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The Masters, Day 4

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NOTE from a confused writer: I don't know why this didn't show up on Sunday night, but here it is, late and not-at-all timely!

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As I watched the final round of the Masters from a sunny but windy Augusta, I keep writing on stray bits of paper things like "Tiger horrible tee shot on 13" and "Trevor, lips the cup on 8". It's one of the hardy perennials of sports cliches, "it's a game of inches", but watching the coverage on Sunday, that was proven true over and over.

Unfortunately for me, one of the people that cliche really applied to was Brandt Snedeker. After rooting for him over the first three days, I was burying my head in my hands, especially on 13. On Saturday, he had shot go in to Rae Creek by the putting surface. Sunday, I was gawping at the teevee as his second shot plunked in the water again. He then made a great third shot, all seemed like he'd hold par and...he missed the putt. It was a disastrous hole for Snedeker, as he'd made up two strokes on leader Trevor Immelman on the previous hole. Overall, after only five bogeys in the first 54 holes, he blew up on the final day, bogeying nine holes, including three of four holes at one point. Oh well, it was classic to watch a guy who looks like a blissed-out surfer dude do well.

On the other hand, Trevor Immelman, dressed in all-black with a nice sweater vest, was the picture of determination itself. He didn't play all that well, but he and playing partner Brandt Snedeker were so far ahead of the rest of the pack starting the day that neither Tiger Woods, Stewart Cink, Steve Flesch (who had his own nightmare of a final round, shooting +6) or Phil Mickelson could make up the difference when Immelman faltered on the back nine. Tiger Woods simply never seemed to get going, despite the final leaderboard showing he finished only three strokes back. When he'd nail his tee shots, his putter would fail. He'd sink a great putt, then shank the subsequent tee shot.

So, Tevor Immelman of South Africa, who was whacked out on morphine in a South African hospital in December after having a benign tumor removed from near his diaphragm, is your 2008 Masters champion. He gets that hideous green jacket, a chance to pick the menu at the Champions Dinner before next years tournament, a bunch of exemptions and $1.35 million U.S. Not bad for four days work!

Next up is the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines in June. I have tickets for the Saturday and Sunday sessions, so if I can, I'll report from the beaches north of San Diego. --Jim Allen