April 9, 2018
By Dan Daly
Editor's Note: Be sure to follow @_DanDaly on Twitter this golf season for his off-the-cuff remarks and entertaining commentary!
The first person to meet Patrick Reed walking off the 18th green was Bubba Watson. That’s pretty much all you need to know about your 2018 Masters Champion. Well, that and the fact that he got kicked off the UGA golf team for cheating (allegedly), stealing (allegedly) and pretty much being a terrible person (not allegedly).
Basically no one was excited Patrick Reed won on Sunday…I think Rob Riggle summed up our collective thoughts towards Patrick Reed best in this summation.
Congratulations Patrick, thanks for ruining an otherwise amazing Masters…and that’s about all the time I’m willing to spend on Patrick Reed today.
Here are the 10 biggest stories from the weekend:
10) Let’s start with Thursday…The 15th hole…and our defending Champion. Sub-mergio makes a gutsy 9-footer for a crowd pleasing 13 after hitting his second, fourth, sixth, eighth and tenth shots in the water. Leading Rich Lerner to make what I considered a pretty funny joke on Twitter, “Sergio won't be naming his next kid Firethorn”, only having to make an extremely unnecessary apology for it later that night. Why? Because Sergio’s wife clearly doesn’t have a sense of humor and called out Lerner only making the situation 10 times worse. Then of course Sergio had to hang around all weekend with nothing to do so he could put the Green Jacket on Reed. Talk about pouring salt in the wound.
9) Ok, so this one is personal, but Paul Casey had a hip injury all week that he finally disclosed…SATURDAY. Hey Paul, that would have been helpful information for some of us to know at the start of the week don’t you think? Oh, it felt much better after Friday? You mean after you shot 74-75 and barely made the cut? Of course Casey had the second lowest weekend score behind Fowler after his hip got better Friday night. Damn you Casey, Damn You! I think all professional athletes should be required to disclose injuries as a public service to those of us that have a financial interest. See the NFL.
8) The CBS coverage over the weekend and specifically on Sunday was abysmal at best. Look, I get that you can’t show every important shot live but the fact that you showed Rory’s putting miscues on the front nine while Spieth was hitting his second shot on 13 was absolutely inexcusable. And then proceeded to show three more shots and a commercial before you even got to it. Not to mention the amazing conversation that Spieth and Greller had prior to the shot that led to him switching clubs. But hey, that Rory putting montage was awesome. Speaking of the 13th hole, there has to be somebody/anybody that works for CBS that can do a better job covering the 13th hole than Dottie Pepper. It’s absolutely unbearable.
7) Jon Rahm showed up and contended in a Major for the first time in his young career. And that’s after an opening round 75 no less. Rahm very well may be the most talented golfer on the planet. If he’s not, he’s certainly in the conversation-- that much is indisputable. You don’t become the third ranked player in the world in basically 18 months otherwise. But man, somebody has to sit this guy down and teach him to grow up. The temper tantrums he throws on the golf course are not only painful to watch but will cost him golf tournaments and especially Major Championships until he can get that under control. Winning a Major is as much about your attitude (see Jordan Spieth) as it is about the quality of golf you play. And until he gets the former under control the latter won’t matter.
6) The leaderboard over the weekend was pretty much exactly what we all wanted and expected, with two Major exceptions…Tiger and Phil. The fact that both barely made the cut (Phil on the number and Tiger by one stroke) was probably the most shocking thing that happened all weekend. Neither man was ever a threat, both played their worst golf of the season, and neither broke par for the week when the winning score was 15-under.
5) Nothing will ever top the excitement of a Sunday at the Masters, even on an average Sunday the roars will always be a little louder, the stakes a lot higher, and the back nine will always provide fireworks one way or another. With that said, Saturday at the 2018 Masters was one of the most exciting 5-hour stretches of golf the Masters has ever seen. This was a round that all week we were told might not even happen because of the weather and then you have three 65’s, a 66, two 67’s and 28 total rounds under par. Guys were making birdies and eagles like it was the John Deere Classic…except it wasn’t, it was the third round of the Masters and it was being done by the biggest and best names in the game of golf. It was absolute must see TV from the time CBS came on the air until the final putt Saturday afternoon was holed.
