Tiger Woods And His 4th Masters Victory

Timothy A. Clary/Agence France-Presse–Getty Images
Before outdueling DiMarco, Woods had gone 10 events without winning a major, matching the longest drought of his career

Woods Leaves Exclamation Points Floating in the Air

Cue the tinkling music.

Cue the birdies.

"I feel tingly," Lanny Wadkins of CBS said.

It is the Masters.

To CBS’s credit, it did great justice to Tiger Woods’s playoff victory yesterday over Chris DiMarco, no more so than on the 16th hole, when Woods’s chip from beyond the fringe of the green stopped a sliver of turf short of the hole, but after a two-second intermission, plopped in.

"In your life, have you seen anything like that?" said Verne Lundquist, who would add, after catching his breath, "That’s breathtaking."

On the playoff hole, at the 18th, CBS tracked Woods’s winning putt from a camera above the hole. The birdies tweeted. The crowd was hushed.

"Look out, what a finish," Jim Nantz said. "Number four for Tiger." He added that the putt was "center cut and it was flying."

A Tiger Woods-led tournament usually grants a network permission to give the golfer trailing him secondary treatment.

"He hasn’t given up," Peter Oosterhuis said at one point about DiMarco. "But ominous signs are coming from Tiger."

That was true early in the fourth round; Woods led by three strokes after making up a four-stroke deficit against DiMarco during the restart of the third round in the early morning.

Viewers were unable to see the completion of the third round, which began at 8 a.m. Eastern, when Woods wrested control from DiMarco. Highlights were seen on USA Network’s "PGA Tour Sunday"; LeslieAnne Wade, a CBS Sports spokeswoman, would not say if a request was made to add coverage. "We came on at our scheduled time," she said.

Woods, Bobby Clampett said, "is about taking it to perfection."

On numerous holes, CBS made it clear that, like all other networks, showing Woods contemplate his putts, no matter how long it requires, is preferred to cutting temporarily to another golfer’s shot. Woods is not a fidgety, Ed Norton-like golfer, but he is surely a contemplative one.

On the fourth, CBS let us observe Woods in his preputt mode for 2 minutes 12 seconds, to DiMarco’s 30 seconds. On the seventh, the score was Woods 1:54, DiMarco :20. On the eighth, it was Tiger 1:49, DiMarco :15.

The commentators harped on DiMarco’s lack of aggressiveness in his putting; at one point, Peter Kostis showed the recoil in his putting stroke.

"We’re getting quite a separation," Nantz said as Woods’s lead grew.

But the criticism would equal out. Commentators said that Woods had hit too many of his tee shots too hard, had lost his early aggressiveness, had turned as tentative in his putting as DiMarco in the early holes, and had, as Wadkins said, laid up on one hole "30 or 40 yards from where he should be."

Kostis described it as an opportunity for Woods "to end all the criticism about his marriage and his swing."

Later, Wadkins said that "Tiger is on cruise control, which is not the way to win."

Eventually, CBS turned DiMarco into a hero, the plucky, never-say-die son of a St. John’s basketball player, for not surrendering to the pressure of chasing Woods, who improved to 31-3 after leading a tournament after 54 holes and 7-0 in majors.

A two-man race to the finish, when other golfers have fallen away, is a challenge to any network. Cutting to anyone else seems inconsequential, but necessary. It was poignant that nearly every time CBS cut to the defending champion Phil Mickelson, he was far less than what he was last year. "Wow!" Lundquist said, as Mickelson double-bogeyed the 16th. "The defending champion with a four-putt."

From that moment until Mickelson wrapped up, the Amazon.com ranking of his book, "One Magical Sunday," fell to 372nd from 329th.

And while Trevor Immelman was out of the running and would not normally matter in the heat of a two-golfer denouement, CBS correctly replayed his hole in one on the 16th twice.

Cut the tinkling music.

Silence the birdies.

The Masters is over.

Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company | Home | Privacy Policy | Search | Corrections | RSS | Help | Back to Top


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