Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Mattiace Will Never Forget Emotional Day

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Mattiace Will Never Forget Emotional Day

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Woods, Times-Union sports columnist

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- As TV viewers were seeing the traditional, painfully dry chat in the Butler Cabin, a few hundred yards away, under a canopy of trees near the media center, a scene full of raw emotion was playing out.

Len Mattiace was talking to reporters. Or trying to talk.

Tears were streaming down his face. He bowed his head, took a deep breath, wiped his face with the sleeve of his shirt and tried again. Finally, the 35-year-old Jacksonville resident and former Nease High School star managed to get out a few words.

"It's all coming out," he said.

The first impulse was to think that "it" was pain over what had just happened. After leading the Masters for two hours, he had gone to a sudden-death playoff and lost to Mike Weir.

Not so, he said. The tears weren't of sadness. He cried the day his two daughters were born; the day he made Q school and, yes, the day he almost won the Masters. Even with the finish, he said, it was something he had been dreaming about since he was 8.

"It was very, very special," he said.

The fact that he even was around was one of the biggest surprises of the week. And that's saying something, considering all that happened after the rain finally stopped, cramming four days into three.

There was Tiger Woods starting with a 76, nearly missing the cut, then charging back and heading into yesterday as the leader. OK, he wasn't really the leader. He was tied for fifth. But even four shots back, he sure felt like the leader. So what happens? He shoots 75, tied for 15th, 10 shots from a three-peat.

There was Jeff Maggert, who started the day with a two-shot lead, trying to get out of a bunker on No. 3, blasting the ball off the lip and back into his body, a two-stroke penalty that led to a triple-bogey and started a fall to fifth. …

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