, it’s TW.
T-6. Shingo Katayama (-7): Now if Shingo could shoot 30, that would really be a spoiler.
T-6. Steve Stricker (-7): Like Perry, all pars so far. Unlike Perry, that’s not good enough.

If Perry shoots 72, he loses by two. If Mickelson shoots 62, he’s winning by three. Campbell just birdied No. 8, so he’s tied for the lead; still, he’s sort of forgotten. Cabrera has to right the ship or risk being left far behind. Furyk’s not winning. Neither is Tiger. Shingo could perhaps make a run. Stricker’s out of it.

4:14: Kerplunk. Phil’s nine iron on the 12th gets wet.

Maybe this is the long-awaited implosion?

4:16: Elsewhere, El Pato is finding plenty of trouble on dry land, sawing one well away from the fairway on the eighth, and Furyk birdies to go to nine under.

4:18: Way ahead at No. 16, John Merrick puts one within two feet of the pin; at the 14th, Dustin Johnson holes out from under a tree to record consecutive eagles at the Masters for just the second time in history.

Johnson scrapes back to level par with that, but Merrick’s birdie takes him to eight under, one shot ahead of Tiger and even with Mickelson, who doubles the heart of Amen Corner after missing his twelve-foot comebacker for par.

4:21: Perry will have a birdie chance at No. 8. Tiger and Phil are both in the fairway at the 13th. The former leads, the latter two need at least a couple of birdies to contend.

And yet, the crowd’s trailing Tiger/Phil. Go figure.

4:24: Tiger with Perry’s ball-striking would have made something like six birdies by now.

Perry with Perry’s putting can only make his eighth par of the day after sliding his birdie try by the hole on No. 8. (And Perry with Tiger’s ball-striking? Ugh.)

4:27: Tiger’s safely on the green in two at No. 13. So is Phil.

But both will need fantastic putts to make eagle.

4:29: From my comments:

“Think Lefty is saying to himself “Come on Phil, we’re really going to fall apart again?””

I hope so. I hope he’s bucking up.

But he likely lost his shot at a green jacket with that double at the 12th. He needed to make that par and have a little momentum left from the front nine.

4:30: And Phil will tap in for birdie at No. 13. He’s two back.

4:32: Tiger, too. He’s three back, three under for the day.

4:33: From Sobel:

4:22 p.m. ET: Telling stat of the day: Every player in 11th place or better right now is in red figures for the round … except for Steve Stricker (1-over and in T-9) and the two guys in the final pairing, Kenny Perry and Angel Cabrera.

That’s a blueprint in how to get a packed leaderboard in a hurry.

And, for Perry and Cabrera, a study in how to get caught from behind.

(I’d also like to note that I’m really close to live with my updates; Sobel lags a minute or two behind. But I can’t say that I’ve got better analysis or access.)

4:36: Cabrera will make another par.

Anyone know how he came to be sponsored by South African Airlines?

4:39: Perry goes out in 36, all pars.

At No. 14, Tiger hits the false front and will have to chip. Phil shelves his second shot about fifteen feet behind the hole.

Up at No. 17, Steve Flesch makes birdie, moving to eight under for the tournament.

4:43: Phil had a chance to cut the lead to one.

But his birdie putt at the 14th curls out.

4:45: John Merrick had a chance to join Phil at nine under.

But his putt at the 18th scoots by.

The roars, so loud an hour ago, have passed.

4:47: Tiger wallops one down the fairway at No. 15.

Phil beats him by twenty yards. (He’s still one-up.)

4:52: A gorgeous shot at No. 12 from Todd Hamilton.

He pitches from 67 yards and the ball spins straight in.

4:53: Feherty on Tiger: “Oh, yes!”

He’s hole-high, nearly fifteen feet away.

4:54: Feherty on Phil: “OH!”

He’s hole-high, maybe five feet away.

4:55: Feherty’s using the phrase “sea of humanity.”

And it’s fair: The Tiger/Phil throng gets bigger and bigger.

4:56: Kenny Perry answers! With a par!

Cabrera, though, is two over on the day, missing his par at No. 10.

4:58: Tiger’s just low.

He taps in for birdie, and is at nine under for The Masters. He’s also an astonishing one hundred under on par 5s at The Masters in his lifetime.

5:00: And Phil flinches.

He misses just high, and cannot tie for the lead.

5:01: Your scoreboard:

Perry leads at -11 through 10. Phil is alone at -10 through 15. Campbell’s through 11, Cabrera through 10, and Tiger through 15, and all are tied at -9.

Behind that group is clubhouse leader John Merrick, in at -8 after a 66.

5:03: Tiger fires at the flag.

