As we put a close on the PGA Tour’s major championship season for the year 2020. I would like to embark on a much too early reflection on Augusta National’s latest tournament. Let’s discover how it was truly unlike any other. The Masters moved the tournament to November due to the pandemic. A far cry from the traditional early April start. There were many differences that a true fan could and did notice.
Some of them were well documented on TV broadcasts and streaming services alike. The latter I could just eat up all day long for four days straight if I didn’t have a family and a life to attend to. However, I treated it just like any spring. Woke up on Thursday morning with unbridled enthusiasm for what lies ahead.
Something Was Missing…
The scenery was beautiful minus the full bloom azaleas which we have grown accustomed to over the years. The course was serene and the field was stacked with the top golfers in the world ready to go. But there was one very important ingredient missing, the ever so polite Masters patrons. Of course the famous egg salad and pimento cheese sandwich go hand in hand with anyone who walks the grounds of Augusta National. No matter how hard they tried to present the Masters as if nothing was wrong. The glaring and ever so absent presence of the people who make the tournament what we know and love, were simply not there. It just was not the same.
Think of it like you were getting ready for a big date, but you were out of cologne. So you go to grab the latest issue of Sports Illustrated off your dirty unkempt coffee table. It was a part of the half-year subscription you purchased from your nephew’s elementary school magazine fundraiser. You didn’t really want to get it, but you knew if you said no, you would never hear the end of it from your sister because she wants you to “support her son.”
So you turn to the Ralph Lauren ad and rip open that little side flap where they sprinkle their cologne on the sticky part of the page. You proceed to rub it all over your neck and face in hopes that it will suffice and be enough. The hope is that it stays with you through the night but it just ends up making you smell like a magazine from a dirty coffee table in the end. It’s just not the same as the real thing.
Dustin Johnson’s Dominance
What did we learn from this year’s Masters? We learned that torrential downpours the night before and the morning of the first round brings the big green beast to its knees. I have never seen a ball stick into the green and stay in the pitch the ball created at Augusta before the way I saw this week, over and over again. The first two rounds were a scoring onslaught that brought down Masters scoring records left and right. There were 43 players out of the 60 that made the cut finished under par for the tournament. For reference, only 27 players finished under par just two years ago.
We also learned that Dustin Johnson is the clear-cut number one golfer in the world. He had the most improbable victory that only the year 2020 can give us. He won the tournament by five shots which included two rounds of 65. When Dustin was cleared to play just one week prior to the start of the tournament because he had tested positive for COVID just 10 days before that. To quarantine for a week and a half then go right into preparing for a major and to win in the fashion that he did is unprecedented and impressive, to say the least. Sort of like my Ralph Lauren reference in the previous paragraph.
Tiger’s Failed Bid to Defend
Of course, we can’t finish without the obligatory Tiger talk. He finished T-38 at 1-under par for the week. What is lost in that mediocre and lackluster performance was his final round. He started well out of contention but could possibly slide into a backdoor top-10 finish if he played well. Other than an unfortunate, can’t look away from the car crash of a hole he played at number 12, he played pretty well. He carded a septuple bogey and the infamous par 3 hole which is of course a part of “Amen Corner” at Augusta. For those of you who know you number vocabulary and can use addition at the first-grade level, he scored a 10 by putting his ball in the same creek three times.
Tiger Woods finds the water for the third time on No. 12.— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) November 15, 2020
He would go on to make a 10. pic.twitter.com/xNAdsu08Bt
His highest ever recorded score as a professional. I have never seen a better-looking septuple bogey though, I mean he makes just about anything look good. Snap hooks, slices into the trees, three putts you name it. Disturbing, wife-disapproving man-crushes aside, most guys would’ve given up, fallen apart, or just try and get to the finish. Not Tiger, he has too much respect for the course and the event. After all, he was the defending champion. He went on to birdie five of his last six holes like a 5-time Masters champion should finish his round at a respectable 76, all things considered.
What’s to Come?
As we sit and welcome winter and shortly say goodbye to golf for a couple of months…anyone watching the RSM Classic this week? I didn’t think so. One thing sticks with me. The next Masters is only a short five months away and I and the rest of the world will beg for patrons to be on the grounds. By doing so it will give the most famous golf tournament the feel and sound it so desperately needs. We need the tradition unlike any other to come back to full form…along with Tiger, so he can win his sixth jacket and tie old Jack.
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