Adam Scott Wins 2013 Masters in a Playoff

Adam Scott became the first Australian to win the Masters. Here, he shouts "Come on Aussies!" (Source: Getty Images)

Adam Scott became the first Australian to win the Masters. Here, he shouts “Come on Aussies!” (Source: Getty Images)

Adam Scott made a dramatic birdie putt at the 72nd hole to take the lead on Sunday at the Masters. And he did it again on the 2nd playoff hole against Angel Cabrera to win the 2013 Masters, his first major championship. The championship also marks the first victory for any Australian at the Masters.

Scott shot a 69 on Sunday to finish at -9. It looked like he would win the tournament outright when he holed a 20 foot birdie putt that went halfway around the cup before dropping on the eighteenth hole. He pumped his fist in joy and screamed “Come on Aussies!” before heading off to sign his scorecard. Just minutes later, Angel Cabrera hit an approach shot from about 150 yards in the fairway to two feet, setting up a birdie to tie Scott at -9. The two both parred the first playoff hole (18th) and hit the green on the second playoff hole in two shots. Cabrera’s birdie putt was a foot too long, and Adam Scott nailed his eight foot birdie putt for the championship.

Jason Day led most of the way on Sunday afternoon. He started with a birdie and a chip-in eagle on his first two holes to take a one shot lead, but bogeyed four times on the day to finish at -7 and in sole possession of third place. He led as late as his fifteenth hole.

Tiger Woods finished the tournament in fourth place at -5, four shots off the lead. Woods shot a 2-under-par 70 on Sunday, including three birdies on the back nine. Unfortunately for Tiger, he missed several key putts to continue his positive momentum, and could not find the clutch shots he needed down the stretch. His major championship drought now stands at 19 tournaments, dating back to the 2008 U.S. Open. He still needs four major championships to tie Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18.

Other notable finishes include Brandt Snedeker (-4), who shot three-over-par on Sunday after holding a share of the 54 hole lead, Bubba Watson (+7), the defending Masters champion who recorded a 10 on the par 3 12th hole and shot 77 on Sunday, and Phil Mickelson (+9), who shot 73 on Sunday en route to a 54th place performance. Tianlang Guan, the 14-year-old Chinese star, shot 75 to finish at +12 for the tournament. He made no worse than bogey all week and earned low amateur honors.

Adam Scott recorded two of the most dramatic putts in Masters history in his last three holes. After a promising start to his young career, Scott has the major championship he so highly coveted. Adam Scott is a champion, and Australians around the world will remember his name for years to come.

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Masters Highlights: Chasing the Green Jacket

masters

19 players stand within four shots of the lead after two rounds of the 2013 Masters at Augusta National Golf Club.

THE LEADERS

The 36-hole leader at the 2013 Masters is Jason Day (-6) of Australia, who shot the round of the day on Friday (a 4-under 68). Day had six birdies on Friday, including four on the back nine. Day heads to Saturday with a one shot lead, and is no stranger to success at Augusta. In his first start at the Masters in 2011, Day finished at -12, good for second place. Perhaps this year Day could earn his first major title at the Masters. No Australian player has ever won the Green Jacket.

Fred Couples, the 1992 Masters Champion, is once again in contention at Augusta National. The 53-year-old Couples opened  with six birdies and a round of 68 (-4) on Thursday, and followed up with a score of  71 (-1) on Friday. His total of 5-under par is good enough to earn him a spot in the final pairing on Saturday.

Mark Leishman of Australia shot a 66 yesterday but finished at 73 today, joining Fred Couples at 5-under par. Leishman, like many players on Friday, struggled in windier conditions on Friday, earning three bogeys to just two birdies. Still, Leishman is right in the middle of a crowded leaderboard. Jim Furyk, Angel Cabrera, and Brandt Snedeker stand at 4-under par, two shots off the lead. Furyk nearly won the 2012 US Open last summer at The Olympic Club in San Francisco, but faltered down the stretch. Cabrera has two major championships, including the 2009 Masters championship. Snedeker is the fourth-ranked player in the world and won the 2012 FedEx Cup.

