Like It Is

OPINION | WALLY HALL: Final round of Masters proved great theater


Watching the final day of the Masters was truly memorable.

Like Bill Mazeroski's walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth of Game 7 to give the Pittsburgh Pirates the 1960 World Series.

Like Arkansas' win over Duke to win the 1994 NCAA national basketball championship.

Like every time Tom Brady touches a football with less than two minutes to play.

The memories are what make the world of perspiring arts so special, like the 1980 Miracle on Ice, Secretariat's win in the 1973 Belmont Stakes and the 1997 Masters when Tiger Woods won by 12 strokes.

The embrace he and his dad had after it was over was more dramatic than how easily the 21-year-old golfer dominated the game that week.

Fast forward 25 years, and once again Woods was casting a long shadow over the game's most hallowed grounds and weekend.

This time, not as a front-charging youngster, but as a 46-year-old who was given up as retired or disabled 14 months ago when he wrecked his car, and doctors thought they might have to amputate his leg.

Woods stood at 71 and in the thick of things after the first day.

Then reality set in. He made the cut, and by the final day he was visibly and openly limping up and down the hilly course.

A little like Sham in that 1973 Belmont Stakes that Secretariat won by 31 lengths.

Sham was in second place and the second in the betting pool, but a dozen lengths back when Big Red surged ahead. Sham finished the race dead last but he crossed the finish line.

Woods wasn't last, but close, and he was exhausted and no doubt in therapy for swelling and aches and pains from the bottom of his feet to his neck.

Yet, he was only part of the story.

Scottie Scheffler started the final round with a three-stroke lead, 9-under par, over Cameron Smith and further back, 10 strokes behind was Rory McIlroy in a group of five at 1 over.

McIlroy made it at least same like a race.

He played all 18 holes without a bogey, his first in all the rounds of the Masters he has played.

For the day, he shot 64 to finish second by three strokes.

Scheffler, who was the No. 1-ranked player going into the tournament, played like it, and his final day 71 was solid golf, good enough for the green jacket.

He's probably a great guy, but there's no doubt he was afforded opportunities to be a professional golfer most could only dream about.

He played for Highland Park High School -- think of a very expensive neighborhood and then add a couple of zeroes -- and at the University of Texas.

Guys like him, and this applies to most of the professional golfers, have the best coaches, the best equipment and the best private golf courses.

There are no Happy Gilmores on the PGA Tour.

That certainly doesn't mean their skills were bought. They were earned through hard work and sweat.

Golf may be the hardest sport in the world to compete.

My friend and former football coaching great Larry Lacewell used to say, "They should make prisoners play and keep score."

Many years ago, your trusty scribe tried to learn the game, even scraped deep enough for a lesson and the last thing the instructor said was, "See if you can get your money back on those clubs."

Golf is an unforgiving game that requires skills and incredible patience..

Sunday afternoon, CBS brought a great three-part drama into every living room and den that wanted it, and it was a classic afternoon of two proven greats and one who appears to be on the cusp of long career.

Sham never raced again after that Belmont, Tiger will.