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Peace With Honor for Mickelson


After a week of tension, Phil Mickelson ended another tumultuous Masters at peace.

This wasn't only because of his one-under-par 71 Sunday, equaling the best final-round score of the five top leaders.

This also wasn't only because he moved up to third place, equaling his highest finish here, further convincing him that he is on the verge of finally winning a major tournament.

His peace was about, surprisingly enough, a movie.

Mickelson said he saw the critically acclaimed film "The Rookie" this week, and that one line uttered by actor Dennis Quaid--playing the role of former pitcher Jim Morris--changed his approach.

"He said one line that hit home with me about how he was very excited about how today he's very lucky to be able to play baseball," Mickelson said. "And today I thought I was very lucky to be able to play the final round of the Masters here at Augusta, play the back nine and be on the leaderboard and play this game for a living and be very fortunate."

Mickelson also thanked those members of the media who have attempted to defuse the growing tension between the two parties.

"It has been a very awkward past 12 or 15 months in that I've not had the most popular or positive stuff written about me," he said. "But this week, a lot of you came up to me, my wife, Amy, and my family members and showed a lot of encouragement and I appreciate those kind words."


Tom Watson celebrated the 25th anniversary of his first Masters victory by leading the tournament with eight three-putts and finishing tied for 40th among 45 players who made the cut. His score was 295.

Yet he gave his conservative seal of approval to the lengthening of the course.

"I think No. 18 is too long up the hill, but No. 9 is OK," he said, referring to two of the five holes that were changed. "I like the changes. They are good for the golf course. I have no complaints."

Maybe this means he won't get one of those letters of dismissal now given aging golfers by Masters Chairman Hootie Johnson.

The letters have become so infamous, even Tiger Woods jokingly addressed next year's record-attempting defense of his consecutive titles by saying, "If I don't get a letter, I'm coming back."


One of the biggest ovations on the final day was for John Daly, who was cheered mostly just for finishing.

He shot a 75 and finished tied for 32nd, but at least he didn't walk off the course in the middle of a round, or double-hit a putt in frustration, or break any other rule or ethical code.

A changed man, finally? He says yes.

"It's unbelievable, they haven't given up on me," he said of the fans. "Now there are important things at home [his fourth wife]. As long as I set daily goals, it keeps me going. The difference in my game is that I try harder every time I go out."

Although Woods averaged 293.8 yards per drive, he was still beaten in that category by Daly, who led everyone with 297.8.


The best round of the final day was played by Shigeki Maruyama, who shot five-under 67 to move into the top 15 at 287, his highest Masters finish in five tournaments.

Maruyama, who lives part-time in Beverly Hills, was perhaps the only player who didn't seem intimidated by the presence of Woods. Of course, teeing off three hours before Woods helps.

"I was attacking it today, it was great," he said.


The head-in-the-sand-trap award goes to, as usual, CBS Sports, which repeatedly showed Sam Snead's ceremonial first drive, complete with tinkling piano music and tradition-filled waxing.

They made absolutely no mention that Snead's drive hooked into the crowd, careening off the face of a spectator, cutting his nose and breaking his glasses.


With his final-round 71, Woods set the Masters record for most consecutive subpar rounds--10.... Retief Goosen's 74 Sunday ensured that, in its 66 years, the Masters still has not had a player shoot four rounds in the 60s.

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