By Tyler Olson
Wow. The Masters never fails to produce drama, but the 2016 edition seemed to blow away any expectations we might’ve had. Now that it’s over, we can engage in a great American tradition and look at some of the larger stories from our Monday morning quarterback chair.
Just like last year, Jordan Spieth went in to the back nine on Masters Sunday with the kind of commanding lead that lends itself to boring golf. Then he proceeded to make it not so boring by going bogey-bogey-quadruple bogey on 10, 11, and 12. His 7 on the par-three 12th came after he dunked his tee shot then his third after the drop into the drink. He fell from -7 to -1 and suddenly found himself trailing Danny Willett by a daunting margin with just a few holes left.
He wasn’t done yet, though. Birdies on thirteen and fifteen brought him to two strokes back of Willett, who was now in the clubhouse. On sixteen, Spieth stuck one to within ten feet, but missed the putt. A bogey on seventeen ended his hopes of making the comeback and handed the Green Jacket to Danny Willett.
As usual, though, Spieth handled everything with absolute class, including the ceremony afterwards. There, he completed his metaphorically handing the Green to Danny Willett by literally putting a Green Jacket on Danny Willett. Despite the internet taking joy in his misfortune with crying-Jordan memes abound, Jordan Spieth once again proved he is the embodiment of a professional.
Danny Willett has an Awesome Life
He’s a new father, Masters champion, $1.8 million dollars richer, and probably just played his way into the Olympics. Yeah, I would say ‘ol Danny is riding pretty high after this last week. We’re gonna see him on the top of leaderboards in Europe and America alike for a long time. Even after Spieth fell on his face ahead of him on Sunday, Willett still needed to close. Someone who’s never been on that stage in a major before could easily have tripped up, but he didn’t shrink from the moment.
Dustin Johnson made a late run and had a chance to force Willett into a playoff with birdies on 17 and 18. He doubled 17, mainly because his short game and putter failed him yet again in the biggest moments. It seems he is becoming a Sergio Garcia: an uber-talented ball striker whose mental game prevents him from ever closing in a major.
After playing in his final Open Championship last year, Watson played in his final Masters this year. Walking up eighteen on Friday, the mutual love and respect between Watson, the patrons, and the rest of the golfers was evident. Despite his advanced age in this last rodeo, Watson’s game has barely lost any of its edge. The course nowadays is just too long for him to compete on. Even so, in the process of missing the cut, Watson managed to tie Zach Johnson’s score and beat Fowler and Dufner. The old man still has it.
I’ve Lived a Langer Life than You
Worst pun ever, but very fitting, considering that Bernhard Langer, at 58, was tied for third heading into Sunday at the Masters. The two people above him- 22 year-old Jordan Spieth and 24 year-old Smylie Kaufman- had a combined age of just forty-six. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be for our boy, Bernhard, but hats off to the old guys this week for putting on an impressive showing.
They are Human
Between Ernie Els’ six or seven or whatever-number-it-was putt, Spieth sending two straight shots water-bound (the second with a shockingly hack-like chunk), or Rory’s unspectacular 77 when he should’ve been in prime position to take advantage of Spieth’s slips on Saturday, this year’s Masters humanized our usually unflappable golf superheroes. Was it the wind? The cold? Or was the universe just upset that the same freaking dude led after seven consecutive rounds in the most competitive golf tournament on earth? I suppose we’ll never know. However, the best take away from this Masters for us regular folk is that if even the pros make these mistakes, we can’t be too hard on ourselves for the occasional wayward drive or a three-putt here or there.