Something was very wrong with the TV coverage of this tournament during third round action. It felt as if the earth had shifted on it's axis, or perhaps we'd entered into some sort of twilight zone. In the furthest reaches of my mind -- which, granted, is likely akin to a one inch putt -- there was an eerie, ominous sense of something being horribly out of whack. Adding to the mounting dread of experiencing this strange new world was the fact I couldn't quite put my finger on what was out of place. Outwardly, everything appeared normal watching the best golfers in the world take on Augusta National, yet somehow it just -- wasn't.
Under very good playing conditions, it was quite the golfing extravaganza to watch. A little bit of everything was going on. Spectacular shots, and putts, abounded. Everything from eagles to quadruple bogies were on display. Some players fell back, while others charged up the leader board. Sentimental favorite Fast Freddie Couples, the co-leader after two rounds, didn't have a completely terrible day. He just couldn't keep pace with a few other guys that were blistering the course.
(Something's still wrong here.....)
One of the chargers was Phil Mickelson. At the end of the day, the always lovable lefty found himself merely one shot out of the lead, going into the finale on Sunday. Shooting 30 on the back nine at Augusta, under Masters' tournament pressure? That's not just good. That's awesome.
As the TV coverage progressed, CBS did a masterful job, no pun intended, of providing the viewers with blanket coverage of the action. From group to group, and hole to hole, complete with replays that were merely seconds old, it was like we could see everything going on at once.
And here's a shout-out to the people that actually run the tournament. They don't have to beg for TV sponsors. They can pick and choose who they "allow" to be associated with their crown jewel. Being a blue-chip championship, it only makes sense they would go with blue-chip sponsors. Like IBM and Exxon. No Japanese or Korean car companies allowed, and certainly no heathens running around hawking a credit card. Now THAT was a breath of magnolia-scented air. Thank you, whoever you are.
(That eerie feeling persisted. Something was out of place.....)
Then, toward the very end of the telecast, as the last of the players were finishing up their rounds -- it happened.
The mandatory Tiger Woods highlights. See Tiger make a good shot. See Tiger roll in a birdie putt. See Tiger smile. See Tiger frown. See Tiger floundering around 12 strokes back and hopelessly out of contention. But dammit, at least we got to see Tiger. How could we mere mortals possibly survive without our Tiger fix?
And now everything is back to normal in the world.
Whew. I'm sure glad THAT ordeal is over.