The Round Table: Thanks Tiger, it’s Scottie and Ludvig’s time now

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.

Scottie Scheffler certainly lived up to his World #1 ranking at the Masters. What impressed you most about Scheffler as he garnered another green jacket on Sunday?

Jim Deeks, Fairways Magazine (@jimdeeks): Calm, cool precision, like watching a master surgeon perform a lobotomy on the rest of the field.  Dr. Scheffler, we’re ALL not worthy.

Craig Loughry, Golf Ontario (@craigloughry): Shcefflers chipping was very impressive, I think that won him the jacket. His poise too, he never really seemed to get rattled at any time. Those two strengths won him the tournament in my opinion.

Michael Schurman, Master Professional / Hall of Fame Member, PGA of Canada: In my early days in the golf business, most top players were mean and nasty. They were friendly to their peers but not very nice to anyone else. This includes those who served as the Head Pro at clubs. I always felt Tiger was ruthless. Sheffler seems so incredibly nice. What a refreshing change.

TJ Rule, Golf Away Tours (@GolfAwayTJ): His putting.  He has been criticized so much for his putting the past couple of years, despite his dominance, which goes to show how dominant he has been tee to green.  But last week he wasn’t as dominant in the ball striking, and had to rely on his short game, which was near the top of the field statistically.  If he can continue to chip and putt the way he did last week, we could see him dominate for a long time.

Hal Quinn, Freelance Writer, Vancouver: Augusta National’s chairman said the members don’t want to have to stretch the course to 8,000 yards. But when the champ is hitting it 350 + and lofting 7-irons into par 5s maybe eight grand ain’t enough. With that wacky Scheffler shuffle, his driving was incredible and so was his iron play (long and short). It was a ball striking clinic.

Peter Mumford, Fairways Magazine (@FairwaysMag): Scottie had everything working at Augusta, including his putting. His club selection and course management were virtually perfect. Maybe the thing that impressed me most was his focus. I guess part of that comes with experience, but he just put his head down and got the job done. It was almost robotic.

Much of the Masters build-up focused on getting all the world’s best together again at a time when men’s professional golf is fractured and showing no sign of healing. While Bryson DeChambeau and Cam Smith led the charge for the LIV jumpers, neither really contended on Sunday. And many of the game’s elite turned in dismal performances with Wyndham Clark, Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth and Viktor Hovland missing the cut, while Rory McIlroy and defending champion Jon Rahm were essentially missing-in-action. Apart from Scheffler’s performance, what was your take on the 88th Masters?

Deeks: A lot of post-Masters comment on social media is saying it was a boring Masters.  And yes, there were no fireworks.   But if you can’t appreciate Scheffler’s artistry, and the fact that no one could muster a challenge in the face of his consistency, then you’re not really a student of the game now, are you?  That said, I thought the tournament showcased some of the next leaders of the game — namely Aberg and Homa, and I’ll look forward to seeing more of them on leaderboards in the future.

Loughry: Dechambeau had the lead after 36, but his distance control left him after that. Overall I thought it was a good Masters, but the setup didn’t really allow anyone to “charge”, it was more like hold on for dear life (other than Scheffler). In the end, the best player was identified, you’d just like to see a little drama coming in is all, and back nine eagles and birdies were very hard to come by on Saturday and Sunday.

Schurman: Much of what you saw is the result of mechanical training and range finders. Everything is an exact science that is “one size’ fits all. The game played on the TOUR is blast as far as you can, hit a club the exact and only distance you have for that club and putt the ‘eyes’ out of it. I loved the difficult conditions on a stringent course. Watching to see who plays golf and who plays geometry.

Rule: There were lots of guys in contention right up until Amen Corner on Sunday, which made it interesting to watch.  It was nice to see some young guys compete like Ludvig Aberg, who you would have to think has a green jacket in his future.  I liked how the course played tough and how so many guys were in with a chance on Sunday, despite bigger names like Tiger and Rory and Rahm not really being in the mix.  It wasn’t the most exciting Masters Sunday, but it was fun to watch.

Quinn: My biggest takeaway was how poised and amazingly talented Ludvig Aberg proved himself to be, once again. His big smile and joyful (and quick) play made it easy to forget that a lot of so-called ‘big names’ weren’t in the picture. That turned out to be fine.

Mumford: The anticipated LIV vs PGAT battle never arrived but seeing some of the jumpers made one thing clear – LIV didn’t just nab great players, they stole many of the colourful characters in pro golf as well. Think Rahm, DeChambeau and Hatton for instance. And villains like Patrick Reed and Sergio. The leftovers aren’t exactly wallflowers, but a lot of them lack flair and excitement and are just too darn nice. A little controversy could sure help the TV ratings.

On Friday, Tiger Woods set a Masters record by making his 24th consecutive cut. Unfortunately, he couldn’t handle the tough course conditions and wicked winds on the weekend and finished last amongst those that played four rounds. Tiger says he was encouraged by his performance and many pundits look at the Masters as a step on his road to recovery. Others aren’t so quick to overlook Tiger’s obvious physical limitations and question whether his game can be competitive again. What do you think? Is he just rusty or is he done?

Deeks: I think both… rusty cuz he hasn’t played much; and done because, c’mon, the guy’s 48 and his body is like an Amish quilt, all patches and threads.  I’m not saying he’ll never contend again, because he IS Tiger Woods.  But I don’t expect much from Tiger going forward.

Loughry: I watched Tiger in person on hole 9 get it up and down from the crowd, he had no right doing that. He made the cut easily, it was impressive. That was encouraging, the rest will be a work in progress. Clearly, he can still compete and is a top player. But to win he would need a lot of things to align that particular week.

Schurman: I am soooooo tired of hearing “I actually played pretty well. I hit a lot of good shots, but I need to make a few putts”. I think I could shoot in the low 50s if I could one-putt every green from inside 100ft. We don’t always have one, two or three dominant players. Sometimes there are plateaus when nobody dominates. Tiger had to drain the tank to win the Masters the last time. If we are watching the number one dominant player of our time, enjoy!

Rule: I think it’s a combination of rusty and not being in the top echelon of players anymore. He obviously hadn’t played 72 holes in a long time, so his stamina wasn’t there, and he doesn’t have the reps to be tight in every aspect of his game.  He hit the ball relatively well and you can see it’s still there at times, but it would take a hot week for him to compete in an event in the future, and he may not get enough reps in for him to be able to experience a hot streak. It was impressive that he made the cut easily though, that was cool to see.

Quinn: Eldrick has shown again that he is more self absorbed than self aware. It was amazing that he made the cut, but the weekend — and especially that final round — would embarrass most mortals into a reality check. Yogi famously said: “It ain’t over ‘till it’s over.” Well, that time has come.

Mumford: Stick a fork in him, he’s done. Of course, he’ll probably make me eat those words but the Tiger we see today isn’t physically capable of performing at PGA Tour level standards for four days. If he can hang in for a year and a half, he’ll be old enough to play the Senior circuit where he can take a cart. That might work but I also sense Tiger doesn’t have the same motivation any longer, doesn’t have the killer instinct. He won’t ever admit he’s done, but it’s time for the rest of us to focus on who’s next. Scottie and Ludvig gave us a pretty good preview at Augusta.

The Round Table
The Round Table is a panel of golf writers, PGA members and industry experts.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *