Last Updated: February 13, 2012 1:22pm
After two years of graft and muted applause, the birdies and roars returned to echo around the back nine of Augusta National on Sunday.
It was a glorious restoration of the excitement that earned the tournament its splendid reputation and the final day featured a wonderful double-bill: a spectacular Woods-Mickelson head-to-head followed by Argentina's first Green Jacket winner, Angel Cabrera.
It had been apparent from first thing Thursday morning that this would be a brighter Masters - not only was the weather clear and sunny, but the scoring was too and Chad Campbell took advantage, storming into the lead with a seven-under-par 65.
On Friday Campbell added a 70 and was joined at the top of the leaderboard by fellow American Kenny Perry who carded pre-cut rounds of 68-67, with Cabrera alone in third after two rounds of 68.
The third round was played in gusty conditions and Cabrera (69) and Perry (70) coped best to take the joint lead, with Campbell's 72 seeing him slip two shots behind.
Traditionally the focus on the final day is on the late groups, but the dream pairing of Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods were drawn together and they didn't disappoint.
Seven shots behind on the first tee, they thrilled the patrons who cheered them down every fairway. Mickelson (67) broke the front nine record with a six birdie 30 and was one shot off the lead playing the 12th only to find water and see his challenge evaporate.
Woods was never quite so inspired but the drama of their duel had ignited the fans who, when that sideshow was over, returned their attention to Perry, Cabrera and Campbell.
After very nearly claiming a hole-in-one at the 16th (he made birdie) Perry (71) secured a two shot lead and seemed in control, but, after 22 bogey-free holes, he faltered, making bogey on 17 and 18 to tie Campbell (69) and his playing partner Cabrera (71).
On the first extra hole Cabrera twice hit the trees but made an excellent par from the middle of the fairway. Campbell bogeyed that hole and Perry suffered one of his own on the second extra hole.
The big Argentine therefore claimed South America's first Green Jacket, 31 years after Robert Di Vicenzo's famous and agonising near miss.
The powerful Cabrera had hit it longer and often straighter in previous Masters but in 2009 he did the important thing well - he got the ball into the hole. His sometimes under-appreciated short-game skills saw him finish sixth in Scrambling and seventh in Putting Average and only once before, when ninth in 2002, had he taken fewer putts on Augusta's treacherous greens. A Masters career best 20 birdies combined with a Masters career low eight bogeys was also perfectly synchronized.
* Won in play-off
|Par 3 Contest Winner||Score|
|U.S. Open||Lucas Glover|
|The Open||Stewart Cink|