With a giant clink, the ball disappeared into the mass of people crowding the left side of the 18th green.
Everyone but Crystal Hodges scattered. The young medical worker from Myrtle Beach, S.C., was not allowed to move. The ball had landed directly under her green folding chair. She was ordered to sit still until her hero arrived.
"Hey, how are you doing?" said Phil Mickelson, approaching with a smile.
"Um, good," she said. "How are you doing?"
How is he doing? Hodges spends her days working with cancer patients. She came to Augusta National for her first Masters on Saturday to cheer Mickelson because he is helping his wife and mother battle cancer. Out of nowhere, her chair had just stopped his ball from further trouble.
How do you think Phil Mickelson is doing? The chair was moved, Hodges was resettled, Mickelson calmly chipped onto the green and saved par to appropriately finish perhaps the most fortuitous round of his life.
"All that he's going through, and he asks how I'm doing?'' Hodges said later. "How could anybody not cheer for him?"