Each week we ask our panel of writers, PGA members and golf industry experts to weigh in with their views on the hot topics of the day.
Patrick Reed isn’t a fan favourite but he does have a few supporters in his camp. Sunday’s results either left you elated or empty. What was your take on the Masters and how did you feel when it was all over?
Jim Deeks, Fairways Magazine (@jimdeeks): I thought it was one of the best Masters ever. Only one problem: the wrong guy won. I have to give Reed credit, though – as unlikeable as he is, he played like a Trojan and deserved the victory. But it was an exciting ride… all day Saturday the world was rooting for Rory, then that morphed on Sunday into a big pull for Jordan — two of the MOST likeable guys — then a final prayer for Rickie, who’s in the same likeability club. Plus, a few other feel-good stories along the way, from Couples’ great showing, to Doug Ghim’s miracle shots on 18, to Paul Casey’s near-record round, to Charley-boy’s ace on 16, to Finau’s miracle from the podiatry ward. Not even the tedious orgy of coverage on Tiger could get in the way of all of that. What a great weekend! Only one problem… oh, I said that already…
Craig Loughry, Golf Ontario (@craigloughry): In one word: disappointed. Great looking leaderboard, and some good momentum for several players heading into the Masters (DJ, Spieth, Rory, Tiger, Phil, Rahm, even Fowler and Rose), but the superstars all fell short. I’ll admit Reed earned it; he won it. But if any of those other names won, we’d be in a semi-frenzy right now.
Michael Schurman, Master Professional / Life Member, PGA of Canada: The Masters is a sacred event in our home…..no visitors, no talking, no house jobs……just kidding. It isn’t quite that stringent but close. I thought about picking Reed but at some point you have to trim down the list to one or two. He is what I call an ‘uphill swimmer’. Having been one of those at times I know it isn’t easy. It comes from seeing life in a different light than most people and there are only 3 choices: with the crowd, against the crowd or in a way nobody else thought of. Patrick intrigues me. He sees life through his eyes and isn’t afraid to be different. He isn’t a conformist. In preparing for round four he had formed a course strategy that suited him and then he watched the TV coverage where he heard repeatedly that Rory held the upper hand and that Rory seemed to be better liked. When he was introduced on the 1st tee the ovation for Rory was much louder. Each of these events added fuel and motivation to his strategy. He feels like an awkward sort of person in the lime light but he sure can play golf.
Dave Kaplan, Freelance Writer (@davykap): I thought it was an exceptionally entertaining Masters and I was not upset at all by the result. Reed was excellent throughout the week and deserved to be the last man standing. It might not have been the storybook, comeback ending from Spieth that many golf fans were praying for, but there were a lot of premier names on that leaderboard and Reed beat them all, fair and square, for that green jacket.
Hal Quinn, Freelance Writer, Vancouver: The texts and calls were flying all day Saturday — a fabulous day start to finish — and Sunday until Rory started missing all those putts. Then silence. The feeling among family and friends from coast to coast was emptiness. Turn off the TV, go outside, Go Leafs and Raptors. No joy in Mudville. From the first tee to the 18th green, the ‘patrons’ made it clear that Reed is one of the least popular winners ever. They get it right every year.
Peter Mumford, Fairways Magazine (@FairwaysMag): Even the day after the Masters I still feel that I was somehow cheated out of the kind of conclusion I wanted. Don’t get me wrong. Reed played brilliantly over four days and didn’t fold under the pressure. He deserves to be the Masters champion but it still doesn’t feel like the ending that was scripted. The preponderance of top players at their best, sentimental favourites like Tiger, Phil and Rory, even another run by Jordan – all would have been satisfying conclusions. Sports are all about heroes and villains. In Hollywood, the hero always wins. Apparently not so at the Masters.
According to most pundits, Rory McIlroy was supposed to win the Masters and complete his personal Grand Slam. Once again he didn’t get it done. Does he want this one too much?
Deeks: Who knows? But with each loss at Augusta, the hill gets higher to climb. Maybe he’ll never get there, which would be a shame because I think he deserves to be in the Career Slam Club… same with Arnold, who could never win the (allegedly) easiest one of all, the PGA. In Rory’s case, karma may have come in to play… his bold statement on Saturday night about “spoiling the party” for Reed on Sunday sure sounds hollow and reckless now. On the other hand, his candour and realism in comments after Sunday’s round were refreshing and honourable.
