Tiger’s Chip In – won the tournament?

Every year, the Masters comes, and goes, and then the media does their series of writeups about the winnner, the losers, and the tournament.

Sometimes, these media stories discuss how a player goofed a particular shot and lost the tournament, or how 1 particular shot MADE a tournament.

In this Washington Times Article, they mention the following:

The difference between winning and losing was the width of a rotation: Tiger Woods’s ball rolled into the cup on the 16th hole at Augusta National, while Chris DiMarco’s banged the stick and rolled away on the 18th.

I disagree with this 100%.

The rest of the article is fine, but that one statement got me angry because there are alot of people in this world who don’t understand the relationship between Cause and Effect.

Whether its golf, baseball, basketball, or field hockey, when you make a decision in your sport, there will be an effect to your action.

In this case, they are claiming that Tiger’s shot at 16 was the difference between him winning and/or losing.

Why? Why is it that shot is the difference. They make it sound like if the ball hangs on the lip, Tiger taps in for his par, Dimarco makes his birdie and its a different ball game. Sure, that could happen, but so could Tiger stepping up to the 17th tee and knocking one down the middle, maybe finishing Birdie, Birdie.

My point is, too many people, especially media, are too quick to point out a particular event as being the changing moment.

Sure, Tiger’s chip in at 16 certainly caused an adrenaline rush, but keep in mind, that adrenaline rush may very well be linked to his blocked drive on 17.

Cause and Effect.

If his chip doesn’t go in, its not as easy as saying Tiger still would have won or Dimarco would have. You make a decision on the course, and whatever happens happens. Then you have to play your next shot.

The reason some players go on birdie binges is because their blood is pumping and they are focused. Same goes for bogey runs. Players can have a span of bogeys just as easily as a span of birdies.

My whole point is that if Tiger’s chip does not go in, then the next 8 to 10 shots between the players for the next 2 holes could have been completely different.

We will never know and its pointless to debate that as we know who won the Masters, but I hate it when I see statements like the one mentioned by the Washington Times making it sound like 1 particular event is the ultimate decision maker in a round of golf or any sport for that matter.

Quick example. In 1998, our High School Golf team was #1 in the state of Indiana. We were expected to go to state. So we were at the Regionals trying to make it to state. I reach the 18th hole and if I par, I shoot 77. Well, I proceed to rope hook a ball way left out of bounds. I proceed to shoot an 80 for the round. Problem is, we lost by 2 going to state.

Was it my fault? Partly, but could the reason we didn’t go to state rest on my shoulders. Absolutely NOT. Our #1 player also shot 80, and I am sure the other 3 players could have found an extra shot they wasted somewhere.

In a basketball game, does it REALLY come down to that one player who failed to make the last second 3 pointer? Is it really his fault? Could the other players during the the previous 45 minutes of play found somewhere , where 2-3 extra points weren’t lost.

To many individual players, when it comes to a team event, get blamed because that last second shot, or that 3 foot putt for the win is missed. Are they partly to blame for losing. Sure, but it gets tiring to see all of the blame be placed on them.