And he’s on target, maybe seven feet away. For once, he’s inside Phil on one of these greens in regulation; Mickelson’s shot is good, but closer to twenty feet than ten.

5:05: Verne is comparing this to Nicklaus in ’86. Whoa.

There is practically no one following the leaders, and they’re at Amen Corner. Everyone is on Tiger and Phil’s trail. And justifiably so.

5:07: Phil’s birdie never had a prayer.

Kenny Perry’s birdie at No. 11 was no further left than the length of the word prayer as typed on this page. He has to be all sorts of frustrated with his inability to score.

5:08: Tiger gets a roar. He’s one back.

5:09: The eye-popping stat:

Last three groups: +3.
Woods/Mickelson: -12.

The Cabrera/Perry pairing has fewer birdies in this round, one, than Tiger and Phil did together at No. 15.

5:11: And don’t rule out Chad Campbell.

He moves to one stroke behind Perry with a birdie at No. 12.

5:12: Hell, why not Angel Cabrera?

He’ll have a try at birdie from about ten feet at the 12th.

5:15: From Sobel:

5:03 p.m.: Here comes Tiger.

Woods hits his tee shot on 16 to about 5 feet. He’ll have that left for birdie.

Now here’s Phil, who is 11-over in his career at the 16th … and it stays about 20 feet above the hole.

If we see miss-make here, the world’s top two-ranked players will be tied for second place behind Kenny Perry with two holes to play.

Just throwing this out there: After 18 holes playing together today, could we see Tiger and Phil going at it in sudden death after the round?

Well, someone’s reading this blog.

As soon as I copy that, Perry rolls in a birdie on No. 12, following Mickelson’s beautiful iron on the 17th. Tiger’s going to go from being tied with Phil and one back of Perry to at least two back of Perry and, in all likelihood, at least one back of Phil.

Barring a miracle chip, that is.

5:18: And it’s no miracle. Tiger must clean up from eight feet for par to have a realistic shot at staying in contention for the year’s first major.

5:20: Your Shingo Katayama update: He’s two under on the day.

Oh, and Tiger’s putting before Phil on No. 17.

5:21: From the comments:

“Odds on a Phil-Tiger playoff?

Tiger’s down to 4 to 1 to win (Mickelson is 7.5 to 1). Perry is now 2.625 to 1.”

That’s got to be adjusted: Tiger’s par on the 17th never had even a scintilla of a thought of going in. Mickelson’s birdie slides by, too, but he’s got an outside chance at coming in at eleven under.

For Tiger, with only ten under a possibility, the dream is all but dashed.

5:24: From the comments:

“Bird for Tiger and a par for Phil on 18. Then lets hope everyone else falls back to -9.

It could happen, you got to believe.”

Yeah, and we could hear a dozen more uses of “twittering” in the “birds twittering,” non-technological sense. Neither one of these things is happening.

5:25: With Phil on the beach and Tiger in the straw on No. 18th, this Masters will likely be won by either Kenny Perry or Chad Campbell, who just made birdie at the last hole of Amen Corner to take sole possession of second place.

The big guns brought the pyrotechnics on Sunday. But not even the most deafening of roars on this day could cancel their inability to post low numbers on the first three days of this tournament.

5:28: Campbell’s drive on No. 14 is true.

5:30: Tiger must whip a stinger from the needles.

5:31: Instead, he clangs one off a tree trunk.

Mickelson, meanwhile, goes from bunker to fairway.

Without massive collapses from the leaders, all that Tiger and Phil have left is academic.

5:33: On Tiger: “What are his options here?”

“Zero and none. Hole it.”

5:34: Of course, Tiger’s within ten feet, and should make par.

5:35: In the last tour of the last hole of Amen Corner in this Masters, Perry can do nothing with a green-in-two, missing two putts and ultimately parring, while Cabrera cards a birdie.

5:36: Mickelson pitches to a difficult par putt.

5:37: From the comments:

“Tiger falling apart? His knee surgery ruined him!”

He’ll never win again! He should retire!

With Phil missing his par at the 18th, and a disappointing back-nine 37 on the books for his greatest contemporary rival, if Tiger can make this par, he will have been Phil’s equal today and in this Masters.

I’d say that’s admirable.

5:39: Tiger makes all that moot.

He pushes the par right. He’ll finish with a 68, and at eight under for this tournament; Phil’s 67 is good for nine under over the four days.

5:41: Tiger: “My number was eleven.” He fell three short.

“How’s the knee holding up?” Tiger, without breaking gaze: “The knee’s great.”