Loughry: I think Rory is streaky, and if he catches the right streak he’ll win a Major, but he’s anything BUT consistent, especially his putting. And we know that’s what is holding him back. I think that’s how his career is going to go considering all the other talented players all around his age or younger. He’ll have a tough time winning tournaments/Majors. Shooting 74 in the last round just won’t cut it.
Schurman: The worst thing that could happen to Rory happened! He got the early lead. Augusta National can hardly wait for someone to think they are in control of their score. It’s much like a paved country road turning into a graveled surface in a rain storm. There’s nowhere to go and you know you are going to get some stone chips in the paint and a thick coat of mud but you are on the right road. Rory missed multiple short putts which is something the Masters Champion does not do. If he had gained one stroke every 4 holes until they were tied somewhere around #12, things might have been different but when it all went his way so fast, I think he was shocked at how easy things were. “It” was finally his! His dream was coming true! He was the Masters Champion! He was going to win the career grand slam! Not so fast cowboy; you still have the rest of the front nine and the back nine on Sunday to play.
Kaplan: I think it’s fair to make that case. Rory did not look like himself from the moment he teed off on Sunday. That monstrous slice on the first hole coupled with that short miss for eagle on #2 was enough evidence for me to know that he was not going to get it done in the finale. Everyone has their own kryptonite. And for Rory McIlroy, that Kryptonite appears to be Sunday at The Masters.
Quinn: I think it’s more about lousy putting than any worries about immortality. That missed 4-foot eagle putt on #2 was as deflating for him and the gallery and TV audience as any miss I can recall. That was it, over and done for Rory. He’d miss three more inside 10 feet on the front and a 3-footer on #14. If he’d putted as well as he has in the past, it’s a totally different story.
Mumford: I think he feels more pressure than usual at Augusta. Is there anything else that can explain his opening drive on Sunday? Or that missed eagle putt on #2? Rory usually scrambles as well as anybody but after that start, he seemed fragile, like he had no idea what was going to happen next. Maybe Rory and Phil should compare notes and see if they can find a solution to get their missing majors.
This year’s Masters had a huge build up with lots of terrific storylines about all the best players at the top of their game plus the return of Tiger. The actual results were somewhat different. What will be your lasting memory from this year’s Masters?
Deeks: The wrong guy won. (Although… maybe the glory of a Masters victory, plus the retainer of a good instructor in public and human relations, might turn Patrick Reed from a creep into a nice guy. Or not.)
Loughry: The 13 on 15 was pretty special by Garcia. But for me the charge by Spieth on Sunday was really exciting, I think everyone was engaged with that until the blemish on 18. It would have been epic if he could have pulled that off. He didn’t – but for me that is what I’ll remember. All in all though, it was a good show. Augusta National always produces exciting finishes, no matter the score to par.
Schurman: The same as every year! The beauty, the atmosphere, the course, the traditions, the attention to detail, the goofy music…..! The players and play come and go but the standard of excellence, the perfection, the reverence send a message that golf is not like any other sport or activity. Golf is golf and it is a part of us.
Kaplan: It has to be that charge from Spieth. I will remember it for the rest of my life because it was so epic. It was like watching a video game. The Texan was so far out of contention when he started his round on Sunday that the thought of him even contending for a green jacket was flat-out laughable. Yet, just over three hours later, he was somehow tied for the lead. That’s not supposed to happen at Augusta National, but Spieth is simply otherworldly. Twenty years from now, the 24-year-old is going to have an entire rack of green jackets.
Quinn: It will be hard to forget Spieth’s incredible charge, Rory’s missed putts, and Sergio going all van de Velde on us. But what will be remembered is the kid from N. Ireland getting so much more support than the American kid who played college golf up the street. It is memorable too that the stories about Reed’s checkered college past and dysfunctional family resurfaced and hit the web around the world before the sun set on Magnolia Lane.
Mumford: Other than the guy with the green jacket, it was a terrific week. The par 3 championship was awesome, watching Nicklaus, Player and Watson go at it one more time. Then Jack’s grandson making an ace was beyond belief. Sergio’s 13 won’t be easily forgotten, nor will the eagles and chip-ins from amateur Doug Ghim. However, my lasting memory will be Jordan Spieth’s Sunday charge. It was as electrifying as Nicklaus in 86 – it just didn’t have the same finish.