The Masters is the highest anticipated professional golf event of the year where the top players in the world compete at Augusta National Golf Club for the coveted green jacket and the title of Masters Champion (as well as $15 million purse). This year’s tournament provided the return of the greatest player of all time (Tiger Woods), many notable players missing the cut, challenging conditions, an exciting Sunday charge, and a performance for the history books.
Starting with Tiger, this year’s Masters was his first tournament back since his car accident last february after which many doctors believed he would never walk again. He showed that he can still compete at the highest level in his inspiring and captivating performance. Despite never really being in contention to win, all eyes were on Tiger for most of the week.
Tiger made the cut, but many of the world’s best did not. “The cut” refers to the shrinking of the field half way through a golf tournament. At the masters, the 92 player field is cut down to the top 50 players after two rounds, meaning 42 players do not get to play the second half of the event. This year, many notable players struggled and did not play the weekend. Jordan Spieth, who won the tournament in 2015 and has finished in the top three on four other occasions since, double bogeyed his last hole to miss the cut for the first time in his career. Brooks Koepka, four time major champion, also missed the cut by one, as well as the 2020 US Open Champion Bryson DeChambeau.
Augusta National is widely considered one of the best golf courses in America, and it is known for its beauty and architectural brilliance. This year high winds and cold temperatures made the golf course much more difficult than it plays most years. Both factors dried out the golf course making bounces unpredictable which left many players dumbfounded. The first three days were very difficult but during the final day the wind died down and temperatures rose to the 70’s allowing for fireworks on Sunday.
Four time major champion, Rory McIlroy, was the cause of these fireworks. He arrives at Augusta National every year with the hope of completing the career grand slam (winning all four major golf tournaments). It is the last piece of the puzzle for him to join the list of only five golfers in all of history to accomplish this. This year, he started the final round 10 shots behind the leader. He scorched the course on Sunday shooting an eight under par 64, only one shot off the course record. While he came up three shots short of winning, he proved that he can play well and compete at Augusta National.
Even with Tiger Woods making his return, the story of the week was still undoubtedly Scottie Scheffler taking home the green jacket and his first major championship. He entered the week after winning three of his previous five starts and as the number one player in the world. Despite this, he had never won a major, which always provides a different level of pressure. After three rounds, he had a three shot lead over this year’s Player’s champion, Cameron Smith. Even with the entire field chasing him, and everything on the line, he played close to flawlessly in the final round as he cruised to a three shot victory. After the round, he shared with the media that he “cried like a baby” that morning and told his wife that he was overwhelmed and didn’t think he was ready to handle the pressure. He handled the pressure wonderfully as he played a phenomenal round on Sunday proving he can win a major and solidifying his position as the number one player in the world.
The Masters never disappoints and is always a week cherished by golf and sports fans alike. Augusta National provides a backdrop that is impossible to take your eyes off of, and watching the best players in the world compete never gets old. Unfortunately, it only comes around once a year, and now we all have to wait another 51 weeks before the next masters champion is crowned.
Leo is a junior at San Marcos…