The Masters starts on Thursday morning so I thought it would be sort of a catchy idea to write an article answering 84 questions about the 84th Masters.
It is a neat idea but I couldn’t think of 84 interesting questions so I just did 17.
And I think you’ll find at the end of this article; that was more than enough. It’s difficult to come up with interesting things to write about so how do so many writers keep churning out interesting articles daily? Answer- they don’t…but they keep on writing and apparently you keep on reading. I think most writers should only write about 5 paragraphs a week. Any more than that is narcissistic drivel. Anyway onto the 17 questions:
- What is the Masters? It’s only the most prestigious golf tournament in the world. You really should know this.
- Is Bryson Dechambeau too powerful for Augusta? Hopefully not because he will make a mockery of the game if this continues. Golf was a somewhat egalitarian sport where a guy like 5’4” Ian Woosnam could win on a long course like Augusta. It happened all the time where the little guy used his grit and panache to knock off the big bully like Corey Pavin again over Greg Norman at the 1995 U.S. Open at Shinnecock. If Bryson keeps on dominating these classic courses it will become just another sport for jacked-up studs. That’s no fun. WE have enough of those sports already. Have you seen the average NFL or NBA player? They are circus freaks. Not relatable to any normal person. Hopefully, the delicate touch needed on and around Augusta’s greens will negate some of this brute’s effectiveness. Nothing against Bryson. He’s a seemingly good guy who knows how to get an edge but his success can’t continue for the good of the game. Stand down, Bryson!
- Rumor has it he destroyed the course in a practice round? Yes, apparently he played with Sandy Lyle, and on the 530-yard par 5 15th Bryson hit a 9 iron into the green on his second shot. That is completely insane. There were many other examples of his length reducing Augusta to a pitch and putt. If he has his short game in order, he will demolish this course and the golf world will be the worse for it. Bryson could completely Biden the game of golf.
- What will the Masters be like with no fans? Experts are saying it will be quieter and less crowded…there will also be less pressure on the players especially on the closing holes Sunday. On the plus side, you will get to see more of the gorgeous surroundings on the course. This may be a test run for the Ryder Cup in 2024 at Bethpage Black. With the way NY golf fans handled themselves at the 2019 PGA they should lose their privileges. Actually, they should just move the Ryder Cup venue to a state with quieter people. Does Montana have any golf courses?
- Will Tiger win again this year? No chance. Tiger is the greatest golfer who ever lived. You can call Nicklaus the greatest champion with 18 majors but Tiger won against much better and deeper competition and has more PGA tour titles. He has earned the title of the greatest player. That said, he won’t win this year. He won last year with solid but unspectacular play. It was just all of his competitors folded down the stretch. That won’t happen again. The 2019 Masters was likely Tiger’s last taste of glory but what a way to go out.
- Who is flying under the radar and who is the dark horse? Isn’t that really just the same question? Maybe it’s not. Either way, Rory McIlroy and Brooks Koepka are flying under the radar and Patrick Cantlay is the dark horse.
- How is the course different in November than it is in April? What do I look like a greenskeeper? I would imagine more leaves on the ground and fewer flowers blooming. Other than that, it will be similar. The greens may not be quite as fast.
- Has anyone replaced Arnold Palmer to hit the ceremonial tee shots to kick off the tournament on Thursday morning? Yes, they just added Lee Elder to join Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player. It’s a classy move by Augusta National but you’re left to wonder if it’s just for this year or a permanent situation. The most likely eventual long-term replacement for Palmer would be Tom Watson or Ben Crenshaw. Both of those men have won the Masters twice.
- How did Jack Nicklaus’ Trump endorsement go over in the world of golf? The reactions were noticeably muted. Of course, Christine Brennan came out and insinuated Jack was a racist (naturally) but most writers were fairly silent. The widely-read Tour Confidential on Golf.com didn’t even make mention of it in their weekly wrap up which was surprising as it was obviously big news. The writers and blue checks in golf were in a tough spot- sure, they are mostly Leftists and should denounce Jack, but he is so big and so well-liked that they need to tread carefully. Or they could just not mention it at all which is what most did. I think a lot of the left-wing tendencies with sportswriters is basically about just making their life as easy as possible. The thought being “oh I get to write about sports for a living but I have to believe all this left-wing BS? Sure, I’ll do it- that’s a fair trade-off. Where do I sign up?” You do have to be wary of the true believers though. In this case, it was best to ignore it. No reason to piss off the many golfers who are hardcore conservatives. Interesting side note- Annika Sorenstam, arguably the greatest female golfer in the world, retweeted Jack’s endorsement.
- Do any notable players get Covid? Yes, Dustin Johnson got Covid. Of course, he did. Covid is a virus for the movers and shakers of the world so consider it a badge of honor Dustin. It means you’re out there mixing it up with people and not hiding in your basement. One of my greatest accomplishments in life was getting Covid twice. Dustin quarantined himself in a hotel room for 11 days and used the time to learn French and read all the works of Thoreau. I’m just kidding, he watched Netflix the entire time.
