Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Master

I like Phil Mikelson and was happy to see him win the Masters this year.  I also acknowledge that Golf is difficult.  As Phil approached the 18th hole on the last round of the 2010 Masters Tournament, he looked as if he was actually glistening with sweat from his exertion - or from the sun.  To shoot back to back eagles is difficult to imagine. The last time I golfed, I hit a Buick.   

At the same time Phil worked his way into Master's history, Fabian Cancellera also made history by winning Paris Roubaix.  For the one reader who is not a cyclist, Paris Roubaix is regarded as the most difficult single day bike race in the professional race calendar.  It is difficult because many parts of the race are over cobble stone roads in France and Belgium.  Cancellera won by viciously attacking a selection of some of the best racers in the world and literally rode away from them. He created a gap of twenty seconds that became more than two minutes.  This was accomplished a week after a similar performance a week after the Tour of Flanders.  

Cancellera is in a class of his own.  I personally think he might be the Eddie Merckx of our era. Yet, most Americans have never heard of him. 

The following day, I stopped by a coffee shop.  Newspapers broadcast the good news:  PHIL MICKELSON WINS THE MASTERS.  All of the newspapers had the same or similar headline.  I picked up a copy.  I knew I would be disappointed but I wanted to read about Cancellera.  I turned to the Sports section.  I was surprised to see a regurgitation about the Masters tournament on the front page of the Sports Section.  And the second and third pages.  Shouldn't a story about Golf be in the Lifestyle section?  Shrugging my shoulder, I turned to page 2 to read about Cancellera.  Nothing.  Surely, on page 3.  Page 4?  The back page?  

Back at the office, I googled for news stories about Paris Roubaix.  Here is what I found from the New York Times: 

Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland won the Paris-Roubaix race in France, capturing the event for a second time and claiming his second victory in a one-day classic in eight days. He won by two minutes a week after his victory in the Tour of Flanders. 

Better than nothing. 

For the cycling fans, if you are not already depressed, this next tidbit will do it for sure.  The person who secured second place in the Masters tournament, was awarded a cash prize that amounted to $200,000 more than the first place winner of last year's Tour de France.  Fabian Cancellera raced his bike for about six and half hours at an average speed of twenty five miles per hour into headwinds and over roads that are centuries old.  He likely burned more calories in the race than Phil Mickelson ingested the entire four days of the Masters tournament.  Cancellera probably won less cash prize money than Mickelson's caddy.