Well, here we are. It’s November and finally the tournament has come that we all look forward to every spring. The Masters. It goes without saying that 2020 has been like nothing that we’ve experienced before. Things have changed, things are different, and in saying that, how different is a Masters Tournament in November? It’s rare and mysterious. It’s a unicorn.
Leading up to the playing of The Masters this year, I wasn’t that excited. Or so I thought. In retrospect, I think that it’d be best if I stopped lying to myself. Apparently I was excited, when I woke up and looked for Masters coverage. Failing to find anything, I went to the Masters’ website looking for scoring information and the leaderboard, and lo and behold… Nothing. I was bewildered. As it turns out, it was only Wednesday. Not excited for The Masters? Yeah, right!
But finally the event started today, former Masters Champions and legends of the game Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player hit their ceremonial tee shots and alas, The Masters was underway.
Here are my hot takes for Round 1 of the 2020 Masters Tournament.
The Weather – After a few players finally got underway and started their tournament, it wasn’t long until expected inclement weather moved into the area. As the klaxons went off indicating a temporary stoppage in play there was a feeling of deflation. Tributaries of Rae’s Creek overflowed and just for a little while, Rae’s Creek looked like a “Rae(ging) River”. The Masters was delayed for how many months? So, what’s another couple of hours? Eventually, the skies cleared and blue skies emerged. Symbolic, because one day, we’ll be through this pandemic and it’ll be nothing but blue skies ahead. Play was suspended due to darkness thanks to the weather delay.
The Defending Champion – The defending champion, Tiger Woods, looked great today. There’s just something about Augusta National Golf Club and Tiger that looks, natural. He just looks so comfortable strolling around out there, golfing his ball doing what Tiger does best. The greens became very receptive after the torrents of rain and Tiger took advantage of them. He posted a -4 (68) and looked really good doing so, other than a couple of unforced errors. After the first round Tiger sits in a share of 5th place. During the delay, I watched a press conference from earlier in the week of Tiger discussing his 2019 victory. It was so nice to see him show some emotions. Am I alone in wishing that we saw more of this type of human element from Tiger more often?
Ageless Wonders – Golf is a funny game. Golf is simply a game that demonstrates that there’s more than one way to swing a golf club, play the game, and score. Contrary to popular belief the game is not all about power and brawn. How about 62 year-old Larry Mize posting a -2 (T-21) in the first round? And then there’s Bernhard Langer. At the tender age of 63, there he sits, in a tie for 13th place after the first round. Is it just me, or do we see this from him more often than not. I’m really hoping that Freddy Couples has himself a great second round. He’s currently sitting in a T-72nd.
Power and Brawn – Speaking of power and brawn. Coming into this week, everybody was talking about Bryson DeChambeau, thanks in most part to Bryson DeChambeau. Yes, he put a 48″ driver, which isn’t newsworthy. Heck, Canada’s Brooke Henderson from the LPGA has been playing with one for quite some time. But, then there was the talk about him turning the Par 5 13th hole into a driver and a little “excuse me” wedge into the green. In the first round, that didn’t quite happen as he carded a 7 on the hole. Oh yeah, there was also his bulletin board material of a quote where he stated that (for him) Augusta National Golf Club was a Par 67. With his 70 today, does that mean that he technically fired a +3? Carding a -2 (70) he is anything but out of this thing. By the time that the dust settles this, he will make noise. Plenty of it.
The Leader – Paul Casey took advantage of the conditions in the first round. Actually, a healthy portion of the field took advantage of the softer greens. In fact 63 players out of the field of 92. Not only were the greens receptive, but they weren’t rolling at their typical lightning fast pace. Casey in the first round posted his -7 (65). The overnight leader after the first round.
Ugly Polos – While I’m in no way the fashion police I couldn’t help but notice some of the fashion during the first round. Was it just me or were there some ugly polos being clad by players in the field. At times, Nike Golf could be accused of having the ugliest scripting out of the apparel companies during the Major Championship’s. Man, Paul Casey’s left me confused. I sort of liked Rickie Fowler’s in a way, but, there was something about it that my eyes hated. And then there was Hideki Matsuyama. That thing was ugly as sin. The green and white stripes somehow reminded me of a prison outfit. Granted, the stripes weren’t horizontal. Well, at least they weren’t Tabasco polos.
No Galleries… No Problem – Is there a golf event this year that will miss fans more than The Masters? If there was an event, other than a Ryder Cup that was meant to have spectators and galleries in attendance, it’s The Masters. I’m going to miss the roars of Sunday. The cheering, applause, and gasps just reverberate around the grounds of Augusta National Golf Club. But, I will say this. There’s no taking away from the beauty of Augusta National Golf Club, and if anything we get to enjoy the views a little bit more without the fans being in-person. In a way, Augusta National Golf Club seems more natural, serene, pristine, and pure. Yet, in a way, the lack of fans also makes it seem more elitist and untouchable. Either way, I’m really enjoying it. How about you?
Until The Next Tee!!