The master came quickly to us in 2021, with the previous installment ending just five months earlier and without another major championship between them. Dustin Johnson’s time with the green jacket was short and Hideki Matsuyama picked up a nation to win in this.
Here are things we learned over the course of another week at Augusta National.
1. Stronger, faster is better
For the first time in several years, Augusta National offered the conditions preferred for major championships. The fairways were fast, the greens were firm and fast. Both gave the players seizures.
While the greens may have been marginalized during Thursday’s opening round, the resulting difficulty made for a far more compelling tournament. The players were nervous, and that’s part of the major exam.
Just when it looked like Matsuyama had the tournament firmly under control, he shot his approach over the green and into the water at par-5-15. That would not have happened at the very soft Masters in November. He also bogey on the 16th, putting the green at three from a distance.
Each day offered someone an opportunity to shoot a low score. Justin Rose was 65 years old on Thursday. Matsuyama achieved that on Saturday. On Sunday, Jon Rahm posted 66 points, too far back to hold his own. Such conditions require an abundance of precision to prevail.
2. More roar, more needed
It was nice to have spectators at Augusta National again after only a few members and guests were allowed in in November. At times there were large bags of masked gatherings all over the property. You could hear the cheers in the Amen corner from the clubhouse. Just not enough of it. And not loud enough.
Part of the masters’ fascination are the overcrowded grandstands – as in November there were again no structures – as well as rows of patrons trying to take a look at what was going on. The pandemic circumstances required limited participation. The hope is that it will get back to normal in 2022.
3. As the game grows around the world
The Masters and Augusta National are understandably proud of their efforts to expand the game around the world with two amateur events, including the Asian-Pacific Amateur, which began in 2009. Matsuyama won the tournament twice as an amateur, securing a place in the Masters, which he played for the first time 10 years ago. On Sunday he was the seventh player to win low amateur honors at the tournament and then win the green jacket. The Masters people will use his win to encourage players in Asia and Latin America – where the Latin American Amateur Championship is being played – to pick up the game and dream of Matsuyama’s exploits.
4. DeChambeau’s intellectual work
When Bryson DeChambeau said last fall that he thought Augusta National would play for him at par of 67, he obviously didn’t expect him to finish 46th. He had finished 34th in the fall. DeChambeau seemed to hit the track with a second lap of 67, but he opened at 76 and then added 75 and 75 on Saturday and Sunday. Its length may be an asset, but it takes a lot more to be competitive here.
“I don’t think you can ever find out this place,” he said. “There’s so much going on here. The wind makes it fiendish. It flies through these trees and bounces off the trees and makes it feel in the wind when it should be upwind and vice versa. I don’t think you I will can ever find out, but I just need to be more comfortable. “
5. Spieth is back
We already knew that. But a strong performance, which he even said was far from his best, was another indication of the progress Jordan Spieth has made this year. A week after winning the Valero Texas Open, Spieth finished third in the Masters despite never really being able to hold much momentum and having a triple bogey on Thursday.
“I wish I had control of my swing which I hope is coming or I think it is coming soon because it would have made things a little easier this week and I hit the ball really well” said Spieth, who took the lead field in greens in regulation with 56 out of 72. “I’ve hit a lot of fairways. I’ve put myself in a position to hit a lot of greens and distance control is one of my strengths in iron play. I have good job. ” .
“All in all, I’ve made a lot of good progress, but I think this trail still matters to me. I now have at least a few weeks off where I’ll rest for a while and then regroup and.” see if I can get off in weeks where you can make maybe 5% difference. “
6. Schauffele has more to learn
Xander Schauffele also said this after finishing second in the 2019 Masters, one punch behind Tiger Woods. Undoubtedly it was the same Sunday that he somehow hit it into the water on the 16th hole after making things interesting with four back-to-back birdies.
“It’s another lesson that needs to be put in the memory bank,” he said. “”[In] In 2019 I had a rookie hiccup moment: “Oh my goodness, I lead the champions.” I hunted this year. I’m playing better than 2019 and made a mistake with the shot selection and the wind. “
The triple bogey 6 was the first triple that Schauffele has ever made in a major championship round.
7. Koepka needs more time to heal
You have to thank Brooks Koepka for trying to play the Masters just three weeks after knee surgery. But it never seemed like a good idea. The way he walked around one of the waviest courses showed the strain he was placing on his right knee. Koepka missed the cut and will likely be off for a few weeks now to make sure the knee gets better. He would probably have been better off skipping this event, which is easy to see now.
AP Photo / Matt Slocum
8. A rory reset is required
The thought here was that Rory McIlroy wasn’t that far away. Bringing in Pete Cowen to help him ahead of the Masters could be a quick fix to improve his game, and the lower expectations could mean an easy way to face the only major he didn’t win. No
McIlroy fought again and has now missed the cut in the Players Championship and Masters. It was a disappointing performance for one of the game’s most popular players. It will be interesting to see if he can find his form in time for next month’s PGA Championship in Kiawah, where he won the tournament in 2012.
9. Zalatoris has no status
Consider the following: Despite finishing sixth in the US Open and Second in the MastersWill Zalatoris is not a member of the PGA Tour. A special temporary member due to his success over the past six months, he can be rest assured of receiving his PGA Tour card for the 2021-22 season. However, he is currently not qualified for the FedEx Cup playoffs. To do this, you must be a full member of the PGA Tour. Right now the only way to do this is by winning a tournament. Given its recent form, this seems inevitable.
10. The Master always delivers
We didn’t really learn that. It has always been like that. But Zalatoris summed it up well, referring to Tiger Woods.
“Everyone is watching. Everyone remembers,” he said. “I laughed with my parents [Saturday] Night talk about how I could give you a memory of every single hole. I mentioned seeing guys for years when the pin went back to 10, guys who missed that putt low. Examples of this.
“But I think it has a lot to do with Tiger, a lot of kids come into play and a lot of kids are watching his success here – especially he won 1997 and he won 2019. He’s our trendsetter for the game. I think that’s one of the Reasons why so many kids get out early. We saw that he is fearless at a young age. So we come out and play fearlessly. And on top of that, we were interested in seeing the tournament year in, year out.
“And I think that’s something the Masters do so incredibly well, that you can see every single shot of every single player. Even [Sunday] Tomorrow I’ll sit around and watch guys play on the golf course to see holes play. But I think a lot of it has to do with tiger. “