Debate: Where does this Masters rank?

After such an exciting finish, I am left with mixed emotions over the 2009 Masters when considering how it would rank against tournaments of past years. 

On one hand, the finish was nothing short of awesome. A three-way playoff at Augusta National is going to be great any way you slice it. The late runs of Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods were also intriguing as the world's top two players tried to claw their way back into contention. Plus, the first day of low scoring
 combined with the harsh conditions on Friday made for some interesting rounds as Chad Campbell failed to distance himself from the field despite his great round on Thursday. 

Though these factors may have made for an exciting finish, there certainly are several counter-arguments. In short, any major championship that doesn't feature a Tiger Woods comeback (or alternatively, a dominating performance) seems to lack the magic we all hope for. Even if Tiger or Phil had lost in the playoff, it still would have set up an intriguing David vs. Goliath storyline. Aside from the lack of Woods and Mickelson, the three players who came out on top were not exactly the ones we hoped to see playing late on Sunday. Campbell was ranked 71st in the world prior to this tournament. Kenny Perry clearly peaked long ago. Angel Cabrera seems to pop up every so often to win a major championship. 

In fact, a Perry victory would likely have earned the 2009 Masters a spot as one
 of the ten most exciting tournaments in Augusta National history. Almost certainly, this will be the last chance Perry gets to contend for a major championship. As a well-liked player on the PGA Tour for his entire career, I am sure a significant number of golf fans would have loved to see Perry emerge victorious. He didn't get it done though. 

I would have loved to see Padraig Harrington (pictured right) make a run at this to complete the "Paddy Slam." This guy was way underrated by golf experts and fans alike going into the event. Harrington has three major championships already, and it was definitely time for him to add a green jacket to his collection. 

What may have taken away from the rounds of the three players who made the playoff is simply the lack of spectacular moments. Sure, Perry had a few coming down the stretch, but all three players employed fairly conservative strategies while Tiger and Phil were draining birdies and reaching par 5's in two like there was no tomorrow. 

The playoff will likely be the portion of the Masters that doesn't stack up to past tournaments. Let's face it. This way pretty much a competition to see who could choke the least. Other than Cabrera miraculous save on the first playoff hole, the play of all three players was a bit poor. Would I have preferred to see someone drain a chip or nail an approach shot to set up an easy birdie? Definitely. Larry Mize moments don't come around very often.

Don't get me wrong here. I loved the 2009 Masters from the par 3 contest to the Sunday playoff. When thinking about this year's tournament in comparison to past Masters though, this probably won't be the one of the first decade of the millennium that we remember. 

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