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A Major Mistake
Rick Reilly
April 17, 2000
I must be getting old.
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April 17, 2000

A Major Mistake

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I must be getting old.

I can remember when the Masters was exciting. I can remember when the back nine on Sunday meant guys making epic eagles. Meant you'd hear roars that would make your spleen do a double Salchow. Meant legends would shoot 30 on the back side to come from five behind and put something in your eye.

Now the back nine at Augusta is the world's only library with a creek running through it. Great place for a nap. Or a flute concerto.

Do you realize the best players in the world made only one eagle at Augusta on Sunday? One! By Colin Montgomerie, two hours before CBS started broadcasting the final round. Come to think of it, there was only one eagle on Saturday, too. Two eagles for the entire weekend!

In 1997 there were 11 eagles on the weekend. In 1991, 11. This year, two. Hell, Bruce Crampton made four in one week!

Wow! Two eagles! Yeee-hah! Bartender, No-Doz for everybody!

Yeah, the guys at Augusta really Tiger-proofed the place all right. They introduced rough, planted trees, shaved banks, moved tee boxes and stuck pins on cliffs. They made it doubly hard to bend your drive around the dogleg at 13-They made the 15th fairway narrower than Penny Lane and the green there harder than the hood of the new Beetle. And it has worked. Since Tiger won going away three years ago, he's broken 70 at Augusta twice. Yeah, they Tiger-proofed it. And fun-proofed it. And thrill-proofed it.

Hey, thank god we got rid of that Tiger kid. Welcome to the Vijay Singh Era!

A black-market Masters badge was going for as much as $10,000 early last week. Wasn't it worth it? Almost as exciting as Yahtzee Night with Steve Melnyk.

Every year the folks at Augusta give out a pair of crystal goblets for each eagle. In 1992 they gave out 34 sets. In 1983 they gave out 26. This year they gave out 14. You could have fit all the crystal goblets they gave out on Sunday in a decent-sized fanny pouch.

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