AUGUSTA, Ga. — A Maple Leaf grows among the towering pines of Augusta National.
Mike Weir became the first Canadian to win the Masters, making two clutch pars to force a playoff with Len Mattiace, and winning on the first extra hole with a simple tap-in for bogey.
The green jacket that Tiger Woods had hoped to slip on for a record third straight year is going north of the border.
Weir, who only five years ago had to toil through PGA Tour qualifying school, closed with a bogey-free 68 on a dramatic Sunday at Augusta National, then let Mattiace make all the mistakes in the first Masters playoff in 13 years.
Weir had to sweat over a 5-foot par putt on the 17th and a 6-footer on the 18th, as Mattiace waited on the practice green among chairs that already were set up for the fabled green jacket ceremony.
Minutes later, Weir leaned over to tap in for his only bogey of the day, then raised his arms and embraced his longtime friend and caddie, Brennan Little.
What a breakthrough — not only was he the first Canadian to win a major championship, he became the first left-hander to win a major since Bob Charles in the 1963 British Open.
Mattiace watched a brilliant day at Augusta National crumble quickly.
He chipped in for birdie, holed a 60-foot putt on No. 10, and charged through the back nine on a mission to build a two-stroke lead. But Mattiace bogeyed the 18th for a 65, and he never had a chance in the playoff.