Ten things we learned from The Masters

Published:

1. Jordan’s good at golf

Spieth

The Texan broke records left, right and centre on his way to Masters victory. Second youngest winner; first wire-to-wire win since 1976; joint-lowest 72-hole total (270); most birdies ever seen in a single Masters (28); first player to reach 19-under par; fourth player to win at the second attempt; youngest first round leader; lowest 36 hole total (130), lowest 54 hole total (200). They just kept tumbling.

 

2. Jordan’s good at talking

Speech

After delivering a winning speech at the presentation ceremony when he mocked his own receding hairline, Spieth continued to wow in the post-round press conference. It is customary for the winner to be asked to ‘go through the card’. This usually involves a brief description of the highs and lows but not Spieth. He gave a detailed account of his final round: ‘I hit a 3-wood off number one tee box and had a good kind of smooth 9-iron into the green. Tried to bleed a little fade. Got it to land where I wanted and putt where I wanted to, which was a very straight putt coming right back up the hill.’ And on and on it went..

 

3. Accuracy beats distance

Accuracy

Perhaps due to Bubba’s recent wins, Augusta has garnered a reputation as a bomber’s paradise but Jordan Spieth proved there’s more than one way to win a green jacket. The Texan ranked 52nd in Driving Distance for the week (41 yards behind leader Jason Day) but second in Greens in Regulation and first in Strokes Gained Putting. Drive for show…

 

4. Phil may as well buy a bridesmaid’s dress

Mickelson

Yes, yes, he’s a three-time winner at Augusta but Phil Mickelson was never going to topple Spieth. He loves finishing second too much! The five-time major champ became a 10-time major runner-up as he joined Justin Rose on 14-under par. Six of his 10 have come at the one he craves most, the US Open and that’s next up at Chambers Bay in June. Will he win it? I’m not sure, but he’ll definitely be in the top two.

 

5. Tiger’s back is fine. His wrist, however…

Woods

A remarkable week for Mr Woods. The kids caddied at the par three, he was dishing out hugs and kisses on the range and he broke 70 twice on his way to a top-20 finish that had many eating their words. However, the 14-time major winner continues to hop from one freak injury to another. The back showed no ill effects and his glutes seemed adequately activated. But, in round four, just nine holes from home, Tiger swung, hit a root, yelped in pain and clutched his right wrist. So what happened? I’ll let Tiger explain: ‘There was a little joint that popped back out and I was able to somehow put it back in, which didn't feel very good, but at least it got back in and I could move my hand again.’ Thank you, Dr Woods.

 

6. Ben Crenshaw could still win the Masters

Crenshaw

Gentle Ben is not merely the people’s champion – his final Friday reception a genuinely hairs-standy-uppy moment – he’s still got the magic formula around Augusta. The two-time winner may no longer be able to do it himself but, in conjunction with faithful caddie, Carl Jackson, Crenshaw played a huge role in his fellow Texan’s victory. Spieth and caddie, Michael Greller, played a practice round with Crenshaw ahead of the tournament and met with Jackson to go over pin locations ahead of every round: ‘We just go off Carl’s reads,’ Spieth explained.  

 

7. Honesty isn’t the best policy

Hahn

America’s James Hahn made his Masters debut this year and all was going swimmingly after a very respectable opening 73. However, Augusta bit back on Friday morning when, on the very first green, Hahn’s ball moved ‘one dimple’ according to the man himself. He called a one-stroke penalty on himself and went on to shoot a second round 74 that left him three-over par. He missed the cut by one. Ouch. Hahn tweeted the following post-round: ‘Missed cut by 1. Sometimes you don't get rewarded for doing the right thing, but it doesn't mean you shouldn't do the right thing. #integrity’ We believe you, James.

 

8. There’s life in the old dogs yet

Watson

A 21-year-old whippersnapper may have stolen the headlines but not too far behind him some of the game’s elder statesman were proving they’re not finished yet. Tom Watson’s opening 71 set the tone and though he eventually missed the cut, Messrs Mickelson, O’Meara, Cabrera, Els and Stricker all finished in the top 30.

 

9. Augusta might have to rethink Crystal policy

Johnson

Spieth stole most of the records at Augusta but the field as a whole combined to break another. Before this year, the 1991 tournament had seen the most eagles at one Masters (37) but that figure was dwarfed this year as 47 were recorded. The 17 on Friday tied the tournament record for most in a round, while 20 came at the par-5 13th – a record for that hole. A Masters eagle earns you a pair of crystal goblets, meaning Augusta will be dishing out 94 of them. A dozen of those will go to Dustin Johnson and Hideki Matsuyama who made three each. Expensive.

 

10. The greens are deceiving everyone

Rose

I never thought I would see the Masters when there were one or two rumblings about the greens being too slow but that’s what we got, with players, caddies and commentators alike convinced that the putting surfaces were playing easier than previous years. The scoring was good, yes, but not out of the ordinary beyond Spieth and the attempts of Mickelson and Rose to catch him. Only three men (Stricker, Stenson and Bae) avoided a three-putt over the week, while Dufner, Compton, Lahiri and Stadler suffered six three-putts. Try telling those boys it’s getting easier.