Larry Canning: The Masters never gets old

Larry CanningBy Larry Canning.

IT’S probably old news by now but the Masters is still fresh for me and I’d love to touch on some remarkable accomplishments.

I mean, there was a worthy winner in Scotty Scheffler, Cam Smith came close again, Rory is back in the Major mix and Tiger Woods is back on the tee, but I’d like to recall a couple of things that might have somewhat flown under the radar.

Six Aussies hit off on Thursday and five made it through to Sunday. Lucas Herbert only missed the cut through some “Augusta” inexperience and a range basket full of putts. Mind you, so did Jordan Spieth, Brooks Keopka, Xander Schauffele and Bryson DeChambeau. I really dislike some current golf cliché’s including the term “trending” but a graph of Lucas’s progress over last couple of years would be off the chart up the wall and halfway across the ceiling. He’ll be fine.

Adam Scott’s heir apparent Min Woo Lee began the final round way back in 26th place at plus 4. A couple of hours later after equalling the 86-year record of 30 on the front nine, the audaciously talented West Aussie found himself in a tie for 4th with just 9 to play.

Again experience was the only thing preventing Min Woo from featuring on the leaders board come the close of play when Jim Nantz makes us all bawl our eyes out but the signs are up in neon lights, this young bloke is going to do something very special very soon. What also got my eye was in Min Woo’s first Masters, where the greens are ludicrously sloped and experience means so much, the Aussie was second only to Justin Thomas in putting stats for the week. The kid is a quick learner! He may need to get some help with making the cut rules though.

In an interview Friday afternoon, Lee said he thought the cut line was anyone within 10 shots of the lead. He played the last few holes thinking he had to do something special to make it. In reality there is no 10 shot rule at all. There used to be but there was also top 50 – whichever one you needed to make it. It reminded me of a conversation I heard Minny have with his caddy at the VIC Open at 13th Beach a few years ago. He’d pulled his tee shot on a par five into a dodgy lie in the rough. This was the conversation, Min: “I think I can get there but I’m not sure I can get a 3 wood out of this lie?” Caddy: “Neither do I… you don’t have a 3 wood!”  

We all know what happened with Cam Smith on the treacherous 12 hole where his chances of winning sank to the bottom of Raes Creek – in his words, “The worst shot I hit all week at the worst time”. What we, as in Golf Chanel’s front men Brandel Chamblee and Paul McGinley didn’t realise was the conversation between Cam and his caddy Sam Pinfold, which took place before that shot. McGinley and Chamblee criticised the shot, suggesting he should not have aimed straight at the dangerous flag and instead gone for the centre of the green.

Min Woo Lee

We’ve all heard players and commentators say the smartest place to aim on this tiny green is straight over the front trap. This guards against your ball being hit by the infamous swirling winds and knocking the ball down short and into the H2O. Getting your pill up and down from the sand is considerably easier than from 20 feet of water.

“You’ve got your target?” asked Pinfold.

“I’m going at the right side of the TV tower” replied Smith.

“I love it”

The right side of the TV tower is right over the centre of the front trap. The line every good player seems to take. The lads from Golf Chanel are good value and great talkers but maybe they need to listen a little better.

I know it was the week before but definitely worth mentioning was Aussie Matt Jones running second in the Valero Texas Open by a mere 2 shots. Had he had won he would have been the 7th Aussie invited to the Masters. Jones world ranking is now 61 and it appears will have starts in the remaining 3 majors beginning with the PGA Championship in a couple of weeks.

That reminds me, how did the Masters become a major anyway and why is it so hard to receive an invite? Given I’m late yet again to submit my column maybe that’s an issue for another deadline day?      

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