I really geek out this weekend, the course is so beautiful to watch, the golf is spectacular and the putting looks absolutely mind boggling to figure out. There is so much respect, culture and history behind this tournament and it's so evident how much the players cherish each hole that they get to partake in during these 4 days. Someone is going to be wearing the Green Jacket Sunday evening - but who will it be?
I wanted to write about some of the exciting things that have made the 2017 Masters so much fun in the last 36 hours of play:
1. Charley Hoffmans shooting a 65 in Round 1 despite some very dreary conditions
2. Dustin Johnson getting hurt, then practicing at Augusta then pulling out at the last minute, talk about a buster of so many Masters picks. I respect him for making the smart long term selection but I imagine there are some bereft people who picked him and hoped he'd be able to fight through it.
3. Rory knocking one off the pin to close out his Friday round, talk about a perfect shot gone wrong.
4. Seeing some star names in the top 10 Jordan Spieth, Sergio Garcia, Phil Mickelson and Fred Couples! Even better is seeing some of the stars like Rory, Matt, and Hideki knocking them down just behind them!
5. Much like any sport, the surprise struggles: Bubba Watson, Patrick Reed, Angel Cabrera (tends to shine here), Henrik Stenson and Danny Willett. I know for some they can say they knew these names would struggle based on 2017 results thus far but given all of their familiarity with the course and overall strong pedigree, I had assumed they could be contending down the stretch on Sunday.
6. Thomas Pieters, he had 6 birdies, 2 bogeys and 2 double bogeys in round 1...for a net of on par!
7. On the flip side Soren Kjedlsen had 2 birdies and 2 bogeys in round 1...for a net of on par! It doesn't matter if you are consistent or riding some amazing shots with some rough ones, the result is the same.
8. The player stats:
a. Justin Rose dominating in Greens in Regulation and Putting
b. Steve Stricker among the most accurate drivers
c. Jason Day is leading the group in driving distance with drives just shy of 300 yards.
9. The course stats:
a. 5 Eagles on hole 2 (Pink Dogwood -Par 5) and 3 Eagles on hole 13 (Azalea - Par 5) so far
b. 6 scores above Double Bogey on hole 1 (Tea Olive -Par 4) and 4 on both hole 12 and 15 (Golden Bell and FireThorn; Par 3 and 5)
10. Sergio Garcia playing a provisional on the 10th hole and causing confusion on whether he had a bogey or a triple-bogey.
Among my selections so far:
Rickie Fowler - Still competing and I think he could be in the final group on Sunday.
Brandt Snedeker - He was looking great after round 1 with a +3 but 5 bogeys so far today and he's likely going to miss the cut.
Jordan Spieth - The rough Quadruple Bogey on hole 15 knocked him down and he's fighting strong with an even score. He just needs to make the cut and focus on living to fight another day.
Jon Rahm - This guy is going to be a top 5 golfer this year. That simple.
Tyrell Hatton - Oof. This one hurts and it happens. He doesn't know the course well and it shows. He has been dominant in each PGA tour event this year but there is a reason that Augusta is built to be respected.