In praise of a great game April 13 2016
Well the 2016 Masters definitely delivered more than anyone could possibly expected when Jordan Speith was walking to the 10th tee. I reckon about half of the audience in the UK decided that they could safely turn in. It even caught some very famous golf personalities out as they confessed the next day. While I wouldn't wish collapses on any golfer the sport needed this. We needed to see just how hard and cruel this game can be. Maybe a few of us can accept that double bogey finish in the club championship with a bit more understanding now? Maybe we can all see just how hard it is to play well for 72 holes in these events.
That's not to say that the signs weren't there. Speith had struggled to hit the ball well all week. Truthfully no one else in golf could have competed as he did if they were hitting it like that. All credit to him - he is a fighter and were it not for one very poor swing - we would have a Masters champion who had played well below his level. Speith will be back and lets not forget that while Nicklaus won 18 majors he also tasted a huge number of near misses, Speith is a great player and he will bounce back from this stronger than ever.
One little thing though. What was his caddie doing? When they faced that wedge why oh why isn't the caddie slowing Speith down and making him think more about the drop. Bones nor Fluff would have allowed their charges to make such a silly choice. It is a small point though as you can hardly fault them as a team until then. It seemed to me that they both showed their youth in that one moment.
But wasn't youth shining through elsewhere? Willett rode his luck and frankly believed he could and should have a proper go. His tee shot on 16 was everything that Speith's duff wasn't. It said I want to try for this. I want to see how close I can get to winning this thing. To be fair Westwood was having a crack too but just didn't quite pull it off.
If every major is played by men trying to win and accepting what happens the TV ratings and participation in this game will rocket. And that's what this result tells the other players. If they are five back at the start of play - have a go. It could be your day. I have always felt that players like Johnson, McIlroy, Day, Mickelson and Watson go all out but I am not so sure the rest of the fields do and maybe now they will.
For the rest of us its back to normal golf. Golf for mere mortals where tops and fats happen and leads are sometimes thrown away over the last 6 holes instead of these boring clinical exhibitions of steely nerves
oh wait a minute