Four conclusions drawn after Sunday’s final round of the Masters

Apr 8, 2018; Augusta, GA, USA; Patrick Reed holds up the trophy after winning the Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports Rob Schumacher/USA TODAY Sports

Four conclusions drawn after Sunday’s final round of the Masters

PGA Tour

Four conclusions drawn after Sunday’s final round of the Masters

 

AUGUSTA, Ga. — A thrilling final round of the Masters involving some of the game’s top young stars answered some questions, reaffirmed perceptions and dismantled a few myths. Patrick Reed took home his first major and the green jacket. Here’s what else we learned: 

Rickie Fowler stood out in his orange Sunday at the Masters. (Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports)

Rickie Fowler stood out in his orange Sunday at the Masters. (Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports)

4. Rickie Fowler can close

While he didn’t win the Masters, Fowler’s closing weekend 65-67 should quiet the critics who look past his 2015 Players performance and brand him unable to seal the deal. The final-round 67, with a second shot at 17 just inches from having a short birdie putt and an 18th hole birdie, gives Fowler an unforgettable week.

“I am ready to go win a major, but this was kind of the first major week that I understood that and known that and felt that,” Fowler said. “I would say previously, still feeling the nerves and dealing with, you know, tough rounds and things not going your way, but I think the big round for me was yesterday.”  

Fowler said nothing felt right and yet a 65 appeared beside his name. 

“I felt like I had to just really stick to my game plan and kind of fight through a few times where I may not have felt comfortable and just trying to gut it out, and obviously you could see, with a 65, I was very pleased with that,” he said.

Fowler’s dejected voice suggests he leaves Augusta heartbroken but also more confident than ever as he heads to one of his favorite golf courses.

“I’m ready to go. So I’m really looking forward to this year and the three majors that are left.  You know, Shinnecock is one of my favorite golf courses in the U.S.,” he said.


Jordan Spieth celebrates making the green on the 12th hole during the fourth round at the Masters golf tournament Sunday, April 8, 2018, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Jordan Spieth celebrates making the green on 12. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

3. Jordan Spieth exorcises his 12th-hole demons

The Spieth clan knew early on that Jordan was in a special place heading into Sunday’s final round. What happened next — another 18th hole nightmare — cost him a chance at a course-record-tying 63 or, considering the round Spieth had pieced together, a 62 and a playoff spot with Patrick Reed. 

“What we did on 12 today was really cool,” Spieth said. “To play a disciplined shot, probably the most pressure‑packed shot I’ve ever hit, again, I had no idea where I stood, but still the Sunday pin at Augusta and I know what I’ve done, and my history there, to stand in that kind of pressure and hit the shot to the safe zone to knock that putt in was massive for me going forward.  And in general this round was fantastic.”

Spieth’s tee shot at the 18th was listed as having traveled 177 yards after catching a tiny limb of the towering pine to the left. The tough break, combined with a dreadful pull in Round 1, leaves the finishing hole as the only unanswered question for Spieth whose record at the Masters is remarkable: T-2, 1, T-2, T-11, 3.


Rory McIlroy hits from the pine straw on the 1st hole. (Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports)

Rory McIlroy hits from the pine straw on the 1st hole. (Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports)

2. Rory McIlroy reverted to Augusta National (putting) form

A disappointing final round for McIlroy still should not discount the strength of his showing. But McIlroy’s final-round 74 demonstrated signs of his previous struggles with Augusta National’s greens, where he’d averaged 29.9 putts per round in his nine previous appearances. After three 2018 rounds, McIlroy was averaging 26.3 putts per round.

Sunday McIlroy hit 31 putts but chalked up his issues to poor placement of his approach shots.

“I was trying to hit good shots and good putts and any time I felt like I hit a decent shot, I either left myself on the wrong side of the pin or gave myself a tricky one behind the hill,” he said. “And then when I did get some opportunities I didn’t take advantage of them.  Yeah, tough day, but I’ll be back.  And hopefully I’ll be better.” 


Apr 8, 2018; Augusta, GA, USA; Rickie Fowler (left) greets Jon Rahm on the 18th green during the final round of the Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports

Rickie Fowler (left) greets Jon Rahm on the 18th green during after Sunday’s final round. (Michael Madrid/USA TODAY Sports)

1. Jon Rahm’s second Masters is almost epic

In his 2017 debut, Rahm struggled off the tee, did not hit the ball particularly long and put on a mediocre putting performance to finish T-27.

He turned up at Augusta well rested but having seemingly peaked on the West Coast in January. He gave a sensational effort in all respects. Rahm’s downfall was similar to the plight of many legends: the danger-laden back-nine par-5s. 

“The only down I would say is the second shot on 15,” Rahm said. “You know, it’s sad, it’s sad too, because I played so good the last three days and that one shot, one shot where I feel like I made a perfect swing and wound up in the water.  It’s just hurtful.  It’s actually two of them, 13 yesterday and today on 15.”

Rahm’s temper remained mostly in check until the shot at 15 and what he thought was a poor tee shot at the par-3 16th. 

“I played good golf, gave myself plenty of opportunities,” he said. “I wish I would have made a couple more putts, but it is what it is, it’s hard to win a major championship.”

Latest

More Golfweek
Home