After a Masters that was tied up in controversy on Saturday morning after Tiger Woods narrowly escaped disqualification from the tournament, yesterday Angel Cabrera and Adam Scott proved that golf is still a game of integrity. Scott triumphed as Masters champion, his first major win, by clinching the green jacket from Cabrera in a final playoff after sharing the lead on the closing holes along with fellow Australian Jason Day.
Scott rose to major glory after sinking a 15 foot birdie putt on the 10th green, the second extra hole of the playoff which resulted after Cabrera lost his outright lead following two bogeys at the end of his final round. Despite holding the overnight lead alongside Brandt Snedeker, Cabrera forfeited his -9, two-shot lead during the front nine and shared his lead with Scott and Day over the closing holes. Day, who was runner up with Scott in the 2011 tournament finished in third place along with Marc Leishman and world number one Tiger Woods, who failed to bring his previous Sunday magic back to fight for the prised green jacket.
Controversy surfaced around Augusta on Saturday when it became apparent that Woods had performed an incorrect drop on the 15th hole during his second round. Breaking the R&A Rule 26 should have resulted in his disqualification from the tournament, however, the consequence was 'waived' due to that fact that officials had witnessed video footage of the incident prior to Wood's own knowledge. The decision to penalise the world number one with only a two-shot penalty sparked uproar as many felt that officials had put Woods's own prestige before the integrity of the game. Interest in Woods's performance is a factor which heightens TV ratings and brings in large audiences, something which rule officials considering the incident would have been aware of. Discontent escalated when Nick Faldo, England's former champion, stated that Woods himself should have withdrawn from the tournament in order to demonstrate his sportsmanship and respect for the game.
However, for a sport that prides itself on integrity, honour, grace and merit, Scott and Cabrera safeguarded golf's reputation in their comments after the tournament.
Speaking after his victory, Scott said: "It fell my way today, there was some luck there but it's incredible to be in this position. I'm honoured".
"This is the one thing in golf we hadn't been able to achieve. It's amazing that it's my destiny to be the first Australian to win".
Former Masters champion, Cabrera said: "Adam's a good winner. I would have been happier if I had won but he's a great player, I get along with him, we've played together in the President's Cup and I'm happy for him".
Having come so close to major glory at the Open last year after he fluffed a four-shot lead with four to play, handing the title to South African Ernie Els, Scott's victory yesterday was thoroughly deserved. After claiming his first major, he will surely be on the lookout for his second throughout the rest of the season.