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SportsColumnistsMark Herrmann

Masters 2012: Winners and losers

Tiger Woods of the United States on the

Tiger Woods of the United States on the fourth tee during the final round of the 2012 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. (April 8, 2012) Photo Credit: Getty

Here is the final scorecard, one last look at who won and who lost at the Masters:

WINNER: Bubba Watson. The thrilling finish and his emotional reaction will open many new doors to Watson and his family. In one day, his Twitter following increased to a half-million.

LOSER: Tiger Woods. He entered as the heavy favorite because of his big win at Bay Hill, then had one of the worst weeks of his career. Will we all be picking him to win the U.S. Open?

WINNER: American golf. Nine months ago, there was caterwauling about U.S. golfers never winning majors. Now they have two in a row, and a golfer doesn't get any more American than a guy named Bubba, the son of a Green Beret who served in Vietnam.

LOSER: Official World Golf Rankings. They seem more irrelevant than ever after No. 1 Luke Donald was a non-factor (except for a scoring snafu Thursday).

LOSER: Billy Payne. Augusta National chairman lost control of his own news conference because of his nonanswers about the club's males-only membership policy. What will he do next year when questions resurface?

WINNER: Martha Burk. Her organized demonstration nine years ago was a fiasco, and no one knows how many people really are in her organization, but she still is the spokeswoman -- and a wry one at that -- against Augusta National's policy.

WINNER: Novelty. Each of the past eight majors has been won by someone who never had won one before, suggesting there is a world of new talent out there.

LOSER: Consistency. Thirteen different winners in the past 13 majors. Wouldn't a little dominance help the sport? Without Woods in contention, Sunday TV ratings plummeted.

LOSER: Rory McIlroy. When he had the opportunity Saturday to prove he really is the next great golfer, he built his own trap door and fell in it.

WINNER: Fred Couples. You couldn't expect him to actually win. For a 52-year-old, he was terrific.

WINNER: History. Louis Oosthuizen's double eagle was one for the books.

LOSER: Botany. Augusta's warm winter caused the azaleas to bloom too early, robbing the Masters of its usual color.

WINNER: Peter Hanson. Predictably, he failed to hold his Saturday lead. Still, he did not fall apart. His tie for third was a nice career boost.

LOSER: Phil Mickelson. True, the new Hall of Famer fueled this Masters with his Saturday charge. Yet he lost a golden opportunity to win another major. At 41, how many more chances will he have?

WINNER: Sergio Garcia's honesty. By telling Spanish reporters that he just doesn't have what it takes to win a major, Garcia acknowledged what everybody else was thinking.

LOSER: Sergio Garcia's stature. If he is not a major contender, should he still get so much attention?

WINNER: Sudden death. The Masters is the only major that uses the most exciting playoff format. Great theater.

LOSER: Sudden dusk. By pushing it with those CBS-friendly late tee times, the Masters is going to get burned one of these years and run out of daylight for the playoff.

LOSERS: Golf swing technocrats. With his hyper-intricate, over-analyzed mechanics, Woods again made swinging a golf club seem like splitting the atom. He seemed bewildered.

WINNERS: Natural swings. Big week for smooth rhythms: Couples, Oosthuizen. And the Masters was won by a guy who never has taken a golf lesson.

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