What a week Augusta gave us! The weather cooperated to provide fast, firm greens and all the pageantry that Augusta National promises every year.
The field too gave us a great show. In one of the most wide open Masters in years, a 20-year-old rookie could easily have won, but so could have any of several players in their fifties. Early on Sunday, it looked like youth would prevail, but it was 35-year-old Bubba Watson who took the honor. Watson made some minor history himself by becoming the fastest to his second jacket, winning it in just his second attempt after his initial win. Dare we now call him "Double Bubba."
Let's hit the Masters-ful links!
Hole #1: Mastering the Masters
Bubba Watson came alive late on the front nine and wore out a visibly frustrated Jordan Spieth (T2, with Jonas Blixt) on the back for a three-stroke victory and his second green jacket in three years. Great playing indeed, but we also loved seeing Golf's Most Interesting Man, Miguel Angel Jimenez (50 and 4th), Bernhard Langer (56 and T8), and Freddy Couples (54 and T20) keep the dream alive for Champions Tour-aged golfers everywhere. [Link]
Hole #2: Rory Loses by One… to a Marker
Jeff Knox, who holds the member course record at Augusta National, playing with Rory McIlroy as a non-competing marker on Saturday, bested the former world #1 by a stroke, 70-71. [Link]
Hole #3: Hanging with Hootie
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the annual Monday After the Masters stress-reliever in Myrtle Beach started in large part by Hootie and the Blowfish. The event has raised millions of dollars for children’s educational programs and the South Carolina junior golf program. [Link]
Hole #4: 20 Years of Change
Golf has evolved quite a bit in the 20 years since Tiger Woods last missed a Masters. (And you thought we'd get through an entire nine holes without mentioning His Striped-ness?) [Link]
Hole #5: Streelman Gets Points for Giveaway
When Kevin Streelman's parents couldn't make the Wednesday practice round and Par Three Contest, he turned to Twitter to award the badges to a worthy recipient. He sought out a junior golfer who had never been to Augusta. [Link]
Hole #6: Short Course Long on Memory
The Par Three Contest at the Masters is a great tradition. In recent years, it's the oldest players in the field and some of the youngest on the grounds that are the real stars. The children of players have become almost as much of the show as the greatest pairing in history: Palmer, Nicklaus, and Player. [Link]
Hole #7: Lumpy's Scripted Look
If you are like us, you couldn't care less what some apparel sponsor lays out for their golf stars for each day of the Masters. But Tim Herron, who wasn't in the field, and one of his sponsors got an audible laugh from us with this one. [Link]
Hole #8: Unbelievable
A Pennsylvania man made not one, but two holes-in-one in the same round while playing in Myrtle Beach on a buddies trip. We assume that his bar tab might have been a bit on the high side that day. [Link]
Hole #9: He Holds Course Records at Clubs He's Never Played
Long-haired, pot-bellied, cigar-smoking, with an attractive woman in the passenger seat of his Ferrari, he's the most interesting man in golf. We have to admit, he kind of makes us smile every time he's in contention. [Link]