Masters Provides Some Memorable Moments

Masters.jpgImage Credit: PGA

No matter how many times I watch the Masters, I am always amazed by the ebb of flow of man versus nature, and man versus fate.

As I look back on the 81st Masters, there are images that are stick in my mind for a whole bunch of different reasons.

The ceremonial opening tee shots became far more emotional in the first tournament since the passing of the legendary Arnold Palmer. You could see the emotion on the faces of Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus as Billy Payne, Chairman of Augusta National, so eloquently talked about the man known as The King.

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And then Player and Nicklaus took to the tee and drove shots majestically straight and true.

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And it was interesting to watch Rickie Fowler sitting among the gallery, paying homage to Palmer. Four days later, Fowler would be wondering what went wrong in the Masters, so close and yet so far away, saved by his putting until it went awry.

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And what of Dustin Johnson, the tournament favorite who slipped in his rented house, the day before the tournament began and ultimately had to bow out because of a wonky back? Watching the way Johnson took some shots on the practice tee, clearly looking physically uncomfortable, it played out as an incredible piece of history. You truly had to feel sorry for him. Many people have fallen and slipped at home, but in this case no amount of physiotherapy and medication could alleviate the problem in time to start in the biggest golf tournament in the world. Wisely, Johnson decided not to try to play through the pain, although emotionally he probably felt so disheartened. The golfing gods can truly be cruel.

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And what of Charley Hoffman, a relative unknown in the tournament, who started off with a seven-under-par 65 in the wind and cold in the opening round and flirted with possibly pulling off an incredible upset? His good fortune finally ended in the third round with a bogey and double bogey on three of the last five holes.

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At least the golfing gods finally allowed Sergio Garcia to win a Major. Since he burst on to the scene as the top amateur at the Masters at the age of 19, the now 40-year-old has had to battle with the albatross of being the greatest active player not to win a Major. Finally, that is put to rest.

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And here’s an interesting little tidbit: Garcia plays with a TaylorMade TP5 ball, as does runnerup Justin Rose. Johnson and Jason Day, who started the season ranked number one in the world, also committed to the TP5 ball going into the 2017 season. TaylorMade made a big splash last December with the TP5 and TP5x. The marketing slogan was: Exactly Like Nothing Else. The Only Tour Ball With 5 layers.

“Introducing a performance breakthrough that’s 10 years in the making,” the company announced as part of its product reveal. “Delivering a combination of distance, spin and control without compromise. Experience for yourself why the most complete tour ball is not like your current one, it’s better.”

It’s hard to argue with success.

KUDOS FOR KUCHAR: It was a single moment among many and for the most part had no bearing on the final, but what Matt Kuchar did in the final round epitomizes all that is good about golf.

After registering an ace on the 16th hole, Kuchar took his Bridgestone B330-S ball from the cup, signed it and gave it to a youngster in the crowd.

For the rest of his life, this youngster will have an amazing souvenir and a story to tell.

You’d think Kuchar would have wanted to keep the ball to maintain his good fortune, particularly when it put him into contention for a possible shot to catch the frontrunners. Moreover, Kuchar had never won a Major in his career.

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But that says something about Kuchar, who high-fived the gallery after registering the hole-in-one and was still feeling good about what he’d done after the round. Watching the replay of the shot in an interview, the player known as Kuch allowed himself to savor the feeling of doing something special in a tournament as meaningful as the Masters.

IN THE DRINK: Once again, the Masters proved that even the top golfers in the world are not immune to making mistakes by hitting a ball into the water. That had been the big story this year because of what happened to Jordan Spieth last year, registering a quadruple bogey on the 12th hole when he hit two of his Titleist Pro V1x balls into Rae’s Creek. Well, just when it seemed he had conquered that demon, it happened again in the final round when he landed his first shot in the water on the 12th. This time he only suffered a double bogey, but it took him out of contention after it appeared he had overcome a quadruple bogey in the opening round. No player in the Masters has even won the tournament with a quad.

masters8.jpgImage Credit: SB Nation


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