So I was going to follow suit with what I was doing earlier in the week. After doing a re-cap for the first two rounds I decided not to write a round three re-cap. Admittedly, I was too enthralled watching my beloved Toronto Maple Leafs clinch a playoff spot last night. Something they haven’t done in an extremely long time. After watching the Third Round though all I could think about was how exciting the Final Round would be. Then again, when it comes to The Masters is there ever a Final Round that isn’t exciting?
We’ve seen a lot of fireworks this week from Augusta. Blistering rounds turned in by Rickie Fowler and Charley Hoffman with the latter being in contention from day one. High winds and cooler temperatures made themselves a part of the event this year but Masters Sunday looks to be a little more like it. So speaking of fireworks what about journeyman and the man with 73 starts in a Major without having won a Major?
Sergio Garcia. The brash Spaniard whom people have loved and utterly hated over the years. A man who it seems has been on Tour since the beginning of time. We’ve seen Sergio at his immature worst and now a more refined, sophisticated Sergio. Actually, while those two adjectives don’t fully describe the current version I think that many can agree that he has matured… just a little. but here it is Sunday at The Masters and he currently sits -8 and in the lead as he tees off on number 8. Today is a day where it just seems like he can do no wrong and maybe just maybe he will get his Green Jacket and the “Major Monkey” off of his back. As he has been in “cruise control” we have seen other contenders after “Moving Day” start to fall back. Jordan Spieth has dropped a few strokes and at the moment Justin Rose has bounced back after losing ground and Rickie Fowler just got back to -5 after a recent birdie. If there is one thing that we can say about Augusta National a lead of 2 or 3 is definitely not safe. One minute you’re ahead by four and then you blink and you could suddenly find yourself down 1. Then of course there is the aptly named “Amen Corner” which is always magical and full of drama on Sunday. What I’m trying to convey is that at the moment there is a ton of golf to be played. With that said… Justin Rose now sits tied at the top of the leaderboard with Sergio Garcia as they head to the ninth. Lots of golf left indeed!!! Suddenly I heard Chubbs’ voice (Carl Weathers) singing “We’ve Only Just Begun”
So speaking of Justin Rose. What can be said of him? Yes he won the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion. Last year in Rio he won the Olympic Golf championship by hoisting the Gold Medal for Great Britain. Justin has definitely shown the wherewithal proving to the golf world that he can win on any stage. Who remembers his first Open Championship? In 1998 as a 17-year-old he finished the Open Championship at Royal Birkdale in 4th place. You knew then that major things were going to happen then. Here we are 19 years later and he’s alone in first place on the 13th exiting “Amen Corner” clear of Garcia by two strokes.
As I sit here and watch I made a comment on Twitter (@UntilTheNextTee) just recently. Watching these two (Garcia and Rose) is like watching a heavyweight fight. Both become rubber-legged after absorbing a heavy blow from their opponent and then they show nothing but raw intestinal fortitude and resilience while bouncing back. Rose who looked like he hurt something on 15 tee and Garcia hit a great shot into 15 getting an Eagle. As the two of them walk off of the 15th green here they are deadlocked at -9. Writing, I am thinking to myself that it’s a shame that one or the other will not win this tournament. Yes only one jacket will be awarded to the winner but I cannot help but think that millions are winning on this “Sunday at The Masters”. Golf and its fans are winning and are the winners on this day.
As the round is finishing up both players sit on 18 in regulation tied at -9. Rose hit an approach shot that looked to be errant just see a terrific bounce. His putt just missed and just as the door was opened for Garcia to win with a birdie putt… Garcia missed as well. Truth be told over the last three holes Garcia’s putting stroke has looked tentative… at best. His putt on 18 never stood a chance. Sudden Death playoff it is. The nerves that both players must be feeling I cannot even imagine. Based on putting alone… at this point “Advantage… Rose”.
In the end, the 2017 edition of The Masters is going to go down as an “instant classic”. Two of Europe’s most popular players slugging it out for Major glory. Huge congratulations to the victor… Sergio Garcia on winning your first Major and The Masters. Something my mother always said comes to mind. “It pays to persevere”.
Until The Next Tee!