Friday at The Masters…. what a great way to enter the weekend! The only way that it could be greater is if we were in attendance to catch the tournament. On the heels of my Round 1 recap I thought… what the heck. How about a Round Two report. So here we go.
For those that read my lead in to the week I made a few picks… or at least guys to look for. I admit that I never gave the name William McGirt a thought and to be totally frank I never considered Sergio Garcia to be at or near the top of the leaderboard. But, lo and behold it’s “Moving Day Eve” and there sits Garcia atop the leaderboard in a four-way tie with Round 1 leader Charley Hoffman whom was nice enough to answer my question from my Round 1 recap. He came back to the field. This isn’t to take away from the fact that the rounds turned in by Thomas Pieters, Garcia and Rickie Fowler were impressive.
Sergio… in contention. (Photo Credit: golfchannel.com)
Fowler would card the low round of the day with an impressive -5 (67) as he surged towards the top. Over and over again I have become more and more impressed with Rickie. However, it isn’t for his play but for the class he has shown over and over again. Apologizing to fans for not signing autographs, then signing autographs after a recent victory into darkness and lastly yesterday. There he stood in attendance with all of the patrons taking in the Honorary Starter’s tee shots and tribute to our “Dear King”. Rickie… Arnie is watching down on you and he’s loving everything that you’re doing. It seems that you are truly embodying Mr. Palmer. In a time in the world where there is so much strife and people only care about themselves you’re a breath of fresh air. Karma can be a great thing.
The surging Fowler (Photo Credit: augusta.com)
Speaking of great things. Also in my Masters lead-in I mentioned a couple of other names to watch out for. I mentioned Jon Rahm as being a name to watch this week and he’s coming through. While Bernhard Langer missed the cut as did Patrick Reed. Jason Day snuck in as the last player to make the cut and Rory McIlroy and Hideki Matsuyama are in striking distance. But my boldest pick was that we would see magic out of Fred Couples. Today the former Masters Champion at age 57 came through with my prognostication. After two rounds one of the field’s elder statesmen sits T-6. Can you only imagine? I know that if he’s in the hunt after moving day the grounds would be utterly electric. Turn back the clock Freddie!
Freddie turning back time like Cher. (Photo Credit: golfweek.com)
The leaderboard is stacking up and the weather this weekend is looking ideal. Masters Sunday magic… it’s coming. you can already hear the roars echoing through the pines, dogwoods and azaleas.
Until The Next Tee!
Hasn’t it been an interesting start to the season’s first Major of the year? I mean who could have possibly predicted that what has transpired so far was in fact going to happen?
If there was a Masters Tournament that had a serious plot twist before the action begun in 2017 than I have no idea what it was. Like every year the Par 3 Contest was played (sort of). Unfortunately, Mother Nature had found it within herself to interfere forcing a cancellation after 55 minutes of play due to an unstable weather system. Marking that for the first time in 56 years it was not contested. But there is a silver lining to that massive cloud. At least none of the player’s will be a victim of “the curse”. Nobody has ever gone on to win The Masters after winning the Par 3 Contest. Oh… speaking of massive clouds to darken an event.
Par 3 Tournament… cancelled. (Photo Credit: Golf Channel)
I have never been to Augusta National but I have long wondered if it smelled like I imagine it to through the television screen. I remember watching the telecast from a hospital bed in 2004 in Hamilton, Ontario while recovering from an infection that led doctors to believe I had Meningitis. But while laying there in the bed there were all of the sprawling colors that is Augusta National in front of my eyes. I can’t imagine any weather or dark clouds ever making this event dreary. Unless of course you happen to be playing a Masters pool with a bunch of people and you just watched your favorite… the favorite to win fall down some stairs. As the reports of a fall involving World #1 Dustin Johnson surfaced on social media outlets The Masters took the biggest plot twist that I have seen. While at his rental home in Augusta, Johnson took a fall that injured his lower back. According to his agent the fall was significant and it’s reported that he landed hard on his elbow and side. Treatment was started right away with Dustin having hopes of still playing but after warming up prior to the first round Thursday Johnson was forced to withdraw. He was quoted as saying that the backswing was fine but coming down and through impact he felt his lower back “catch”. DJ has been playing the best golf he has played in his career and will have plenty of chances to win a “Green Jacket”. just that it won’t be this year. DJ… don’t rush it and give it time to heal you aren’t as young as you used to be (32).
The Round 1 leader. Charley Hoffman (Photo Credit: PGA.com)
The beautiful part about life is that when one door closes another door opens. With DJ’s withdrawal a door the size of an airplane hangar opened for the field. High winds plagued the first round and some players like Adam Scott stated that it was “borderline unplayable”. I know for the rest of us golfing “Minions” there isn’t a huge paycheck and a Green Jacket waiting for us with a victory. But… can I please see a show of hands from everyone who would complain about playing Augusta National in 30 mph winds? Thanks. I know a 3 to 4 club wind is an inconvenience and it can suck when it comes to putting. But seriously, on the Great Lakes that in gentle zephyr. More so I imagine in Texas or the Mid-West (Prairies). My point being that it’s the same course for everyone in the morning wave and that’s on the course at the time. Just luck of the draw right? But as some like Scott struggled (I’ll leave Jordan Spieth’s 9 on 12 alone). Nice cards were turned in after Round 1 by Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood, and William McGirt. But did Charley Hoffman ever have himself a round. A -7 for a 65?! Master class right there folks. It’s unknown how that first round will hold up come Sunday but what a start. Hoffman is currently on the course and E thru 1. The weather looks pretty nice today (less wind) and looks to be even better come the weekend. So will the field catch him or will he come back to the field? Time will tell.
An emotional tribute (Photo Credit: Golfweek)
In closing, I just wanted to state that it was tough watching the Honorary Starters kick off the tournament yesterday. Of course Mr. Nicklaus and Mr. Player were there to strike the opening tee shots. But it was surreal to watch the Opening Ceremony as Chairman of Augusta National Billy Payne escorted Mrs. Arnold Palmer to the first tee while carrying one of Mr. Palmer’s Green Jackets then folded it ever so delicately and placed it on the chair there. Mr. Payne’s address to the patrons was emotional and heartfelt and accurate. If I may quote Mr. Payne “The almost unbearable sadness we all feel at the passing of Arnold Palmer is surpassed only by the love and affection for him, which will forever reside in our hearts.”
Until The Next Tee!