Those were not
students of psychology down in Amen Corner on Sunday, those who cheered when
Ian Woosnam hooked his drive on the 13th hole into Rae's Creek. At 5'4½",
Woosnam is short, not deaf. He heard the cheers, and he knew what they
The cheers were a
rude way of saying, Enough, already. Enough of European golfers winning the
Masters. Please, no more Scots, Englishmen, Spaniards or Germans; no more
Sandys, Nicks, Seves or Bernhards. And especially—nothing personal, mind you—no
little Welshmen answering to "Woosie."
"That was a
bit disappointing," said Woosnam on Sunday evening, his new green jacket
clashing nicely with the red tartan trousers he had worn into the Georgia
woods. "Bad sportsmanship. But never mind, that's life; let's get on with
Maybe that's what
Woosnam was thinking as he stared down at his ball, dimly visible in the murky
water off the 13th fairway. Maybe he wasn't still bristling over another taste
of American jingoism back at the 10th hole, where spectators had rooted for his
ball to roll off the green and down a hill, which it had done. Perhaps, as he
dropped a new ball on 13, he was feeling magnanimous. More likely, though, he
was thinking dark, bloody thoughts.
Woosnam would bite
your shins in a pub brawl if you crossed him, but at 33 he has learned to
channel his feistiness. He no longer breaks clubs over his knee or gets booked
for racing his Porsche through the Shropshire night at more than 120 mph.
"The more angry I get, the better I play," he said on more than one
occasion last week.
Come to think of
it, the 1991 Masters was a pub brawl, and as with most good melees, you
couldn't tell much about the fight by who was last out the door. Three men came
to the 72nd hole tied for the lead at 11 under par: Woosnam, winner of the
USF&G Classic in New Orleans three weeks earlier and a 17-time winner on
the European tour; 41-year-old Tom Watson, the people's choice down the
stretch; and young Spanish star José-María Olazábal, the second-leading
money-winner on the European tour this season.
By then, however,
all three seemed spent. They had fought off challenges by guys who seemed to
come out of nowhere—Ben Crenshaw, Andrew Magee, Jodie Mudd, Steve Pate—and one
man, Lanny Wadkins, who was there among the leaders all along. They also had
battled the brain-numbing delays of Masters play. "You never can get a
rhythm on this golf course," said Watson, citing his 25-minute wait for a
four-group pileup on 13. "It felt like 10 hours out there," said
No one left more
of himself on the course than Watson, who had not won since the 1987 Nabisco
Championships. Seemingly out of contention after dunking his tee shot in the
water on the par-3 12th, Watson wrought pandemonium in the pines by eagling the
13th and 15th holes—a feat rivaling Gene Sarazen's final-round double eagle at
15 in 1935. His first eagle produced a three-shot swing with the front-running
Woosnam, who after taking his drop on 13 had laid up and taken bogey. The eagle
at 15—following a brilliant five-iron to within six feet of the pin—gave Watson
a share of the lead with Woosnam, who two-putted for a birdie, and
Olazábal needed only to win his first major to secure his reputation, which has
rapidly been established with a total of seven wins worldwide in 1990 and '91,
including a 12-stroke victory at last summer's World Series of Golf in Akron.
"I would be very surprised if he does not pull this out," said Seve
Ballesteros of his countryman as the contenders made the turn on Sunday.
"He is 25, but he is 35 in maturity."
Olazábal was off
his game on Sunday and plodded along at a pace that probably crippled the hopes
of the fast-moving Wadkins, his playing partner. Olazábal missed fairways
consistently and bogeyed three straight holes—8, 9 and 10—to fall four strokes
off the pace, but he birdied 13, 14 and 15 and seized the lead briefly at 11
under. Proving what? "That I'm able to come back," said the man who
would be Ballesteros.