The Masters is a tradition unlike any other in the sporting world. It has been played at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, since 1934. Professionals and amateurs alike compete every year for the green jacket and the title of the Masters Champion. The tournament is one of four major championships in Professional golf, but it is the only one that is played at the same golf course every year. The tournament is normally held in April, but due to COVID-19 the tournament was postponed to this November. Spectators were also not permitted on the grounds of Augusta National this year, which provided a different viewing experience. You were able to see more of the golf course, but the roars from the fans were definitely missed by both people watching at home, and the players.
“This one is going to feel different,” English player Tommy Fleetwood said. “You associate so many moments in the history of the tournament, so many moments you know on the back nine, with the patrons and how they react.”
The 2019 Masters (19 months ago), was home to one of the greatest moments in the history of golf, and arguably, in all of sports. Tiger Woods ended his 12 year major championship drought winning his fifth Masters title, completing his epic comeback. This year however, even with Tiger being the defending champion, the spotlight was on another player entering the week.
Bryson DeChambeau, the reigning US Open champion was who everybody had their eyes on. His transformation this year to the longest hitting player on the tour has yielded some remarkable results. These include two victories (one at the US Open) and a tie for fourth finish at the PGA Championship. With all the expectations, however, DeChambeau didn’t perform and while making the cut, finished in a tie for 34th, 17 shots back from the lead.
Tiger Woods started the week strong with a four under par 68 in round one, but with mediocre scores in rounds two and three of 71 and 72 respectively, he fell out of contention. On the final day, he carded a 10 on the par-three 12th hole, which dropped him all the way down to four over for the tournament. He then proceeded to birdie five of his last six holes, showing everyone how a champion recovers from a blow up hole.
The Masters champion this year was Dustin Johnson, who entered the week as the number one player in the world. He played near flawless golf all 4 rounds, which led to a wire to wire five shot victory and a tournament scoring record of 268 shots, or 20 under par. This surpassed the previous record of 270 shots accomplished by both Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth. It had always been his dream growing up to win the Masters, and despite his composed and stoic nature, he showed emotion after the round.
“I’ve never had this much trouble gathering myself,” Johnson said. “On the golf course, I’m pretty good at it.”
This year, there were six amateur players in the field who competed alongside the pros. Only 2 of them made the cut, and they were Vanderbilt’s John Augenstien and Georgia Tech’s Andy Ogletree. Both earned their exemption from getting into the Championship match of the US Amateur in 2019. Ogletree once again beat out Aguenstien like he did in the US Amateur to earn the title of Low Amateur.
“I’ve kind of done what I wanted to in amateur golf, and this just is the cherry on top for my amateur career,” Ogletree said. “I can’t wait to see what the future holds, but for now I’m just going to enjoy this moment.”
This year’s Masters has felt different than in years past, but it was a special week nonetheless. Even without the blooming azaleas and dogwoods, Augusta National still staged a phenomenal event that will long be remembered. At one point during the third round, 9 players were tied for the lead which had never happened before in the tournament’s history. Number one player in the world Dustin Johnson won his 2nd major title and first Masters, proving once again that he can close out a golf tournament. He also set a new scoring record for the tournament that will be very tough to beat in the years to come. The Masters is the most special week of the year for all golfers and golf fans, and this year was no exception.