TIGER ON THE PROWL

He’s back at #1. He’s back at Augusta. Tiger Woods is back as the overwhelming favorite to win the Masters (a tournaments he has won four times), and started out by shooting a fairly pedestrian 70 (-2) on Thursday. He recorded three birdies and one bogey, and played a solid, but not spectacular round of golf. “It’s a good start,” Tiger said. “But right now I’m only four back and I’m right there.” Tiger jumped out to a lead on Friday, but bogeyed 2 of his final four holes to finish at -3 for the tournament, three strokes off the lead. He made some mental mistakes down the stretch, but Tiger Woods is very much in contention heading into the weekend.

THE KID CAN PLAY

Perhaps the most surprising player on the course this week was 14-year-old Tianlang Guan. The youngster from China punched his ticket to the Masters by winning the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship, and came to Augusta not just to play, but to score well. At 14, he is the youngest player to ever play in the Masters, and got off to a hot start on Thursday shooting 73 (+1) to finish T-46. On Friday, he shot 75 (+3) and made the cut, despite being penalized for a slow play delay. Two time Masters champion and playing partner Ben Crenshaw was impressed with Guan: “He played a beautiful round of golf. He stays well within himself. He’s very confident and his thought process never got rushed. Very patient. Very impressive.” Clearly, Tianlang Guan has a bright future in golf for years to come.

OTHER NOTABLE SCORES

Sergio Garcia            66-76 (-2, T-14th)

Rory McIlroy             72-70 (-2, T-14th)

Rickie Fowler            68-76 (E, T-27th)

Phil Mickelson          71-76 (+3, T-48th)

Bubba Watson           75-73 (+4, T-55th) *Bubba Watson was not permitted to use his new hovercraft at the Masters.

Rory McIlroy Signs Contract with Nike

Rory McIlroy is joining some of the best athletes in the world at Nike. The world’s number one golfer signed a five-year endorsement contract with the popular manufacturer Monday, reportedly worth $125 million. McIlroy joins elite athletes like Roger Federer, LeBron James, and fellow golfer Tiger Woods at Nike.

McIlroy is poised to become golf’s next poster child. At just 23 years old, the Northern Irishman has triumphed on golf’s biggest stages, winning ten tournaments professionally. His 16-under par performance at the 2011 US Open smashed tournament scoring records and earned McIlroy the first of his two major championships. He also won the 2012 PGA Championship in August by a record eight strokes, and was a member of Europe’s victorious Ryder Cup teams in 2010 and 2012.

And if that wasn’t enough, McIlroy won virtually every major award for golfers in 2012, including PGA and European Tour Player of the Year honors. His four victories netted him more than $8 million in the United States, and McIlroy also won the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai worth another $1.4 million. McIlroy has held the World #1 Ranking since his PGA Championship victory in August.

Nike is already taking advantage of their sponsorship of Rory McIlroy. Starting Wednesday, Nike will air commercials featuring McIlroy and the Number 2 ranked golfer in the world, Tiger Woods. Woods famously signed an endorsement contract with Nike in 1996, when he famously said “Hello World”. The rest of Tiger’s career is history, with 14 major championships and more than $1 billion in earnings.

Much like Federer and Woods, McIlroy has all the tools to become an international superstar. He is young, energetic, popular among fans, and displays incredible athleticism. At only 23, McIlroy has done what only a handful of golfers have ever done. And his career is only getting started: McIlroy announced he would join the PGA Tour as an official member in 2013. With more potential than any golfer in the world, the future looks bright for McIlroy. And if Rory can be as successful as Tiger woods, Nike will succeed as well.

The Ultimate 2012 Sports Quiz

2012 was a very memorable year in sports. Records were broken, championships were won, and the Summer Olympics once again captivated the world. But it’s now time to see how much you know about the world of sports in 2012. Try your best to answer these questions, and submit them to the “Our Mission” page to see if you are the most knowledgeable sports fan!

