Masters live up to expectations

Time stands still at Augusta. That’s what happened during the final round of the Masters on Sunday afternoon, April 8.

Rickie Fowler, in his bright orange pants and matching hat, strode down to the 18 green to thunderous cheering and applause. The massive members of the crowd were on all their feet, hoping just to get a glance of what could be an historic moment at the Masters. Fowler sank the birdie putt to go within one stroke of the lead, but Patrick Reed, the leader, was able to drop the par putt to remain atop the leaderboard, and Reed was awarded the coveted green jacket, but the atmosphere of one small chance putt to force a playoff round was all any new golf fan needed to know to get hooked on the Master’s aura. The most prominent tournament in golf was nothing short of spectacular; here’s why.

Tiger Woods was the headliner coming into the tournament and the reason many ex-fans were flocking back to the sport. Perhaps the greatest of all time, people were excited to see Tiger’s magic in action ahead of the most magnificent tournament in golf. The headline of “Tiger’s Back” was plastered all over the Internet. He’s golf’s most exciting performer, the Michael Jordan of golf and ESPN’s most dominant athlete over the past 20 years. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a fairytale ending to Tiger’s Master’s hopes. Tiger never had the stuff to contend with the stellar play of Reed, Fowler, Spieth and McIlroy. He didn’t play terribly, but he made one crucial mistake: he succumbed to the terrors of the course.

The course played Tiger, not vice versa. Tiger would’ve probably contended if it hadn’t have been for the hazards laid all around the most difficult course in golf. However, it wasn’t all bad. I’m one you would call a Tiger believer. I know he’ll never be the Tiger of old, but I do know he could return to captivate the golf world once again.

The rest of the weekend was filled with excellent golf and the new guard. Reed, an arrogant personality in a sport with too few personalities, played other-worldly from day one. He drove the ball far; he landed on the greens every time he needed to and sank his putts. Whether they were from two feet or 20, Reed was consistent all weekend on the greens. His best performance was when he needed it most.

Rory McIlroy had a rough Sunday, unlike Reed. He came in with the lead but fell off early in the round. He wasn’t hitting every shot, but Reed was.

And so was Spieth. He was one stroke away from tying the course record for lowest single round score. To make matters worse, he also was one shot away from taking the first spot on the leaderboard. Then there was Rickie Fowler. My personal favorite, Fowler made a massive charge against Reed in the final round. While Reed was holding his own, Fowler was racing Spieth for the position to fight Reed for the top spot.

Fowler would eventually win the initial battle against Spieth, but not the war against the leader. Fowler led a charge on the back nine but finally ran out of time. The front nine was filled with too little birdies and too many pars. One or two fewer strokes would’ve made for an even more incredible finish to the tournament.

The walk to the 18th green was one of the most captivating things to take place in 2018 sports, but, unfortunately, it wasn’t enough. Reed’s ability to hold the lead was the difference in the end, forcing the hands of Fowler and Spieth. The greatest tournament in golf was no disappointment this year. Hopefully, it will continue the streak for years to come.

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