When Adam Scott rolled in a 12-foot birdie putt to win the Masters on Sunday, I heard The Voice. I hear it a lot when I’m watching sports. The Voice warns me that what’s exciting (a Scott–Angel Cabrera playoff) often obscures what’s morally revolting (a golf club with a lengthy history of racism and sexism). The Voice tells me I ought to cheer less and think more. The funny thing was, on Sunday, The Voice wasn’t coming from Taylor Branch, Dave Zirin, or any of the usual suspects. It was coming from Bob Costas.
What no CBS commentator has ever alluded to, even in passing, even during a rain delay, even when there was time to do so, is Augusta’s history of racism and sexism. Even when people were protesting just outside the grounds — forget about taking a side — never acknowledging it. So not only would I never work the Masters because I’m not at CBS, but I’d have to say something and then I would be ejected.
In case you were out busting people's chops and bringing them down a peg or two, here's what you missed in sports last weekend:
The Masters has a new champion: Adam Scott defeated Angel Cabrera in a tense two-hole playoff to win his first major at Augusta National. But don't get too comfortable, Mr. Scott. You still have a generic moniker that you share with both an actor and (for the most part) a cartoonist. This means that many people will still picture another man's face when they hear your name, despite your mastery of hitting tiny balls into faraway holes. Hi-yo! Yes! Adam Scott's chops: busted.
The Atlanta Braves improved to an NL best 11-1, as they completed a sweep of the Washington Nationals with a 9-0 road win. But don't get too cocky, Atlanta Braves. Of the last three teams to start 11-1, only one made the playoffs. Therefore, your odds of making the playoffs, 1-3, are the same as they were when you started the season, 10-30. Small sample sized! Ka-pow! You thought you were on the top peg, Braves of Atlanta. Now what peg are you on? I bet it's the second or third one down!
Kobe Bryant suffered a devastating Achilles injury that will keep the future Hall of Famer out for the remainder of this season, as well as the beginning of the next campaign. But don't get too all up on your high horse, people who don't like the Los Angeles Lakers. Not only did the Lakers win both of their games this weekend to increase their odds of qualifying for the postseason, but also, Kobe Bryant has still won five championships, become a legend in the second-biggest city in America, and amassed a personal fortune from playing a child's game that will be used to purchase medical care that will ensure that, despite his Achilles tear, he will live a healthier, longer, and more comfortable life than yours. Buh-zing! Sing, oh muses, of the fortunes of Kobe's haters: "Not so great!" Homer'd!
In case you were busy using an already awesome milk shake as the base for an even thicker and more decadent uber-milk shake, here's what you missed in sports on Thursday:
Sergio Garcia and Marc Leishman shot 6-under to share the opening-round lead at the Masters. Garcia, considered among the best active players to have never won a major, said afterward, "Oh, no, please don't notice I'm leading. I can't choke if I'm not in front. I had no idea my round would be good enough to put me on top. Please, don't even talk to me. Talk to Leishman! Just talk to Leishman! Why won't you just talk to Leishman?!" Garcia then ran into a greenside bunker at the fourth hole, attempting to bury himself in the sand.
The Bulls continued their streak-snapping ways, and Nate Robinson scored 35 points in Chicago's 118-111 win over the New York Knicks at United Center. New York came to Chicago on a 13-game winning streak. Knicks coach Mike Woodson was reflective after the loss, saying, "Oh, we laughed when Erik Spoelstra came in shouting, 'I'm out!' when the Bulls brought down his team's streak earlier this year. And we shrugged off his warning that they'd lay us low, as well. We were sure we'd remain kings of our castle, masters of our domain, lords of our manors. And yet here we are, sweaty, drained, and out of the winning streak contest ourselves."
There were only two moments during the long standoff between inevitability and the Augusta National Golf Club that made complete sense. The first moment came in 2002, when Martha Burk, the chair of the National Council of Women’s Organizations, wrote a letter to Augusta to protest the club’s all-male membership policy. It is unsurprising that a coalition of women’s rights groups objected to the fact that the host of one of golf’s most prestigious tournaments was an all-boys’ club. But Burk didn’t make a huge fuss — not then, at least. Her letter was private. The second moment that made sense occurred earlier this week, when Augusta announced that it was admitting two women as new members. One of the women is a former secretary of state from the George W. Bush administration; the other is a South Carolina billionaire financier. Both Condoleezza Rice and Darla Moore are avid golfers. Pretty much everything that happened in between those two moments played out as farce.
1. Clinton Portis, The Fund-raiser
I miss Clinton Portis. You miss Clinton Portis. We all miss Clinton Portis, I think, which is why it's exciting that the indispensable D.C. Sports Bog noted on Tuesday that Portis is set to appear at an upcoming fund-raiser for President Obama, hosted by Vice President Biden. Are we one step away from a Biden Pockets Straight shirt hitting the market? I really, really hope so.
2. Fidel Castro, Past-His-Prime Lefty
We expect a tearful apology from Chuck Klosterman any day now. In Spanish. "His relationship to baseball remains eternal. All that is required is his lack of death!"
Two moments from this weekend's Masters, courtesy of Phil Mickelson:
1. On the 15th hole Saturday, a reachable par-5, Mickelson's second shot hit the green and rolled off the edge into a valley. It wasn't a great place to be, especially with the pin on the left side of the green near the water. The camera caught him rubbing his head beneath his KPMG visor and slumping his shoulders in that desperate deflated posture Mickelson embodies so well. But when he reached the ball, the gears in his gambler brain started turning. It's easy to spot, because his eyes get bigger and bigger.
In case you were out living a life of leisure, here's what you missed in sports over the weekend.
Bubba Watson shot a final round 68 and defeated Louis Oosthuizen on the second playoff hole with an excellent iron from the rough to win the Masters. He wept after he made the shot, which marks the first time in history that a "Bubba" has cried over something other than a raccoon getting into the fried chicken. He later chuckled about his tears, which was the first time a Bubba has laughed at something other than an old Hee Haw episode on Betamax.
Oosthuizen hit a double eagle on the second hole Sunday — only the fourth time that feat has been accomplished at the Masters, and the first on television — and the fan who ended up with the ball, Wayne Mitchell, returned it to Augusta National. Neither side would discuss the terms of the deal they made, but it was curious that when Mitchell left the course, he was wearing a green jacket, and a furious Arnold Palmer was chained to a radiator in Butler Cabin.