To Zach Johnson, on the occasion of your first triumph in a major:
Congratulations are in order! You have commemorated the 20th anniversary of Larry Mize’s absurdly unlikely chip-in to beat Greg Norman with a fluky, mirror-image over-par win at Augusta. In a tournament shaped to a ludicrous extent by weather conditions and a draconian course set-up, you got the most lucky bounces and (to be fair) holed the most 15 footers down the stretch. And so there we have it, the lineage of the Green Jacket now goes: Mickelson-Woods-Mickelson-Zach Johnson. Not exactly an historian’s dream, but neither can anyone take this achievement away from you, and so we press on in the knowledge that you were in the right place at the right time and seized the opportunity. Well played, my friend, well played.
But friend…some things I cannot take. There are certain vanities, certain mental gymnastics, which simply cannot help but divide two souls incontrovertibly. Now, in the aftermath of your triumph, could we take a moment to review some of your reasoning for how it is you emerged on top? For certainly you and I have a slightly different impression of how this surprising eventuality came to pass!
Here, before you had even won, were some of the assertions that you made regarding the reasons for your victory, in a televised interview:
1) “There were a lot of people looking out for me today.”
You said this, friend, and I thought to myself: “Well, I guess that’s possible.” I grant you, I did not know exactly what you meant. Who exactly was looking after you? Your caddy? Your playing partner? Nick Faldo? It seemed…odd. But given the magnitude of the event, I guess this was not an entirely outrageous assertion. But then things really got surprising! For your next remark struck me as quite the unordinary non-sequitor:
2) “My faith is very important to me. And you know, it is Easter…”
What? Excuse me? I’m sorry — I must have misunderstood you. I don’t think I’m hearing well. Did you say Easter? I’m not sure I know what that is. Let me look it up...Aha! Here we go:
An annual Christian festival in commemoration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, observed on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox, as calculated according to tables based in Western churches on the Gregorian calendar and in Orthodox churches on the Julian calendar.
Huh! What do you know? And you say that this event happened to fall on that other holy holiday, the final round of the Masters. Quite a coincidence. Now you say that this unusual confluence may have in some way benefited you? How queer! But why?!
3) “Well, you know Jesus…”
Oh, I see. You won the Masters because of Jesus. Owing to the many fine bounces you got in your final round, it then became obvious to you that CHRIST, on the day of his resurrection, preferred that you win the Masters as opposed to say, Rory Sabbatini? Well friend…here is where I am afraid we part company. You see, I think you were just lucky. I sincerely doubt that the SON OF GOD set into motion the conditions for you to triumph. I rather doubt that HE intervened and caused Goosen to hit iron off the tee at 14 or Tiger to yank his second shot into the drink at the last par 5. Perhaps I'll soon be proven wrong. Perhaps lightning will strike your fellow competitors goofy at the rest of this year's majors, and you'll be making the same speech and I will have been proven the faithless fool. Lets see then, my blessed friend! (I shant be holding my breath).
Yours In Agnosticism,
Open Letter To Tiger:
Of course my feelings for you are a matter of record. I am your biggest fan and not even the restraining order has not remotely diminished my boundless affection and gratitude for the countless vicarious thrills you have provided me. That said, we need to face facts: you are in a slump. It is now eight months since your last victory at a major. Granted, there has been only one played since then, and you finished second. But as we know, second place sucks. Maybe a swing change is in order? Or maybe I should just come to your house. Consider it. Don'’t rule it out of hand. You're still the one.
To Big Phil
Phil, what the hell was that?! Were you even trying? You win two of the last three and that's your idea of a title defense? I understand that the conditions were a little off-putting, but could you not grind just a small amount? You open the final day four shots out in spite of yourself and promptly begin Sunday with a TRIPLE at 1? Why do I get the feeling you were principally interested in getting off the course and into the hot wings buffet? I expect more from my nemesis. Don’t make me replace you with Adam Scott…
To The Keepers Of Augusta National:
Dear Old Money,
I am fully aware that you are imperious by nature, but this time you've just tricked up the course too much. Some of us wait around all winter for this! I never fully understood the need to "Tiger-Proof" Augusta National — God forbid the best players should routinely win — but now you've gone and made the damn thing so long and unwieldy that once the wind started blowing no one could make a birdie. I don't need to tune into the Masters to see some minor-league holdover with a cautious and unspectacular game outlast the big hitters by playing the percentages and maing a few key putts. That tournament already exists: it happens in June and is called the US Open. Here's a few of the players that you managed to "Tiger-Proof" over the cut line: Michael Campbell (76-77), Chris DiMarco (75-78), Darren Clarke (83-71), Sergio Garcia (76-77), and Ernie Els (78-76). What fun is that? I am just hoping the USGA will see this and elect to set up Oakmont Country Club like that par 3 course in Northern Michigan I used to get to play every Summer, "Üncle Gus's Pitch And Putt Armory." I want to see someone win at -30 under! 18 holes of Amen Corner is no way to run this plantation party! Lets not do it again. Great tournament, by the way. Any tickets left for next year?