5:43: From Sobel:

5:40 p.m.: And some 25-26 hours after declaring this tournament to be a three-man race between Kenny Perry, Chad Campbell and Angel Cabrera, we now have … a three-man race between Kenny Perry, Chad Campbell and Angel Cabrera.

They’re not all coming back to 9-under, so one of these three men will become a first-time Masters champion.

Of these three, you have to like Perry to maintain his lead. He’s been stunningly solid, with no bogeys on his round today and just four this week.

5:46: No birdies and no bogeys at No. 14 for the final group.

Perry is a shot ahead of Campbell heading to the 15th.

5:49: Campbell, from the fairway at 15th, puts it within twelve feet for eagle.

Shingo Katayama gives the day’s best fist bump, a backpedaling one, after knocking in a birdie at No. 16. He’s at nine under for the tournament.

5:51: Now that those hacks have gotten off the course (I forget, was it Moods and Wickelson?), a review of the potential firsts from the group on the course:

Kenny Perry, at 48 years and eight months, would be the oldest major champion in history, moving past Julius Boros for that mark and Jack Nicklaus for the Masters record. Angel Cabrera would be the first South American winner, making up for Roberto DeVicenzo’s “What a stupid I am!” moment. Shingo Katayama would be the first Asian-born winner.

Chad Campbell would be the first guy named Campbell to win it.

5:56: Campbell misses his eagle, makes his birdie.

He’s tied for the lead.

5:59: From Sobel:

5:51 p.m.: Chad Campbell with a viable birdie opportunity at 15 to move into a share of the lead.

As we’ve seen throughout the week, when Campbell gets hot, he gets really hot — and he looks to be getting hot again right now.

Except he’s played the last three holes in four over this week.

6:00: And he will not be playing No. 16 in four over.

He’s about five feet away after a brilliant tee shot.

6:03: Perry’s got a long eagle putt on the 15th.

6:04: It wasn’t going to drop, but Perry’s got about two feet for birdie.

6:05: He polishes that off, and retakes the lead.

It’s Perry at thirteen under, and Campbell just a stroke back.

6:06: Campbell’s birdie try dives high-side.

He will remain one back after his par.

6:07: Once more, it’s Perry, Campbell, and Cabrera.

Perry has just two birdies to go with thirteen pars today. Campbell had two birdies, then two bogeys, then three birdies. Cabrera wrapped three birdies, one at No. 3, one at the 13th and on at the 15th, around three bogeys from No. 4 to No. 10.

6:11: Verne, on Perry: “The shot of his life!”

He rocks an eight iron to a foot above the hole on No. 16. This will be a tap-in, and Kenny Perry will have two shots on the field with two holes to go at the 2009 Masters.

6:14: You could hear a pin drop for Cabrera’s putt.

But he drops it in. He’s one back, but Perry will change that.

6:15: Perry does, moving to fourteen under.

Campbell’s second shot at No. 17 is sandy.

6:17: Could Perry give one back?

His tee shot at the 17th is cavorting with chipmunks.

6:18: Campbell has some fight left. His chip from the 17th bunker will give him a short par putt.

And beyond the last two groups, Shingo Katayama becomes the clubhouse leader, matching Tiger Woods’ 68 with his third back nine birdie on No. 18. He goes in at ten under.

6:21: It seems as if Perry is home free.

Not yet: For all the attention paid Tiger and Phil, it should be noted that they both bogeyed the 17th. Perry’s second shot, chased back left of the green, may lead to him joining that magical duo in that.

6:24: Suddenly, the shots stop.

Both Cabrera and Perry are unlikely to birdie the 17th, but Campbell is left of the fairway on No. 18. He’s going to have a hard time getting to scoring position.

6:26: And Perry will have trouble at No. 17.

His chip sails by the hole, then rolls to the fringe of the green. He’ll need a beauty of a putt to save par. Cabrera’s birdie putt eases to the right of the hole, and he will have little to do for par.

6:29: From Sobel:

6:23 p.m.: Meanwhile, Angel Cabrera winds up in nearly the same place.

They could both get up and down from there … or we could be in for a huge swing.

When you hedge your bets, you’re usually right. Perry can’t save par.

6:30: With one hole to play, Kenny Perry sits at thirteen under and holds a one-shot lead in the 2009 Masters.

Behind him are Angel Cabrera, twelve under through seventeen, and Chad Campbell, who is on the 18th green with a birdie putt forthcoming.

6:32: Cabrera stripes one down the right side.

6:33: And Perry’s beached.

The lie is decent, but he’s in the bunker.

6:34: He won’t have to worry about Campbell catching him.

The birdie attempt slips a bit right. He’ll par out and finish at twelve under, taking the clubhouse lead from Katayama.