- Which is the greatest Masters ever? It’s very arguable but the smart set considers it to be the 1975 Masters where Jack Nicklaus held off strong charges from Tom Weiskopf and Johnny Miller to win by one stroke. Both Weiskopf and Miller had very makeable putts on 18 to tie for the lead but both missed them by inches. The tournament turned on the 16th hole where Jack made an absolutely incredible 40-foot putt up the slope while Weiskopf and Miller stood on the 16th It was a one in a million putt and it rattled Weiskopf for sure. He had just made a great putt for birdie on 15 and had the lead alone but had to watch Jack drop that bomb. He completely mishit his tee shot and was 80 feet short of the hole and 3-putted for bogey so he left 16 down by a stroke. Devastating. You can watch the entire final round on Youtube.
- What’s a funny Masters story? Well, thanks for asking. At the 1966 Masters, Arnold Palmer was playing with Billy Casper and had the tournament in hand. He subsequently fell apart on the back 9 and gave back seven shots to his rival Casper. On the 18th green as he was in the process of three-putting. He asked Casper if he should mark his 5-foot putt or putt it out…Casper said, “go ahead Arnie while you’re hot.” That’s absolutely savage. Arnold missed the putt and would lose to Casper in a playoff. This actually happened at the 1966 U.S. Open but it was too good not to include and I needed more stories for my list.
- Is Augusta the greatest golf course in the world? It used to be considered the greatest by many people but the latest Golf Magazine top 100 courses has it rated 6th and falling fast. Do you mean to tell me there are 5 better golf courses than Augusta National? I don’t want to live in a world where Augusta freakin National is considered the 6th best golf course! Have we become so jaded as a society to not realize it’s at least in the top 3?!
- Any other interesting stories about Augusta National that most people don’t know? Why yes there are in fact. In 1983 A man busted through the gates and took the Augusta National Pro shop hostage because he wanted to talk to President Reagan who was playing that day. He was angry his job got outsourced to Mexico. The man was ahead of his time! Reagan spoke to him briefly and every hostage escaped. He only did 3 years so maybe the judge thought he had a point.
- What is so special about attending the Masters? Last year was my first and the thing that is striking is how many workers they have on-site to make your visit special and easy. It seems like every kid from every high school in Augusta is there to help you out. The Masters also have plenty of money so they don’t really care what they make on concessions. You can get a beer for 3 bucks. On my first day on the course, I found out you can get 12 beers for 36 bucks.
- Who is the best player to never win a Masters? Tough call- probably the triumvirate of Lee Trevino, Johnny Miller, and Greg Norman. Trevino won every other major twice but never the Masters. Miller and Norman had multiple heartbreaks on Sunday at Augusta. Other great players without a green jacket- Rory, DJ, Ernie Els.
- Who could win this tournament?
- Bryson Dechambeau- hits it farther than anyone and will have pitching wedge into most par 4’s. The big question is whether his Domo Arigato Mr. Roboto putting stroke can work at Augusta. Let’s hope not. To reiterate, if he overpowers this course and wins by 5, golf has a big problem on its hands.
- Matt Wolfe- hits it a long way and can handle the pressure as he showed at the US Open
- Jon Rahm- briefly the number one player in the world and he’s destined to win a major. No surprise if it’s this one
- Dustin Johnson- doesn’t even have to play that well to win. Unbelievably talented. Not the hardest worker though as shown by his use of quarantine time.
- Rory McIlroy- nobody is expecting much from the 4-time major winner. A win at the Masters would complete the career grand slam. But he has demons of past failures and that’s never good at Augusta. Actually, that’s never good anywhere.
- Justin Thomas- has a knack for playing well in big moments and hitting clutch shots. Look for him to be in the hunt Sunday.
- Xander Schauffele- everyone expects him to win a major and soon. Was tied for the lead on the 15th hole last year but uninspired play down the stretch caused him to lose by a shot.
- Brooks Koepka- If he’s healthy, why wouldn’t he win? Huge hitter and comes up big in the clutch…except for last year when he handed Tiger the win with a water ball on the 12th hole and some missed putts on the last few holes. I wouldn’t expect that to happen again.
- Tyrell Hatton- the angry Englishman is playing well right now and he could become a household name with a win. Do you know any other Tyrells? That’s like the name Mookie. Not many of them. There are only 3 Mookies ever in the world (Betts, Blaylock, Wilson) and they are all famous athletes. If you name your kid Mookie, there is a 100% chance he will be a famous athlete.
- Louis Oosthuizen- Another dark horse. Plays well in majors and could’ve won here in 2012. The most likable golfer on the planet may pull it off this year and that would be pretty sweet.
- Patrick Reed and Patrick Cantlay- we’ll group these two for expediency as they both have about a 3% chance of winning.
Dan Redmond covers golf for Breitbart and can be found on Twitter @danfromdc