Joseph Quirk ’23
The 87th annual Master’s Tournament concluded just over a week and a half ago at the beautiful Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, GA, and it did not disappoint. Jon Rahm became the fourth Spanish player to win the tournament when he took first place, shooting a -12 for the weekend. Following a shaky start to the tournament, Rahm steadied out and played some of his best golf over the remainder of the weekend.
The same unfortunately cannot be said for Brooks Koepka, who tied with Phil Mickelson for second with a -8. There are two stories worth noting with Koepka and Mickelson, the first being Koepka’s fall from the top of the leaderboard. Koepka held a multiple stroke lead over Rahm entering the final two days of the tournament, but a combination of things, including poor putting, led him to squander the lead. The second story is LIV Golf. Both Mickelson and Koepka are members of the controversial Saudi Arabian-backed golf league. In a polarizing move, LIV golfers were allowed to participate in the historic tournament, and many feared a LIV golfer winning, especially the PGA Tour. Rumors began swirling entering the final day of the tournament that if a LIV golfer were to win, all the LIV golf members at the tournament would join the winner in solidarity on the 18th green. Thankfully for the PGA, that did not happen. They likely owe a thanks to the weather.
Following the opening round, the next two days of the tournament saw rain and windstorms that caused multiple stoppages in play. Conditions got so bad that trees began falling, nearly hitting spectators. Play was suspended multiple times throughout the weekend, and make-up rounds needed to be played in the early morning on championship Sunday.
While many golfers were making up for lost time early Sunday morning, one golfer was notably not present. Tiger Woods, who had barely made the cut earlier that week, had to withdraw from the tournament early due to injuries. Unfortunately, it feels as if we have seen the last of prime, title-winning Tiger Woods. His body can no longer withstand the rigor of playing multiple rounds over consecutive days. This is far from the first tournament Woods has had to withdraw from, and he hasn’t played a full tour schedule in years. At least he could say he did better than Rory McIlroy, who missed the cut entirely. One of the feel-good moments of the weekend was when amateur Sam Bennett tied for 16th at -2, alongside pros such as Hideki Matsuyama and Justin Rose, among others. Bennett earned an invitation to the tournament after winning the U.S. Amateur Championship, which he participated in as a member of the Texas A&M University golf team.
In addition to Mickelson, Jordan Spieth made a late push for first as well. Spieth tied for 4th at -7, but entering into his final round he was at just -1. Spieth would go on to shoot 6-under in his final 18, which ultimately proved too little, too late.