4) Will Rickie Fowler ever actually win a major? One of the first things I read Sunday after the round ended was, “Even though he came up short, Rickie Fowler proved today -- yet again -- that his first major championship victory is just a matter of when, not if.” Maybe that’s true? But maybe it isn’t? There are certainly plenty of examples where that was true in time…Phil, Sergio, etc; but there is also plenty of guys that never did…Westwood, Monty, etc. Fowler played amazing Sunday shooting 67 and birdied the 72nd hole to finish one shot out of a playoff (a far cry from his 76 in the exact same spot last year). But he didn’t win…again. I like Rickie, I really do, and the guy is certainly uber talented, but to just automatically assume he will win a major in his career seems dumb to me. He has a history of collapsing more times than not (Sunday obviously not), he only has four PGA Tour wins in his entire career and of his 8 top 5 finishes in Majors this was the first one he actually had a realistic chance to win down the stretch. So do I think Rickie will win a major at some point? Maybe, but it also wouldn’t shock me if he didn’t, and it shouldn’t really shock you either.
3) What Tony Finau did this week was nothing short of miraculous. The guy literally dislocated his ankle Wednesday afternoon, popped it back into place on the fly like it was a pesky hangnail and proceeded to take the lead for most of the day at the Masters 24 hours later before finishing in a tie for 10th. Any doctor will tell you to play low for SIX WEEKS if you dislocate an ankle and the guy shot 68 in his first Masters 24 hours later. That is so stupid I can’t even begin to comprehend it. Sure, it’s not quite Ben Hogan winning the US Open 16 months after basically dying in a car crash, but it’s pretty damn impressive in my book.
2) What in the hell happened to Rory on Sunday? With a very good chance to finally complete the career grand slam, finally put the Augusta National demons behind him and coming off a stellar 65 Saturday Rory had arguably his worst round (under the circumstances) since his final round at the 2011 Masters. Rory’s final round 74 beat a grand total of four players Sunday. As much as people want to say, ‘He’s only 28, he will have plenty more chances to win at Augusta’, I have to ask, is Rory McIlroy the modern day Greg Norman when it comes to Augusta National? At some point, that becomes a very legitimate question, and after his round on Sunday are we at that point?
1) I made a lot of money in the 2000’s betting on Tiger Woods. A LOT. From 1999-2008 if you bet on Tiger to win every week, no matter the odds, you came out ahead in that nine year stretch. That’s where I am with Jordan Spieth at the Masters for the next 10+ years. Bet on Jordan Spieth to win, Top 5 and Top 10 no matter what and you will make money, guaranteed. In five starts he has lead after 9 of the 20 rounds he’s played, that’s how many Tiger has in his career, and he has four Green jackets. Spieth has a win, finished second twice, third once and totally melted down last year in the final round to finish 11th. He now co-owns the lowest 72-hole scoring record and the lowest round ever shot on a Sunday. Jordan Spieth plays Augusta National as well as anyone ever has not named Jack Nicklaus. Spieth didn’t win on Sunday (unfortunately) but he proved that no matter how he is playing going into the Masters or what he has done in the year leading up to the Masters he is absolutely the favorite there for years to come. The shot he hit to the 13th hole Sunday (that CBS waited 6 full minutes to show) was as good if not better than the famous Phil 6-iron from the final round of the 2010 Masters. The round he played Sunday was as good a round as you will ever see played at Augusta, even with the finish on 18. Neither will be remembered as well in time because he didn’t win, and rightfully so, but they further prove that even when he doesn’t have his best stuff before or even during Masters Week, Jordan Spieth will be in contention at the Masters for at least the next decade to come.
Until US Open week,
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