They say that green is the colour of envy and there are a lot of envious professional golfers who covert a green jacket. There is talk of the past champions walking a little taller around Augusta National. Neither Scottie Scheffler or Cameron Smith have a green jacket or have won a major in their brief golfing careers. Tiger has five of course. Rory doesn’t have one. The 2022 leaderboard on Sunday at the Masters contained no past champions in contention to win. Some are talking about a changing of the guard at the pointy end of tournament golf.
Tiger on Sunday at the Masters
They say that putting is the first thing to go when you haven’t played much golf in a while. Watching Tiger Woods on the Augusta National greens on Sunday this was shown to be never truer. Tiger was like that crazed runner in the Olympic marathon staggering toward the finishing line. His 13 over total at the Masters was confirmation that golf is a tough game.
Tiger has, perhaps, passed into that category himself now. It was a tremendous effort to play for four days in a major championship. Was he ready? Probably not, but the fans and the golf media loved it just the same.
Aussies at the Masters
Australians have a tradition of getting up early to watch the final round of the Masters on their TVs. Today, they have hope in their hearts that Cam Smith will do them proud. Adam Scott finished at 14 over. The lone Aussie past champion did not have his finest outing at the Masters. Young Australian Cameron Davis finished at 12 over par in his first Masters. Min Woo Lee started his final round really well getting it to 4 under on the day but dropped shots midway and finished at 2 over to register a fine first Masters result overall. Marc Leishman was never in contention and finished at 5 over. Cameron Smith donned his dusty Queensland pink shirt, which has become his Sunday best. It is a sunny day, and the greens are running faster at Augusta.
Sunday Coverage of the Masters
Justin Thomas was wearing the colours of the Ukrainian flag, whether this was merely a fashionable coincidence or a political statement I don’t know.
Rory McIlroy made a charge with a slew of birdies to get it to 6 under par. Sunday at the Masters is alive with roars from the fans and an electric atmosphere. It all comes down to making putts amid the madness of golf’s festive Sunday within the green cathedral.
Cameron Smith birdies the first two holes to shrink the lead from 3 to 1. Scottie Scheffler pitches in on the third hole after leaving his second shot well short of the steeply placed green. Smith likewise left his second recovery shot short and a bogey results to restore Scheffler’s lead to 3. After going at the hole and leaving it short in the bunker on the 4th hole Cam Smith bogeys the hole. Scheffler after an errant tee shot recovers and pars the hole, the lead is now 4. A round of golf is a marathon not a sprint, however, and especially in the final round of the Masters it is usually the last man standing. Remember it doesn’t really start until the back nine on Sunday.
Smith birdies 7 to get it to 7 under but Scheffler also birdies to move to 11 under. This a cauldron, this final round at a major championship. Who will buckle? Who will falter down the stretch? Cam Smith finished the front half 1 under but Scheffler has shot 2 under over this nine. The lead remains 4 heading into the hallowed back nine. This is it folks buckle up and don’t miss a minute.
McIlroy is the hot player on the course, with the fans roaring for Rory. Smith puts his tee shot on ten into the foliage and is forced to chop it out. Scheffler hasn’t played great from tee to green, but his scrambling has been top shelf. Aussie viewers would be somewhat crest fallen at the halfway mark, but it is all about the back nine. Cam Smith hits a delightful third shot into the 10th green. Scheffler bogeys 10. Can Cam make his par putt? No, his putt broke way more than he thought. Aussies at home splutter into their cups of tea in disappointment. Another chance missed to reduce this lead.
Gasps, roars, and collective groans Augusta National is alive with sympathetic sounds from the many fans on-course. Meanwhile, the hopes of a nation, on the other side of the globe, rest on the slight shoulders of an unlikely looking hero, but a darn fine fellow just the same. Smith is an unassuming young person with an authenticity about him. Scheffler likewise is no ego driven bristling bull and admits to playing board games with his wife to while away the hours in-between rounds of golf. This is the clash of golf’s nice guys at the sharpened pinnacle of the game. Smith birdies the 11th hole! The fans roar in response enjoying his success. Scheffler has a putt for par, which he makes. The lead is 3.
Crowd participation is very big on Sunday at the Masters. The fans desperately want golf play that they can cheer for. This is a big-ticket event, possibly the biggest on the golfing calendar bucket list. Smith dunks his golf ball on 12. Amen corner claims another victim right after his birdie. I call it post-birdie-syndrome (PBS).
Smith produces a poor shot from the drop zone and things are looking decidedly queasy. Perceived pressure mounts like gravity on recently returned astronauts. Scheffler makes another scrambling par to add insult to injury. Smith triple bogeys 12 to shut the gate on the hopes of a nation. A few deep breaths and time to, perhaps, think of other things like my real life.
Watching the wheels fall off on Cam Smith’s Sunday at the Masters.
The back nine at Augusta is like a roller coaster ride that can chew you up and spit out bitter disappointment. Friedrich Nietzsche is famous for writing that whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. We can only hope that Cam Smith can take a leaf out of Nietzsche’s book.
Rory McIlroy birdies his last hole out of the greenside bunker to shoot 64 and get it to 7 under. This puts Rory into contention to possibly win the Masters. The crowds go ballistic, and it echoes around the course on Sunday at the Masters. Scheffler pars the 13th to remain at 10 under. Collin Morikawa matches McIlroy’s bunker birdie to go to 4 under for the tournament. It’s raining birdies on the 18th, which is usually a parsimonious hole to say the least. Fans are up on their feet cheering like nobody’s business.
Will Zalatoris shot a 67 to finish at 3 under in a fine final round display.
Tiger Woods has declared that he will play in the Open at St Andrews in July. He has obviously got the golfing bug back in his system at the major level.
Watching Cam Smith, it reminds me what a cruel mistress the game of golf can be. The Masters on the final day compounds what happens out there via the Greek chorus of the fans. To stand apart from the on-course ambience seems impossible. A Zen monk would struggle to deny the exaggerated perception of events on the magnified golfing arena happening around him or her. When they say golf can test your mettle these words are a poor reflection of what that experience can really feel like. Smith bogeys 14 and Scheffler birdies to go 11 under par. Smith’s situation tells a familiar story in that you cannot go chasing birdies on Sunday at the Masters. It is a beautiful but very treacherous track, and it eats up errant and unlucky shots like a hungry giant.
The pristine beauty of Augusta National belies the carnage happening to scorecards throughout the field. Tour golfers are giving it their best shot. Best not to think about the score sometimes, but easier said than done. Cam Smith hits a towering seven wood to hit the green on 15 for two. Scheffler matches it with an iron that just rolls off the green. Scheffler leads McIlroy by 4 at this point in time. Smith and Scheffler birdie 15. Scheffler leads Rory by 5. Cam Smith fights back with birdie on 16 to get it to 5 under. Both Scheffler and Smith par 17. Scottie will go to the the 18th tee with a 5 shot lead. Time to smell the flowers and what a great course to do that on. Holly beckons like Christmas day for Scheffler. Smith is in equal third spot with Shane Lowry on the leaderboard. Cameron Smith plays 18 well for a par to shoot 73 on the final day at the Masters. Scottie Scheffler franks his form as the best golfer on the planet to win the Masters by 3 strokes, shooting a Sunday 71. He four putts the final green to show that he is merely human after all. What a day at the Masters. What a celebration of all things golf!