by Gord Bedard
Is it just me or are more and more PGA tour players subscribing to the power of red on Sunday afternoon? And as a consequence, has crimson, the once sacred and exclusive Sunday hue of the world’s greatest golfer, become a bit commonplace, a little routine, sort of ho hum? Has red lost some of its power? A red shirt didn’t help Lee Westwood, Jason Day, or Tiger Woods at the 2011 Masters Championship this past Sunday, nor did it help any of the other players who dared to go red this year.
We’ve all seen the power of Tiger Woods’ red shirt at the Masters. Who could forget Tiger’s incredible chip shot on the par 3, 16th in 2005? Up the slope of the green, away from the hole until gravity took hold and fed it back down towards it. There was no other way to make the shot, and no other way to win the tournament. Then, as they say “you couldn’t write this stuff” the ball inches its way towards the hole and then dies on the edge, motionless, inert, suspended, just long enough for the camera to zoom in on the Nike logo before it drops into the cup. What a shot! What an endorsement! Nike golf shoes, Nike balls and Sasquatch drivers flew off the shelves at golf shops around the world.
The power of red was missing at this year’s version of the Masters. Oh I know Tiger and Jason Day were in it to the end, but neither of them won. Tiger missed a 2 footer on par 3, 12th and Jason Day, the brilliant young star from down under, came in 2 strokes back of the eventual winner. You have to go all the way back to 2005 for a red power win at the Masters.
Red worked just fine back in the day. However there’s been another colour dominating the competition for the Green Jacket for no less than 6 of the last 9 Masters Championships. Black won the day in 2010 when Phil Mickelson, on the par 5, 13th, pulled his drive into the pines on the right. His ball came to rest on 3 inches of pine straw. Phil had just a glimpse of the flag 200 yards away through a narrow 3 foot gap between two towering pine trees. In typical Mickelson fashion, he proceeded to pound his Callaway 6 iron between the trees and over the tributary to Rae’s Creek that guards the green, to within 6 feet of the pin. He made the eagle putt and went on to win the championship.
This year’s winner, Charl Schwartzel , wore black as he chipped in for birdie from 30 yards off the green, on the first hole. He holed his 2nd shot for eagle on the par 3rd then nervously clambered down golf’s most famous finishing holes en-route to birdies at 15, 16, 17 and 18 and a two stroke victory.
Trevor Immelman wore black when he won the Masters in 2008, Phil wore black in 2006 and 2004 and of course Mike Weir wore black in 2003. To the best of my recollection Jack Nicklaus never wore red on Sunday at Augusta, or any Sunday at any of the US Opens, the PGAs, or the Open Championships, that he won and neither did Arnold Palmer. Gary player always dressed in black.
Tiger will win again in his Sunday red but for now black seems to hold the power…at Augusta at least.