April 09, 2018

Masters Golf Tournament Recap 

Patrick Reed has often raised eyebrows with his brash statements over the years, but on Masters Sunday, he let his golf do the talking.

Despite late charges from the likes of Rickie Fowler and three-time major winner Jordan Spieth, Reed held his nerve to claim a one-shot victory at Augusta.

As surprising as the 27-year-old’s victory will be to many, Rory McIlroy’s nightmarish final round of 74 was arguably even more shocking.

The former world number one seemed perfectly poised to claim his fifth major title, and complete the modern-day grand slam in the process, after a superb 65 on Saturday.

Playing alongside Reed on Sunday, McIlroy seemed destined to claim his elusive green jacket, even more so after avoiding a potential disaster on the first hole – saving par from the right trees after a wayward drive, and striking a towering second shot to four feet on the par 5 second.

As everyone was soon reminded though, destiny doesn’t win golf tournaments. His missed eagle putt was one of many short misses throughout the day, and even his usual stellar driving and approach play seemed to succumb to the pressure.

Whether you put the Northern Irishman’s failings down to just a bad day at the office, or if there is a more underlying cause of not being able to handle the pressure, the fact remains he will leave Augusta with plenty of food for thought.

Namely, how was it that Spieth, a man with a similar major record to McIlroy and four years younger, gave Reed more of a scare coming from nine shots back on Sunday, when Rory himself was just one off the lead after two holes?

In some ways, it is easy to draw comparisons between last Sunday and McIlroy’s meltdown at the 2011 Masters - when he blew a four-shot 54-hole lead and carded a final round 80. But there are notable differences.

For one, seven years ago he was a relatively inexperienced 21-year-old looking for his first major title. For another, this year it was Reed, and not McIlroy, who entered Sunday with more to prove. From every angle, his performance is head scratching.

No one doubts the man’s talent, but as Rory’s major drought reaches its fourth year, American golf is riding a wave of major dominance it hasn’t experienced since the early 2000’s, when a certain Tiger Woods was at the height of his powers.

Speaking of Tiger, despite a disappointing T-32nd finish at Augusta, just seeing him walk the site of his first major triumph was a special moment - especially considering only six months ago he stated he may never play competitively again.

With Woods looking to add his name to a U.S. Ryder Cup team that is almost certain to include the likes of Spieth, Fowler, Reed, Justin Thomas and Dustin Johnson, McIlroy and the rest of the Europeans will have to be on top form to win back the trophy and avoid being the first European team to lose on home soil since 1993.

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