Big Randy and Tron here with a a few final thoughts about The Masters, as well as some riffs on Heritage on tap this week:
Jordan Spieth seems like he might be well-suited for the Masters. This year was his fifth career start at Augusta. Here’s how he compares to Tiger through five starts:
|First Five Masters:||TIGER WOODS||JORDAN SPIETH|
|1997||270 (1st)||2014||283 (2nd)|
|1998||285 (8th)||2015||270 (1st)|
|1999||289 (18th)||2016||286 (2nd)|
|2000||284 (5th)||2017||287 (11th)|
|2001||272 (1st)||2018||275 (3rd)|
Tiger would win two more times in his next five starts, posting a scoring average of 70.8 with an average finish of 8.4. It’ll be fascinating to see what happens across Spieth’s next several starts. Can he keep pace, or even outpace the Cat?
At the risk of belaboring the Rickie stuff, which I tried to lay out on the Masters recap podcast, I thought it’d be sort of interesting to compare the Ricktator’s resume, admittedly at a macro level, against three other anonymous Americans, plus a top International player (who’s quickly becoming the forgotten man). Scroll all the way to the bottom to see who’s who.
4 wins (2 Euro wins), 0 majors (3 runner-ups), 3 Ryder Cup/2 Presidents Cup appearances, 29 years old
4 wins (0 Euro wins), 1 major (0 runner-ups), 2 Ryder Cup/2 Presidents Cup appearances, 32 years old
3 wins (0 Euro wins), 1 major (0 runner-ups), 2 Ryder Cup/1 Presidents Cup appearances, 31 years old
6 wins (1 Euro win), 1 major (1 runner-up), 2 Ryder Cup/2 Presidents Cup appearances, 27 years old
11 wins (3 Euro wins), 1 major (4 runner-ups), 4 Presidents Cup appearances, 30 years old
Another Masters missed cut for El Pato this year. Second year in a row that’s happened. He hasn’t broken 75 in two years and has only broken par one round since his runner-up finish in 2013. That little five-year heater Cabrera went on between 2009 and 2013 at Augusta was thoroughly enjoyable for me but I’m afraid the magic may have run out. Angel is currently ranked 1,128th in the world. Yikes. His magic anywhere may be out. I hope not.
Random tidbits from the final leaderboard: Jon Rahm shot fourteen under par for rounds two, three and four and at no point did it truly feel like he was in a flow or acting like he was pleased with his play…Another exceptional performance from Cam Smith, who shot 30 on the final nine. The 24 year old is trending toward heavyweight status with his results over the past 18 months and should be considered a bona fide dark horse for Shinnecock…Disappointing Masters debut for Patrick Cantlay, who shot 75-76.
Here are all the career Masters scores of somebody competing this year:
Believe it or not there’s a Green Jacket in there, belongs to Danny Willett. Incredible!
Little bit of uniqueness from the final leaderboard. Martin Kaymer was the only guy to both make the cut and not shoot par (or better) in any round. He finished solo 48th after firing 74-73-74-73.
The contrast between course conditions Thu/Fri and Sat/Sun was stark and showed how much more interesting golf can be when it’s firm and fast. And while much is made of Augusta’s sub-air systems, it seemed that the course was set up for chasers on Sunday and the greens didn’t play near as firm as it could have. In a similar vein, several caddies and players mentioned that 10th and 12th greens were clearly tweaked over the past year but nobody wanted to acknowledge it publicly.
Quick note on the PGA Tour website as I spent quite a bit of time recently having a look around there for different players’ statistics across different years and within different tournaments. It’s not good. Not very user-friendly. Feel like it’s cumbersome and choppy to navigate between player results, and you can’t isolate individual tournaments for a player’s career. Maybe the (un)functionality is by design, I don’t know, but it’d be super awesome if the site were more intuitive while offering better statistical information. And don’t get me started on that bottom banner ad–that thing is a disgrace.
Dustin Johnson is playing the Heritage this week, his first start in Hilton Head since 2009. He’s yet to break par on the iconic Pete Dye design, going 79-79 in 2008 and 71-76 in 2009 while MCing the proceedings. I’m keen to see how he manages this year. Always a fascinating dichotomy when a bomber like DJ takes on Harbour Town Golf Links. Other surprising names in the field this week include Tyrell Hatton, Satoshi Kodaira, Doc Redman, and Steve Scott. And some guys DEEP in the world top 100 that are alternates this week: Peter Uihlein, Paul Dunne and Julian Suri.
Disappointing to see Big Cat continuing to skip Heritage, a tournament and venue that would be perfect for his game. Hit stingers all over the place, flight some irons and feed on the low-key atmosphere of the place. Cat made sure to mention that he’s headed to the gym this week to get reps and keep bulking up.
Answers from above: Player A = Webb Simpson; Player B = Keegan Bradley; Player C = Patrick Reed; Player D = Jason Day