The Masters: "A tradition unlike any other"
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Every April, as the azaleas begin to bloom, the world’s greatest golfers descend upon Augusta National for The Masters tournament, which is the first of four majors on the golf circuit. Every year, there is always the dark horse who jumps out and surprises the field or a perennial favorite who flexes his muscles and takes over. The storylines are always big at The Masters. This year was no different.
On Thursday morning, Charley Hoffman jumped out early and led for most of the first day, as he came seemingly from out of nowhere. Hoffman would finish well off the lead, however, as his Cinderella story came up short.
Tiger Woods returned to action for the first time since withdrawing from a tournament in February. Woods’s first day was anything but memorable, as he could not break even par for the day. He found his groove on Friday as he managed to make the cut for the weekend. He had brief glimpses of his former glory, as the 14-time major champion and four-time Augusta winner put together a solid round Saturday putting himself at 6 under going into Sunday.
Rory McIlroy was the favorite coming into the week. Rory had won back-to-back majors at the end of last year and was looking to complete his career grand slam by winning all four majors. After a tumultuous first day, he needed a incredible back nine on Friday in order to stick around. Rory would launch himself into contention on Saturday as many call it “moving day” at The Masters. He finished at 6 under heading into Sunday.
The weekend really belonged to just one person, though, the 21-year-old Texan, Jordan Spieth. On day one, he was just one stroke off tying the first round record for lowest opening round in a Masters. That was one of the few records that Spieth did not break. After 36 and 54 holes, he had broken the all-time Masters scoring record up until that point. He went into Sunday with the field of stars chasing him down, but Spieth remained cool, calm and collected throughout.
Mcilroy made a charge on Sunday as he doubled his score to finish 12 under while Tiger Woods fell out of contention with a score of 1 over for the day and 5 under for the tournament. Phil Mickelson and Justin Rose did all that they could to track down Spieth. Mickelson holed out from a bunker for an eagle to get within four but never got any closer. Rose sank three straight birdies on the back nine only to have Spieth answer with birdies of his own. Rose and Mickelson had to settle for a tie for second at 14 under. Spieth was sitting at 19 under with one hole to play, only needing a par to secure the all-time record at Augusta national. In one of his rare misses of the week, Spieth dropped a shot on the final hole. His under 18 performance tied him with a Tiger Woods for the scoring record.
The 21-year-old became the first wire-to-wire winner at The Masters since Raymond Floyd in 1976. He is the second youngest Masters winner behind Tiger Woods. This is Jordan Spieth’s first major and 3rd win on the PGA tour, but after this week, one can only guess how high he will soar.
A week filled with the greatest in the world did not disappoint, as they put on a show for the ages. From the par three contest on Wednesday where Jack Nicklaus at the young age of 75 gave viewers yet another Masters moment when the 18-time major winner hit a hole in one, until the very last putt dropped in on Sunday. The Masters truly is, as Jim Nantz says, “A tradition unlike any other.”