By KYLE CLARKE
Once a year, the best golfers on earth gather in Augusta, Georgia to compete in the most coveted golf tournament of our time. Augusta National is one of the most punishing golf courses in the United States, with greens faster than lightning and fairways that seem to get narrower every year. This course, can bring the best out of few, and worst out of many.
This year however, seems to have more eyes than ever on the Masters. Is it because of golfs upcoming prodigies like Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth and Rory Mcllroy. Or perhaps its due to the familiar faces, that are taking their last shot for that notorious green jacket.
One face in particular, that has captivated the media’s attention, is Tiger Woods. His apparent “comeback” has media heads salivating at the very sight of him holding a club. Since his departure from golf (due to his ongoing back injury & foot problems) he has made multiple attempts at a return to golf, and has sparked the question every time “is he back?” This question does not however refer to him being able to participate on the PGA tour again but refers to him being able to dominate the golfing world like he once did.
Having won 14 major tournaments, (2nd all-time) right behind Jack Nicklaus, it’s no wonder people are pandering for even the slightest glimpse of the “old” Tiger to return. But these unreasonably high expectations have left many fans disappointed time after time. And with his recent 2nd place finish at the Valspar Championship, it got fans even more excited at the thought of a Masters win for Tiger. Tiger Woods was once even the favorite to win the Masters this year, in front of much more capable and recently successful golfers.
These incredibly high expectations set by the media, have once again left fans depressed and saddened, with Tiger finishing tied for 26th and 1 over par. After playing Saturday, Tiger said “I just haven’t gotten it done” when referring to the way he’s been swinging of late. He also added, “It’s been scratchy this week. My swing’s just off with my irons just at the wrong time.”
While Tiger has been mainly absent in this Masters, the younger upcoming players have been dominating the field, with Patrick Reed (-14), Rory Mcllroy (-11) and Rickie Fowler (-9) in the top 3 going into Sundays play. Patrick Reed as it stands now, is going for history at the Masters. Reed has now shot 3 consecutive below 70 rounds and is heading for his 4th, which has never been done in Masters history. Not even Jack Nicklaus or Tiger Woods have accomplished a feat like that, with their combined ten Masters wins.
Last year’s Masters winner Sergio Garcia, didn’t even make the cut this year, after posting an astronomical 13 on a par-5. That score, ties a Masters record for the highest score on any hole. This high score was mainly due to him hitting the ball in the water 5 times in a row on the 15th hole, which threw him out of contention for a repeat of last year’s Masters win. He will however, have to stay for the end of tournament festivities and present this year’s Masters winner with his green jacket, due to him being the 2017 Masters winner.
No matter who comes out on top in this year’s Masters tournament, we are seeing the future faces of golf take center stage in a dominating fashion. And while we may never see the likes of Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson dominate to the level they once did, we can look forward to seeing what’s in store for the eventual icons of golf.