1. Well, I know I always feel a little more refreshed after taking care of things when Mother Nature calls. Why shouldn’t Sergio?
2. The pre-Masters show on Sunday – Jim Nantz’s remembrance of Arnold Palmer, featuring the very last television interview with “the King” was both sad and poignant. Couldn’t help but think of my late Mom while watching it: like Arnold, Mom was a hero of mine; like Arnold she passed away last year, retaining her mind to the very end even though her body was breaking down like Arnie’s obviously was. It’s sad to see your heroes grow old, watching people who lived lives so vibrant reduced to mere shells of themselves by the passage of time. The sobering fact is that none of us are immune to that, so matter who you are and how big and famous you are.
3. And speaking of the passage of time, methinks this was the year that made me think that Phil Mickelson’s days of seriously competing at Augusta are over. It’s such a tough course to walk and I don’t think his body and mind are sharp enough to keep up with it over four straight days. You could see on Friday in those difficult conditions that he ran out of gas midway through the back nine. Then he just got sloppy and made equal portions of mental and physical mistakes throughout the rest of the weekend. But there’ll be no tears for Phil: he and Augusta have had a great run together.
4. Sergio had a great victory for sure, but I wonder how things might have would be different had the red-hot Dustin Johnson not slipped down those stairs at the house he was staying at. One of my Goodboys friends, “Goose” Dwyer was heard to joke that it was Seve Ballesteros’ ghost that pushed Dustin. I can buy that…
5. Along those same lines, I wonder how or if things would have been different if Rory McIlroy’s approach shot on nine on Friday hadn’t hit the flagstick and ricocheted some thirty yards down the hill. But Augusta gives as much as it takes away, and Rory needs to do a better job of ripping apart the back nines than he did this year.
6. There’s no doubt in my mind that Jon Rahm will someday be the fourth Spaniard (after Seve, Jose Maria Olazabal, and Sergio) to win a green jacket.
7. Speaking of nationalities: the TV guys love to refer to Sergio as “the Spaniard” and Thomas Pieters as “the Belgian”. So why not refer to Hideki Matsuyama as “the Jap”?
8. Count me as surprised at how little the top of the leaderboard changed names over Saturday and Sunday. Perfect conditions, but no one with the exception of Justin Rose on Saturday made a huge move over the weekend. I missed hearing the roar of the crowds on Sunday and wondering who just made a big move.
9. Fred Couples’ swing is still a beautiful thing to watch after all these years.
10. Watch Jordan Spieth invoke Arnie’s name and then pull off a beautiful shot.
11. I don’t care what Sergio says, that putt he had on 18 to win in regulation does not, will not, nor ever will break left. It’s straight, and either Sergio misread it or he just gave the putt a slight inside-out dipsy do.
12. The CBS golf coverage was pretty good as usual, but the normally solid Dottie Pepper I thought was awful, both in her on-course commentary and the insipid questions she asked during her one-on-one interviews. I know she’s better than that – she just sounded unprepared.
13. Matt Kuchar’s hole-in-one on 16 was great, but what he did afterwards is why the folks like the guy so much. He’s got enough game to win a major, I think – he’s always on the first or second page of the leaderboard at your average PGA Tour stop; I just wonder if he’s got the mental intensity to be a killer at a major. As Seve once said, he’ll shake your hand and wish you luck on the first tee, but after that his only goal was to destroy you.
14. Goodboy “Cubby” Myerow has that same kind of intensity when he plays hockey – which is why he’ll be spending this year’s Goodboys Invitational on the injured list. We’re not getting any younger, Cubby!
15. Rickie Fowler is fun to watch. I think he learned something by being in the next-to-last group this year, and I can easily see him winning a green jacket some day.
16. My pick Jordan Spieth didn’t get the job done this year, but I’ll pick him against next year and every year after that. I love to watch him play, love his intensity, and enjoy the way you can always tell if he made a good swing or not by his immediate reaction. I don’t understand why more pros don’t talk to their balls – how do they know it’s not listening? If Jordan can avoid injuries and the “Tiger trap” (y’all know what I mean), he’ll have three or four green jackets by the time he’s through.
17. Looks like this year was it for Ernie Els. His five-year exemption from winning The Open Championship in 2012 expired this year and he ended up finishing dead-last.
18. The Masters is the absolute best golf tournament to watch on TV and I can’t wait for Masters time to come around again. And like I say, I’m already picking Jordan Spieth for the win.