By Larry Canning
I DON’T know about you, but as far as Masters tournaments go, I reckon that’s about as weird as it gets. And I guess entertaining in a strange twisted sought of way; If you like watching The Bathurst 1000 in case some poor bloke drives flips his car over an unsuspecting roo or you can’t stand the thought of missing the latest beauty pageant for fear of not catching the host attempting to apologise to an excited teenage model in front of millions of TV viewers, just after he’s realised he had whacked the crown on the wrong noggin.
It began on the very first green when Ernie Els forgot he wasn’t playing stableford. I’ve seen a lot of short putts missed in my day, usually by me, but all on one green like that? Never!
It wasn’t as if The Big Easy was having a bad day and just wanted to get off the course… he still had 71 holes to go. Well 35 anyway. You know you’ve had a lot of putts when you have to rely on the nearest official to count them up for you. The poor bloke clearly has the yips and his magnificent career will probably be cut short by that stupid decision handed down by the Royal and Arrogant Golf Club of St Andrews.
I reckon we should place all the officials responsible in a tinny
Remember the banning of anyone who is physically forced to use the long putter, which these blokes decided was in the “best interest of the game”? I reckon we should place all the officials responsible in a tinny, float it out to the edge of Niagara Falls and ask them what they think of their “No Anchoring Rule” now.
I also struggled to watch Jason Day during his first round, get it 5 under in pursuit of his great rival Jordan Spieth only to lose his concentration and step over that finest of lines that changes Augusta National from a thing of absolute beauty to just plain bloody nasty. A bit like when I arrived home from the club a bit late and a fraction too happy one night, to find Sandra standing at the door with an anniversary present. I always manage to fight my way back though and it was great to see Jason do the same over the next two days.
Speaking of extreme adverse conditions, what about Billy Horschel’s experience on Saturdays third round?
Horschel successfully negotiated the water hazard on the par five 15th hole with a ripping long iron second shot which trickled just over the back left of the green in good position to make a birdie. The resulting chip finished a couple of meters past the hole leaving himself a rare prospect at Augusta; a straight uphill putt for a precious “bird”.
That was until it was his turn to putt and he replaced his ball after marking it. He and his loyal caddy were forced to watch as a strong gust of wind began moving his ball slowly towards the very same water hazard he had defeated with a brilliant second shot just minutes earlier. Sure enough, hovering over it coin in hand, waiting for it to stop, he could only watch as it trickled all the way back into the evil abyss. I’m not sure I’m in a good position to question a rule of golf in this particular column, but could this be another one in need of review?… Just saying.
Finally, watching the world’s best golfing advertisement, Jordan Spieth, going through that hell which was the 12 hole on Sunday was nothing short of excruciating. His tee shot was nothing we haven’t seen before on this scary little hole where the margin for error is about as broad as the smile on Sandra’s face that fateful night. The only thing more agonizing was watching Spieth going through the ritual of personally fitting the green jacket over Danny Willet’s shoulders.
As always, Jordan was classy and respectful but the look on his face wasn’t exactly one of jubilation for his colleague’s victory.
There is talk of the damage Jordan Spieth’s confidence will take as a result of this collapse but I have no doubt he will use his frustration and disappointment to make sure it never happens again. On the other side, if you’ve been watching Danny Willet’s career graph in Europe, it’s no real surprise he is now a major Champ.
As for poor old Ernie, I think he’d be the first bloke I’d call on to round up those R&A dudes and buy that tinny.