The 3rd Green at Augusta National Golf Club

Again the Masters lives up to all the hype, with the true golf starting on the back 9 on Sunday at Augusta National. It seems to do this every year, which is why watching the last day is always so enticing. So here is my take on this years event.

Opening Tee Ceremony

The tradition continued, where previous champions open the tournament teeing off on the first, before the field. This was the first since one of the greats, Arnold Palmer, had passed away. The King was recognised though, with his widow in attendance as Chairman Billy Payne placed Palmer’s green jacket over a chair to watch proceedings. A highly emotional time, but great to see a champion remembered.

Arnold Palmer at The Masters

The Winner – Sergio Garcia

Breaking the drought of winning a major, after 74 starts Sergio Garcia finally got the monkey off his back and gained a green jacket. Ten years ago a chance was blown at Carnoustie during The Open Championship. This time Sergio played exceptionally well during the last round, eventually winning in a playoff against Justin Rose.

The back nine did have moments though. First some panic after hitting into the trees left of the 13th fairway. The ball was found but required a drop from the hazard. After clearing some pine needles, social media lit up with a potential infraction of the ball moving. This was cleared by officials and thankfully did not have any impact on the outcome. Amazingly here the momentum shift occurred towards Garcia managing to make par, ensuring Justin Rose lead did not increase.

Unlucky not to hole out on 15 with his second shot, almost reminiscent of Gene Saranzen in the 1935 Masters, holing out for an albatross in what was termed ‘the shot heard around the World’. It was also fortunate the ball did not ricochet into the water after hitting the flag stick, leaving an eagle putt and a big fist pump after seeing it drop into the hole.

It looked to be out of Garcia’s reach when he failed to match Rose’s birdie putt on 16, but the next hole saw the scores all tied heading into 18. Again Garcia missed a birdie putt straight down the hill, which saw one playoff hole required before victory.

Appropriately, the Spaniards first major victory fell on what would have been Seve Ballesteros 60th birthday. Was he watching over his countryman? Very fitting win indeed.

The Australians

Five Australians qualified, sorry were invited to the Masters. One with his lifetime invite, Adam Scott a previous champion, Jason Day, Mark Leishman, Rod Pampling and Curtis Luck (amateur). Day looked out of sorts towards the end, perhaps family health issues are still impacting his game. Leishman failed to find his previous form, having a great chance to win in 2013. Pampling missed the cut, whilst Luck managed to get through to the weekend, but narrowly missed out on being the lowest scoring amateur, with Stewart Hagestad (USA) winning.

In the end it was left to Adam Scott starting three behind the 54 hole leaders on the last day. A mediocre last round saw him move slightly backwards, but in the end it was really a two horse race between Garcia and Rose.

Dustin Johnson

The World number one was a hot favourite before the tournament. Could he capitalise on great form, after his maiden major win at the previous years US Open? It was a lost opportunity with not even a shot played. Managing to injure his back at a rented property in Augusta, after falling down some wooden floorboard stairs, whilst only wearing socks, which offered no grip. I do know the feeling having to succumbed to a similar fate a few years ago. Great advice, never wear socks on stairs, especially wooden floorboard types. No matter how careful you are, accidents do happen.

Jordan Speith

A big question on how Speith would handle the Masters, after capitulating the year before during the final round at the 12th hole. In all honesty he did well to even be in contention after a quadruple bogey in the first round at the 15th. Heading into the final day in the second last group only two behind the leaders, he failed to make an impact. Both himself and playing partner Ricky Fowler, struggled to find any form and may rue what could have been.

TV Coverage

What can only be described as awful, in particular the final round, with commercial breaks every few minutes. Compared to the online offering, which also ensured pro tracer was shown with tee shots, you have to wonder if there are restrictions placed on the TV coverage. Personally, no on-line streaming was utilised, but that will not be the case next year.

Conclusion

Another great Masters tournament. I highly rank this tournament and The Open Championship. Certainly one of the best sporting events I have ever been too, it never fails to meet expectations each year. From the emotional start, remembering The King, Arnold Palmer, to the fairy tale ending for Sergio Garcia, winning his first major after 74 starts.

The big question now is what does Sergio serve at the champions dinner and will he be sitting next to Tiger? I definitely think the later won’t happen.

It is a shame we have to wait another 12 months before it all happens again.

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Aussie Golf Quest
Aussie Golf Quest
Man on a mission to play Australia's Top 100 Golf Courses

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