The Masters stumbled on us shortly in 2021, with the earlier installment having simply ended solely 5 months earlier and with out one other main championship between them. Dustin Johnson’s time with the inexperienced jacket was brief, and Hideki Matsuyama lifted up a nation in winning this one.
Right here are some things we realized over the course of one other week at Augusta Nationwide.
1. Firmer, quicker is healthier
For the primary time in a number of years, Augusta Nationwide provided up the form of situations which can be favored for main championships. The fairways have been operating quick, the greens have been agency and fast. Each gave the gamers suits.
Whereas it’s honest to say that the greens might need bordered on the sting in the course of the opening spherical on Thursday, the ensuing issue led to a much more compelling event. Gamers have been on edge, and that is a part of the examination in a significant.
Simply when it appeared Matsuyama had the event firmly in his grasp, he blasted his strategy over the inexperienced and into the water on the par-5 fifteenth. That may not have occurred on the very delicate Masters in November. He additionally made bogey on the sixteenth, three-putting the inexperienced from lengthy distance.
Every day provided a possibility for somebody to shoot a low rating. Justin Rose had 65 on Thursday. Matsuyama matched that on Saturday. On Sunday, Jon Rahm, too far again to contend, posted 66. Such situations require an abundance of precision so as to prevail.
Extra roars, extra wanted
It was good to have spectators again at Augusta Nationwide after solely a smattering of members and friends have been allowed in November. At occasions, there have been massive pockets of masked gatherings all through the property. You would hear the cheering at Amen Nook from the clubhouse. Simply not sufficient of it. And never loud sufficient.
A part of the Masters attract are the packed grandstands — there have been no buildings once more, identical to it was in November — in addition to rows deep of patrons making an attempt to get a glimpse of the motion. The pandemic circumstances necessitated the restricted attendance. The hope is it will be again to regular in 2022.
3. As the sport grows world wide
The Masters and Augusta Nationwide are understandably pleased with their efforts to develop the sport world wide with two beginner occasions, together with the Asia-Pacific Novice, which started in 2009. Matsuyama received the event twice as an beginner, that means a spot within the Masters, which he performed for the primary time 10 years in the past. By profitable, he turned the seventh participant to win low beginner honors on the event and go on to win the inexperienced jacket. And the Masters people will use it as a method to assist encourage others in Asia and in Latin America — the place the Latin America Novice Championship is performed — to take up the sport and dream of Matsuyama’s exploits.
4. Bryson’s psychological work
When Bryson DeChambeau stated final fall that he thought Augusta Nationwide would play to a par of 67 for him, he clearly didn’t count on to be ending in a tie for forty sixth. He tied for thirty fourth within the fall. DeChambeau appeared to get on monitor with a second-round 67, however he opened with 76 after which added 75 and 75 on Saturday and Sunday. His size could be an asset, however he wants much more to get aggressive right here.
“I do not assume you possibly can ever determine this place out,” he stated. “There’s so many issues happening round right here. The wind makes it diabolical. It is flying round by way of these timber and bouncing off the timber and making it really feel into the wind when it ought to be downwind, and vice versa. I do not assume you may ever have the ability to determine it out, however I’ve simply acquired to be extra snug.”
We already knew this. However a robust efficiency that he even stated was removed from his greatest was one other indication of the progress Jordan Spieth has made this 12 months. Per week after profitable the Valero Texas Open, Spieth tied for third on the Masters regardless of by no means actually having the ability to hold a lot momentum going and having a triple bogey on Thursday.
“I want that I had the management of my swing that I hope is coming or I feel is coming quickly as a result of it will have made issues somewhat simpler this week, and I did strike the ball rather well,” stated Spieth, who led the sphere in greens in regulation with 56 out of 72. “I hit numerous fairways. I put myself in place to hit numerous greens, and distance management is a power of mine with iron play. I did a great job of that.
“So all in all, I’ve made numerous good progress, however I really feel like that street forward remains to be important for me. So I’ve acquired a minimum of a pair weeks off proper now the place I am going to relaxation for some time after which regroup and see if I can get — off weeks are the place you can also make possibly 5 % variations.”
6. Xander has some extra classes to study
He stated as a lot after tying for second on the 2019 Masters, a stroke behind Tiger Woods. And undoubtedly it was the identical Sunday as he someway hit it within the water on the sixteenth gap after making issues attention-grabbing with 4 consecutive birdies.
“It is one other lesson to place within the reminiscence financial institution,” he stated. “(In) 2019, I had a rookie hiccup second of, ‘Oh my goodness, I am main the Masters.’ This 12 months I used to be chasing. I am enjoying higher than I used to be in 2019, and I made a mistake on shot choice and wind.”
The triple-bogey 6 was the primary triple Schauffele has ever made in any main championship spherical.
Brooks wants extra time
You need to give Brooks Kopeka credit score for making the hassle to play the Masters simply three weeks after knee surgical procedure. However it by no means appeared like a good suggestion. The way in which he walked round one of the crucial undulating programs confirmed the pressure he placed on his proper knee. Koepka missed the lower, and can now possible be off for a number of weeks to ensure the knee will get higher. He most likely would have been higher off skipping this occasion, one thing that’s straightforward to see now.
A Rory reset is required
The thought right here was that Rory McIlroy was not that far off. That bringing in Pete Cowen to assist him previous to the Masters could be a fast repair to assist straighten out his recreation. And that the decrease expectations would possibly imply a simple path to rivalry on the solely main he has didn’t win. Nope.
McIlroy struggled once more and has now missed the lower on the Gamers Championship and the Masters. It was a disappointing displaying for one of many recreation’s hottest gamers. And it will likely be attention-grabbing to see if he can discover his kind in time for the PGA Championship subsequent month at Kiawah, the place he received the event in 2012.
9. Will Zalatoris would not have standing
Think about this: Regardless of tying for sixth on the U.S. Open and finishing second at the Masters, Zalatoris just isn’t a member of the PGA Tour. He’s a particular non permanent member as a consequence of his success over the past six months and is assured of incomes his PGA Tour card for the 2021-22 season. However because it stands, he isn’t eligible for the FedEx Cup playoffs. You might want to be a full member of the PGA Tour for that. Proper now, the one strategy to accomplish that’s by profitable a event. Given his current kind, that seems inevitable.
10. The Masters all the time delivers
Nicely, we did not actually study that. It has seemingly all the time been the case. However Zalatoris summed it up properly, and referenced Tiger Woods within the course of.
“Everyone watches. Everyone remembers,” he stated. “I used to be laughing with my dad and mom [Saturday] night time speaking about how I may offer you a reminiscence of each single gap. I discussed that I’ve seen guys for years when the pin is again left on 10, guys lacking that putt low. Examples like that.
“However I feel has lots to do with Tiger, numerous youngsters entering into the sport and numerous youngsters watching his success right here — particularly he received in ’97 and he received in 2019. He is our trendsetter for the sport. I feel that is a part of the rationale why so many youngsters come out early, is we noticed him be fearless at a younger age. So we come out and play fearless. After which on prime of that, we have been desirous about watching the event year-in, year-out.
“And I feel that is one thing the Masters does so extremely effectively is you possibly can watch each single shot of each single participant. Even [Sunday] morning I am sitting round watching guys play the golf course to see how holes are enjoying. However I feel numerous that has to do with Tiger.”