Masters 2014: 10 things to know about the 78th Masters
From Spieth's struggles to Bubba's tears, here are 10 things you need to know about a great 2014 Masters.
It's over, can you believe it?
Only 12 months until the 2015 Masters but first we have a lot to discuss. Bubba Watson earned green jacket No. 2, Rory McIlroy did Rory McIlroy things on Sunday and man, that Spieth kid, what do we make of him?
First things first, though.
1. Great tournament belied by final nine: This was the inverse of the 2013 Masters. The tournament was a gem until the second nine on Sunday. With a reeling Jordan Spieth and a barely-hanging-on Matt Kuchar and Jonas Blixt, all Bubba had to do was keep murdering his drives and green was easily his.
Nobody made a run and you got that sinking "this is over, isn't it" feeling after Spieth got wet on No. 12.
That shouldn't take away from the fact that we got a pretty grand first 63 holes of play, even without Tiger Woods. Plenty of strong stories emerged overall but I'm afraid that sigh of an ending will leave some sour.
2. The Kid will grow up: Heir Jordan turned to Error Jordan after the first seven holes. He bogeyed two straight and never recovered. And his antics down the stretch, the club dropping and gah-lee-ing after not bad tee shots, that was a bit of a bummer to see.
He said after his round he's ready to win a major and that he had a lot of fun after the turn. It sure didn't seem like it, especially on the latter.
Still. He's..well..you know.
3. Magic hands Swede: You know who had the best tournament nobody was talking about?
He was the only golfer in the field who was under par all four days and he was a magician on the carpet. Blixt took 1.53 putts per hole, only bested by Rickie Fowler and Russell Henley of those who made the cut.
He's got top-fives in each of his past two majors and looks poised to get his first soon.
4. What's it mean for Bubba: The list of two-time Masters winners is not a joke. I mean really, really not a joke. Watson now has six PGA Tour wins and an inside track on the Hall of Fame. Heck, he might already be in it. If he can get a handful more and sneak in one more major, he's a lock.
As it is, he'll move back into the world top five and reassume his position as one of the four biggest draws in golf (along with Tiger, Phil, and Rory). He's back, and Bubba-er than ever.
5. Come on, Aussie? Who had John Senden as the low Australian this year? Nope, put your hand down because you, my friend, are lying.
Jason Day and Adam Scott had disappointing weeks (for them) at this course. Day finished 2 over for the week and Scott 1 over, including an ugly 76 on Saturday. Australia has four wins so far on the PGA Tour but I would have bet everything on a top 10 finish from one of those two.
6. The old men: Your final top 10 for the 2014 Masters includes a 20-year-old and two 50-year-olds, neither of whom was Fred Couples.
Bernhard Langer and Miguel Angel Jimenez stole the senior show by posting dueling top 10 finishes. That Champions Tour is becoming a hell of a battle.
7. Rory's backdoor cover: The only three golfers who finished in the top 10 to post something in the 60s on Sunday were Rory McIlroy, Bubba Watson, and Bernhard Langer.
It feels strange to say this was McIlroy's best finish ever at Augusta but maybe that speaks to how far he's come on the grind front. Save his Friday 77 he was pretty solid. That one stinker of a round has been an issue, though. He's posted 77 or worse in each of the last five years.
8. We didn't miss Tiger: Really, maybe the general sports public did (ok, definitely did) but inside the golf world there were plenty of storylines to erase the Tiger absence.
If that was (or is) a fear going forward for this tournament, it shouldn't have been (or shouldn't be).
As for the other 40 tournaments, we can talk.
9. How many chances does Kuchar get? Matt Kuchar is 35 and will be 36 when the 2015 Masters starts. He's running out of time to close on his first major and you know this is the one he wants.
He finished with a 74 Sunday and his third top eight finish in the last three years. Still, there was something missing, and a tall, big-swinging lefty from Florida was wearing it.
10. Pinehurst looms: Now we turn to Phil Mickelson's bid for the career grand slam at Pinehurst. The 2014 US Open is just 60 days away. We will have a new superstar (Bubba), a new star (Spieth), and as always our favorite cigar-chomping, wine-guzzling Spanish badass on the planet.
It should be fun.
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