6:37: Faldo, on Cabrera’s approach: “Oh, he’s…lost it.”

Actually, he’s just off the front of the green. But he won’t be birdie-hunting.

6:39: Neither will Perry.

He’s well left of the green, in some deep stuff. The cheers may cascade as Perry and Cabrera approach the 18th green, but both still have to get onto the green.

6:41: Who said the drama left with Phil and Tiger?

Perry’s chip is into the middle of the green, but he’ll have fifteen feet for par.

6:42: Cabrera won’t hole out, so Perry has this putt for the win.

It’s a fifteen-footer, uphill, with some slight right-to-left break. Perry’s struggled with the flat stick all day, and, if I had to guess, I’d predict a miss and a playoff here.

6:44: An inch short.

And now Campbell will leave the clubhouse to join Perry on the 18th tee.

6:46: So will Cabrera.

He drains his five-footer. And we’ve got a three-way playoff.

6:48: Performance on 18 this week:

Cabrera: Par-birdie-par-par.
Campbell: Bogey-birdie-bogey-par.
Perry: Par-birdie-par-bogey.

It’s a sudden-death playoff.

6:51: From Sobel:

6:45 p.m.: E-mail from Kerem in Istanbul:

What are the playoff rules for the Masters? A three-way tie would be awesome to watch.

You ask and you shall receive.

Angel Cabrera sinks his par putt and we’ll see Cabrera, Kenny Perry and Chad Campbell heading back to No. 18 for a three-man sudden death playoff.

I wonder: Do two continue if they tie and one falters?

6:53: Kenny Perry has a good-looking family.

Nick Faldo has a mouth that won’t stop running.

6:56: Campbell’s in the fairway on the right.

Cabrera’s behind a thick tree.

Perry’s smacked one down the middle.

6:59: From Sobel:

6:47 p.m.: This is the fifth three-way playoff in Masters history. Here are the others:
• 1987, Larry Mize (4-3) defeated Seve Ballesteros (5) and Greg Norman (4-4) with a birdie on the second playoff hole (No. 11).
• 1979, Fuzzy Zoeller (4-3) defeated Ed Sneed (4-4) and Tom Watson (4-4) with a birdie on the second playoff hole (No. 11).
• 1966, Jack Nicklaus (70) defeated Tommy Jacobs (72) and Gay Brewer (78).
• 1962, Arnold Palmer (68) defeated Gary Player (71) and Dow Finsterwald (77).

Well, it’s a good thing they moved away from that 18-hole format.

No such thing as drama in those.

7:01: Cabrera thrashes to the fairway.

7:02: Perry’s eight iron, so good this week, deserts him.

He’s right of the green.

7:03: Incredibly, Campbell is beached.

No one can seize this tournament.

7:04: But maybe Cabrera has.

His third shot is to about ten feet.

7:06: Perry chips to a foot.

He pars. He’ll be going to the next hole unless Campbell holes out.

7:07: Campbell can’t.

He and Cabrera have some knee-knockers left.

7:08: Cabrera will join Perry at the 10th.

Will Campbell?

7:09: No, he won’t.

A heartbreaker of a putt goes low, and Chad Campbell is eliminated on the first hole of the playoff. It will be Kenny Perry or Angel Cabrera who claims this green jacket.

7:10: Performance on No. 10 this week:

Cabrera: par-par-birdie-bogey.
Perry: birdie-par-birdie-par.

Each player is well centered in the fairway.

7:13: From Sobel:

6:59 p.m.: If you’re wondering what Phil Mickelson’s mindset is right now, consider this:

If he had knocked one on the middle of the green on 12, then two-putted and made the putts on 15 and 17, he’d have his third green jacket right now.

If he had gotten up and down from the drop area and made the two putts, he’d be part of this playoff right now.

Or, uh, if he’d shot just 70 on Friday.

7:15: Perry will be doing some gardening.

Cabrera, though, is twelve feet away from the pin.

7:18: Here come the DeVicenzo reminisces.

No mention of “What a stupid I am!”

7:19: Perry pitches well by the hole.

He’s away, so Cabrera will know whether his birdie is for the Masters.

7:21: And Perry misses low.

Cabrera has two putts. Jar either, and a Masters title joins his 2007 U.S. Open victory.

7:22: Cabrera misses the first.

But he makes the second.

There will be tears of joy in Argentina tonight.

7:23: And, oh, what sorrow for Perry.

He made four bogeys on holes 1-70. And two on the 71st and 72nd.

On a day when the last player to flinch was the last one standing, Perry could not outlast Cabrera in the playoff. He fails to win a playoff in a major once more, this loss joining his 1996 loss to Mark Brooks in the PGA Championship as another near miss.

