Friday, April 9, 2010

Tiger's not the only one at the Masters - or is he?

Watching the first round of the Masters, you'd think the only guy out there was a man named Tiger.

I'm glad the players realized that wasn't true.

Oh yeah, the wall-to-wall coverage from the Golf Channel and then ESPN talked about all the old guys playing well. Tom Watson, 60, led early. Fred Couples, 50, finished the day in the lead. In all, five players over the age of 50 shot under par.

And thank goodness the players paired with Woods showed up. K.J. Choi and Matt Kuchar both played well, and thanks to their pairing with Tiger, we got to see many of their shots.

But all of that was more of an afterthought. The big news was Tiger.

We saw every step; every smile; every chat with a fellow player; every frustrated club drop. And all of it was analyzed. He seems more at ease. He seems more focused. He seems the same old Tiger. He seems like a new Tiger.

The analyses were varied and endless.

Actually, his fairway shot on No. 9 was pretty incredible. And the club drop on 14 was really the only time he overtly showed any frustration. But what did he really have to be frustrated about.

He shot an opening round 68 - his best ever first-round Masters score - and ended Thursday two strokes behind the leader, Couples. And that's what everyone was talking about - Tiger's back.

But it really didn't matter what Tiger did. If he had shot a 78, everyone would have been talking about how his scandal and layoff adversely affected his play. He's still the story.

Even in this post, I've spent most of it talking about how Tiger isn't the only player on the course at Augusta National.

Well, he might not be the only one, but he's the only one we're talking about - including me.

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