April 9, 2018

And so the 2018 Masters is now history. I think history is going to look back on this particular edition as significant in a number of ways. A round of thoughts in that regard:

1. Congratulations to Patrick Reed for a well-deserved and hard-earned green jacket. He’s not my cup of tea: his arrogance and edginess is a bit much for my taste, but that’s OK. He putted lights out and killed the par 5s pretty much over the four days, and that’s what you have to do to win at Augusta National.

2. That being said, Rory McIlroy choked in the final round. Positively choked. He’ll never have a better chance to win the coveted Grand Slam than he did this year. All he had to do was make some putts early and it would have been him wearing the green jacket, not Reed. Yesterday was as much about McIlroy’s poor play under pressure and Jordan Speith’s stellar play than it was about Reed just going about his business in a very workman-like way and persevering by playing the course one shot and one hole at a time. I like watching Rory play golf, but boy he is infuriating in how he manages his way around a course when the pressure is on.

3. Some might think it hokey, but I like the dignified way CBS covers the Masters from beginning to end. The ESPN coverage on Thursday and Friday tried too hard to be “edgy” with that dopey hard blues music serving as intro and their personalities all trying to get their moments of “insight” before the cameras. Hey ESPN, just shut up and let the tournament play out.

4. We all knew it would happen, but between ESPN, CBS, and Golf Channel the coverage of Tiger Woods bordered on the insane – primarily at Golf Channel during their “Live From the Masters” coverage where virtually every stat they conjured up over Masters week had Tiger’s name on it, as if all the coverage of him actually playing golf and his post-round reactions to his golf wasn’t sufficient in itself to hold people’s interest enough.

5. Time is the great equalize in all sports, and this year you could see the impact of time between the past (Woods, Mickelson, O’Meara, Couples), and the future, with all those great young American golfers and Australia’s Cameron Smith.

6. As far as Tiger is concerned, he can talk all he wants about his irons not being crisp one day, his driving not being good another, and then his poor putting on yet another day, but the fact is that the older you get the harder it is to put all the facets of your game together and have it hold up over four rounds of golf. And that is especially true at Augusta National, where placement and precision is everything.

7. …and the same holds true for Phil. Sure, he’s been playing great and had been playing particularly well going into Augusta, but there’s a huge difference between your average PGA Tour stop and Augusta National. There was a time when playing the role of “Phil the Thrill” might have worked for him, but he’s older now and he’s just not able to put the ball where Augusta demands him to, hole after hole. It’s kind of sad to watch, but there are just way too many young golfers out there who are (to be truthful) better and more capable than either Tiger and Phil are at their respective stages in their careers.

8. …and not just better than Tiger or Phil, they’re fearless as well in their total and utter disregard for par. Looking at the leaderboard on Sunday and seeing all those players with one or more major wins under their belts was pretty amazing. And now that Reed has one, you just know that Rickie Fowler’s gonna get one, and soon.

9. I really enjoy watch Jordan Spieth play golf. The guy is not just incredibly talented, but fun to watch. I love how he talks to his ball and how he wears his emotions on his sleeve; he’s a modern-day Arnold Palmer in that regard. And boy, does he know Augusta National like the back of his hand! I don’t think it’s a reach to project him winning another two or three green jackets in the future.

10. Maybe it’s just me, but Dustin Johnson does nothing for me as far as watching golf is concerned. He might be able to blast his way around your average PGA Tour stop and the other majors, but his game isn’t suited to Augusta National at all.

11. #4 aside, Golf Channel’s “Live From the Masters” following the CBS coverage was great viewing. Brandel Chamblee and Frank Nobilo are consistently good, and David Duval has really come into his own as a former player with insight into the player’s mindset. Of course, Rich Lerner remains a borderline insufferable Tiger suck-up, but he’s just reading what the teleprompter is telling him. And I really like the different settings they use during the telecasts. All very tasteful and dignified, as it should be.

12. The best shot of the tournament? It had to be Marc Leishman’s massive hook around the trees on #15 on Friday. He had to have hooked his ball 50 yards or more.

13. …but Charley Hoffman’s hole-in-one on #16 on Sunday was pretty cool to watch as well.

14. I’m looking around for lightweight bucket hats to play golf in this year and found a Masters version on the internet for $89. I dunno, I think it’s a bit ostentascious if you haven’t actually been to the Maters, never mind kind of expensive. But it does look good!

15. Justin Thomas is destined to win a Masters one day. The same holds true for Jon Rahm.

16. I wish I could say the same for Rickie Fowler, because that a green jacket would look awesome against Rickie’s orange motif, but I think a PGA Championship is more in line with his game and the more likely scenario.

17. Hearing the Masters theme song never gets old for me.

18. The biggest winner over the weekend, of course, was Augusta National. The course layout, the colors, the sounds, the roars on the back nine, and the tradition make it perfect for viewing on a big flat-screen TV with snacks and beverages in the comfort of one’s own home. Masters week for me is the best week of televised golf, and this year’s edition didn’t disappoint.

Filed in: Golf & Sports by The Great White Shank at 11:55 | Comments Off on A Round Of Thoughts From The 2018 Masters
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