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Beating the Odds

What Made the Masters Great

Adam Scott, who had never captured even one major title, won the Masters twice on Sunday.

First he made a clutch putt for an apparent victory on 18. Then, after Angel Cabrera answered with a nerves-of-steel birdie of his own, Scott went back out and rolled in his title-winning shot.

That’s what made this Masters so great. No one choked. Scott and Cabrera both went for it. They played to win instead of playing not to lose.

That’s the sign of an improved mental game for Scott, who handed last year’s British Open to Ernie Els with a string of bogeys. He vowed on that day, “Next time — I’m sure there well be a next time — I can do a better job of it.”

Scott proved to all of us that when you don’t win, you can make a choice between losing and learning. Scott made the choice to learn and, sure enough, when his next opportunity came, he showed what he had learned.

That’s the classic formula for improvement and achievement: 1) try, 2) observe the result, 3) decide what adjustments to make and 4) try again.

It all added up to redemption for Scott.

There was no such result for Tiger Woods, who entered as the favorite but gained the most attention for a ball in the water that led to an illegal drop that gave him a two-stroke penalty. Woods, who before his domestic troubles was a model of mental toughness, never quite recovered from the ball in the water.

He, like Scott after last year’s British open, has something to work on. Time will tell if redemption can follow.


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