  1. In the 2012 BCS National Championship Game, Alabama shut out #1 LSU 21-0. When was the last time the #1 team in college football was shut out?
  2. Super Bowl XLVI generated the most advertising revenue of any Super Bowl in history. How many million dollars did NBC earn from advertising revenues?
  3. The Kentucky Wildcats won the 2012 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament over the Kansas Jayhawks. How many Wildcats were drafted in the 2012 NBA Draft?
  4. At the 2012 Masters, Bubba Watson hooked a ball out of the trees onto the green in a playoff to win his first major. How long was that famous hook shot from the hole?
  5. The 2012 Kentucky Derby set new attendance and gambling records. How much money was wagered on the derby field in 2012?
  6. The Los Angeles Kings defeated the New Jersey Devils to win their first Stanley Cup in 45 years. Which two teams share a 45-year Stanley Cup drought?
  7. 2012 Home Run Derby winner Prince Fielder has 260 career home runs. How many of those home runs are walk-off winners?
  8. The 2012 Summer Olympics in London, England set new social media records for sporting events. Which athlete had the most Youtube views during the Olympics?
  9. On September 1, #19 Oklahoma State throttled Savannah State 84-0. How much did Savannah State earn for playing the Cowboys?
  10. In Game 1 of the 2012 World Series, Giants 3B Pablo Sandoval hit three home runs. How many other players have homered three times in a World Series game?
  11. In the 2012 Maui Invitational, Chaminade upset the University of Texas 86-73. How many wins does Chaminade have in the 29-year history of the tournament?
  12. Which athlete has the most followers on Twitter, as of Christmas Eve 2012?

 

Best of luck to everyone, and Happy Holidays from Front Office Sports!

New Jersey Wants to Gamble, Leagues Opposed

Atlantic City, NJ is one of the casino resort cities in the world, with twelve casino hotels.

Atlantic City, NJ is one of the casino resort cities in the world, with twelve casino hotels.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is in deep water again. But this time, is has nothing to do with politics or the disaster recovery at the Jersey Shore. Christie is in a legal battle with the four major American sports leagues and the NCAA over a proposed bill to allow New Jersey to authorize sports betting. New Jersey does have some limited sports betting, permitted at state racetracks and in Atlantic City casinos. The new legislation will permit individuals to purchase betting licenses to wager on sports games.

Christie has drawn heat for ignoring the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, a federal law that prevents most states from authorizing sports gambling. Nevada, Delaware, Oregon, and Montana were exempted from the law in the 1990s because of existing gambling laws. League commissioners Roger Goodell, Gary Bettman, Bud Selig, and David Stern have all publicly scolded Christie for compromising the integrity of American sports, with Stern saying that “New Jersey has no idea what it’s doing and doesn’t care”.

The four leagues (NBA, NFL, NHL, and MLB) and the NCAA have filed a joint lawsuit against the State of New Jersey, claiming that Chris Christie blatantly ignored federal law in an attempt to improve his own state’s financial strength. New Jersey faces tough economic conditions, with a budget deficit of more than $11 billion, and millions of dollars in damages from Hurricane Sandy in  October. Christie believes that promoting sports gambling would help the Garden State recover from these deficits.

This lawsuit is not only a financial matter, but an ethical one as well. Millions of dollars could be generated for New Jersey if gambling is approved, but the State could be condoning fair play and healthy competition by doing so. The NCAA has already announced it will schedule future championships outside of the Garden State. Is the money really worth alienating true sports fans?

American Soccer Growing Through MLS

Take a guess at the third most-attended sport in the United States (behind the NFL and MLB, of course). I bet you might guess the NBA or even the NHL. But both of those guesses are wrong; in fact, Major League Soccer recently passed the NBA as the third most-attended sport in America. And even though the United States isn’t considered a “soccer-crazy country”, American soccer fans have the MLS to thank for putting soccer back in the spotlight.

Founded in 1993, Major League Soccer was a key part of an American campaign to host the 1994 FIFA World Cup. The league started playing in 1996, with ten original teams. However, between its founding and the 2004 season, Major League Soccer lost nearly $350 million. However, the league continued to expand, growing from ten to fourteen teams in 2004. Today, the league has 19 clubs in the United States and Canada, many in small markets with little to no professional sports presence, such as Portland, Oregon and Columbus, Ohio.