7:27: On a beautiful Easter Sunday, many players gave Augusta National one of its most thrilling final rounds.

Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson dueled into the day, each coming within a shot of the lead and delighting the legion of fans that flocked to their pairing, before falling on the final holes.

And then the trio of Kenny Perry, Angel Cabrera, and Chad Campbell had their turn, tearing up the back nine before being chewed up by the 17th and 18th in the end and in the playoff.

But it was the consistency of El Pato, “The Duck,” Angel Cabrera, who gutted out two pars on the 18th and 10th in the playoff, that enabled him to survive the roars around him and win his second major.

7:32: In Butler Cabin, South Africa’s Trevor Immelman waits to put the green jacket on the man wearing the South African Airlines polo.

7:35: The last bits from Sobel:

7:24 p.m.: That’s now two major victories in the last eight majors for Angel Cabrera.

In the time since the 2007 U.S. Open, Padraig Harrington owns three majors titles, Cabrera and Tiger Woods each have two and Trevor Immelman has one.

And:

7:25 p.m.: Some notes on Angel Cabrera from ESPN’s research department:
• First player from South America to win Masters
• Second PGA Tour win
• 19th worldwide win (has 17 international victories)
• Joins Tiger Woods as the only active PGA Tour player with a Masters and U.S. Open win.

Whoa.

Let’s read that last one again.

Joins Tiger Woods as the only active PGA Tour player with a Masters and U.S. Open win.

Pretty amazing stat right there. Tells you how difficult it is to win these tourneys. And that’s obviously some pretty elite company for Cabrera.

He’ll look to add another U.S. Open to his resume in June at Bethpage Black in New York. The last time the Open was there, some guy named Eldrick was the only golfer in red numbers by Sunday.

I’ll be blogging that. I hope you’ll join me.

Thanks for reading today, and thanks again to Jason Sobel for being so gracious with the link. I really enjoy doing this; I’m pleased that others seemed to enjoy it, too.

Good night.

23 Comments

Filed under Golf, Live Blogs

23 responses to “The Live Blog, Squared

  1. John Pole

    Not sure if I’m more excited for the TV coverage, Sobel’s live blog, or this live blog of his live blog.

    Also, as soon as it gets going, I’ll be sending him e-mails letting him know this is happening

  2. John Pole

    See Sobel’s most recent Twitter post… he knows you’re out there

  3. John Pole

    And you’ve now officially been linked in the Live Blog… better keep it good!

  4. Are you John from the University of Florida?

  5. John Pole

    Of course I am

  6. Ha. Keep the comments coming here and there.

  7. Dr. Michael Mancini

    ANGC dictates that the coverage starts at 2. CBS & ESPN would show every shot of the tourney if they could, but this is how Augusta wants it, so that’s how it is.

  8. John Pole

    I realize ANGC thinks they’re all that and everything, but really, isn’t it about time they get off their high horse a little bit?

    Not that my opinion or anyone’s opinion will change what they do, but seriously, they’re a little ridiculous

  9. Dr. Michael Mancini

    They also dictate 4 minutes of commercials per hour, so they can keep on right there.

  10. John Pole

    They used to go commercial free on Sundays… what happened to that?

  11. John Pole

    I think you can say Steve Stricker just bludgeoned that four foot putt as well.. He’s just as far away with his follow up

  12. John Pole

    Regarding your most recent post about Kenny Perry…

    That’s what she said

  13. No2toNo3

    No4 just invited me to start watching. Told him I was reading a live blog… Decisions, decisions. Looks like I’ll bounce back-and-forth.

  14. JJ

    Okay so when you watch Lefty play like this, does it make you feel like he’s a huge waste of talent? I don’t much like Phil, but obviously the dude can play some serious golf, its sad that he’s known more for his ability to fall apart than his ability to win.

  15. JJ

    Think Lefty is saying to himself “Come on Phil, we’re really going to fall apart again?”

  16. JJ

    Anyone else feel let down after both Tiger and Lefty don’t eagle? Come on guys, you’re killing us here.

  17. Odds on a Phil-Tiger playoff?

    Tiger’s down to 4 to 1 to win (Mickelson is 7.5 to 1). Perry is now 2.625 to 1.

  18. WELL, so much for that…

  19. JJ

    Bird for Tiger and a par for Phil on 18. Then lets hope everyone else falls back to -9.

    It could happen, you got to believe.

  20. JJ

    Tiger falling apart? His knee surgery ruined him!

  21. Pingback: Angel Cabrera Rises on Easter Sunday « The Rookies

  22. Pingback: The Live Blog, Squared, Part Two « The Arena

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