For the elite members “The Green Jackets“ and the privileged spectators “The Patrons“ the 86th Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club will be fondly remembered for many years after it produced a catalogue of great moments.
The newly crowned world #1 American Scottie Scheffler led the field heading into Sunday’s final round, held an incredible 5 shot advantage standing on the 18th tee and despite a nervy and bizarre 4 putt, fully deserved his maiden Major victory, the very healthy addition to his bank account and of course the traditional winner’s Green Jacket man-handled on to him by the reigning champion.
Battling away in the final group alongside Scheffler, Australia’s mullet ambassador, the super competitive Cam Smith. Battling right up until he arrived at the middle of Amen Corner.
Hole no. 12 Golden Bell 155 yds Par 3.
Whatever you do Cameron do not dump it in the water!
12th tee 7 under 13th tee 4 under.
Good effort Cam, see you next year.
Sympathetic sighs for Cammy; rapturous roars for Rory.
A majestic inspirational final round of 64 served to remind all golfers just what a supreme talent McIlroy possesses. His runner-up place may well haunt him but the McIlroy/Morikawa double hole-out from the same bunker (and their reactions) on the 18th is already part of Masters folklore.
Hours before messrs Scheffler and Smith made their way up to the 18th green for the last time this year, another player was taking the salute of the crowd. Scraping through the cut and recording a couple of 78s on the last two days would normally attract polite acknowledgement of their efforts at best.
Very different when that player is 5 time champion Tiger Woods. I am certainly no Tiger fan but have to applaud the man’s sheer grit and determination to get himself into the necessary shape to firstly participate then to play all four rounds to produce some classic Tiger shots in the process. Even more pleasing was to see the usual surly look replaced with the broadest of smiles, his engaging post round interviews and best of all his passionate endorsement and declared intent to play at The 150th Open Championship in July at The Old Course in St Andrews.
The Old Course. Classic links golf. Hard fast undulating fairways. Pot bunkers. Revetted bunkers. Crazy bounces.
Tough sea breezes. One day Driver + 6 iron; next day Driver + 3 wood + 6 iron
Golf as it was meant to be.
Woods, Open Champion, relishing the chance to get back on our Scottish links.
Five places below Woods on the final Masters scoreboard Mr Tyrell Hatton. Admired by some for his brutal honesty and forthright views. Condemned by many for his on course tantrums and colourful language. Following another poor round on Sunday and after several tee shots despatched into the trees, he just couldn’t atop himself.
”It’s unfair at times. I don’t agree with that.“
“You can hit good shots here and not get any reward for it.“
The reality is this game of golf was never intended to be fair. For all those top pros planning to play at St Andrews this year; particularly those experiencing links for the first time their interpretation of fairness in golf could be tested to the limits.
When course meets coastline around Scotland’s linksland; when the sea breezes dry the turf, firm up the greens and challenge the best players, this is when the real fun starts.
Generations of golfers have travelled here excited about playing the historic links only to discover a form of golf to which their game is wholly unprepared for.
There can be no finer example of this than the new Masters Honorary Starter and five-time Open Champion Tom Watson. By his own admission his introduction to links at Monifieth prior to his his first Open Championship at Carnoustie did not go well. It would be a couple of years after his historic Duel in the Sun at Turnberry before he had his epiphany.
”Watson, quit complaining. Play golf like you were a kid again“
It served him well, going on to win three more Open Championships, developing a life long passion for links golf and earning the complete respect of the Scots for his appreciation of the strange bounces and the sheer beauty of our courses. As well as the Open rota courses he has visited the likes of Brora, Royal Dornoch and Nairn with family and friends simply enjoying these wonderful courses and warm hospitality.