The Seattle Sounders lead MLS with an average home attendance of 43,143 fans per match. Photo Credit: Erika Schultz/The Seattle Times

Another major reason for Major League Soccer’s growth is contract sponsorship. Many major corporations are sponsoring team’s jerseys, which make MLS clubs millions of dollars per year. Among these companies include Microsoft’s Xbox (Seattle Sounders, $4 million) and Volkswagen (DC United, $3.1 million). And MLS is diving into the TV market as well. After a 2006 contract with ESPN recently ended, MLS recently signed a three-year contract with NBC Sports to broadcast more than 40 regular season matches nationwide. It’s not as popular as Monday Night Football, but the coverage is nonetheless impressive.

But perhaps the most influential aspect of Major League Soccer’s rise to prominence is its international influence. MLS created a rule known as the Designated Player Rule to allow clubs to buy foreign players despite relatively small salary caps in the United States. This move has allowed superstars like David Beckham of England and Thierry Henry of France to join the best players in the United States. The MLS All-Star Game also features the league’s elite competing against the best clubs in the world, including Manchester United and Chelsea.

The MLS is growing. In 2012, the league drew more than 6 million fans, an average of 18,807 per match. With international exposure, prime television coverage, and franchise expansion, the league is set to boom in popularity. With more than 15 million children playing organized soccer in the United States, Major League Soccer provides a beacon of hope and motivation for the future generations of Americans. Ain’t that a kick in the head?

The World of Sports Casts Its Vote

As per tradition, President Obama throws out the first pitch on Opening Day in Washington, D.C.

It’s a presidential election year, which means that for months you have become accustomed to speeches, political rallies, smear campaign commercials, and opinion polls. Today we decide the leadership of our great country for the next four years, whether that leader is President Obama or Governor Romney. By now you’ve seen enough about what Gallup polls predict or whom the Rasmussen Poll says will win the election; let’s take a look at who the world of sports predicts as the next President of the United States.

NFL– President Obama’s Chicago Bears currently stand at 7-1, leading the NFC North by two games over the Packers. Romney’s New England Patriots also lead their division, but their 5-3 record gives the President the early advantage. OBAMA 1-0.

NCAA FB– Sticking with football, President Obama’s Columbia Lions currently have a 2-6 record. Governor Romney takes the point in this one, as his Brigham Young Cougars have a 5-4 record. TIE 1-1.

MLB– Unfortunately for President Obama’s beloved Chicago White Sox, a playoff berth was just out of reach. But their 85-77 record still trumped the Boston Red Sox, who finished with a lowly 69-93 mark. OBAMA 2-1.

NHL– There’s no hockey being played now, so we’ll look at last season. And it’s a close one, folks! Romney’s hometown Boston Bruins edge out Obama’s Chicago Blackhawks in points 102-101. One point to Romney. TIE 2-2.

NBA– It might be too early to judge this, but the Chicago Bulls are 2-1, while the Boston Celtics are just 1-2. The President slips into the lead once again. OBAMA 3-2.

NCAA BB-Once again, Romney takes the point at the collegiate level. Last season, his BYU Cougars went 26-9, while Obama’s Columbia Lions won (and lost) 15. TIE 3-3.

Gov. Mitt Romney held a last-minute rally that attracted nearly 30,000 people in Yardley, Pennsylvania on Sunday.

We need a tiebreaker. The Game 7 of Presidential elections: it doesn’t get much more dramatic than this! Fortunately, we have a unique trend to explain the result: the Redskin Rule. Since 1940, every presidential election (except 2004) has been decided by the outcome of the last Washington Redskins home game before Election Day. If the Redskins win, the incumbent party wins the election. If the Skins lose, so too does the incumbent party candidate.

This year’s result: Panthers 21, Redskins 13. As a result, the Redskin Rule predicts the 2012 presidential election for Governor Mitt Romney of Massachusetts. Now this of course won’t affect the actual election, but the world of sports has cast its imaginary vote. ROMNEY WINS 4-3.