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People are going to try to convince you that this year’s Masters Tournament ranks in the top five of all-time. They’re going to push some Disney-story narrative about happy endings and overcoming adversity. Video crews across major networks are already poring over Sergio’s last four days, deciding what three shots are going to be added to the playback of Masters highlights when next year’s tournament rolls around. You’re going to hear nostalgic prophecies of Arnie and Seve reflecting on the final round while sipping half and halfs in that great clubhouse in the sky.
Don’t buy into all that shit. When the SportsCenter special segment tries to compare 2017 Sergio to 1997 Tiger, that’s fake news. If you hear Brandel Chamblee using analogies from the latest book he’s peddling to ask if Sergio’s performance was all-time, tune him out. That’s just the crooked media lying to you. Stay woke. This Masters sucked. It didn’t come close to the hype. First, we got thunderstorms that canceled most of the week’s pre-tournament festivities. Then the best golfer in the field has to withdraw after suffering the whitest dad injury in the history of white dad injuries. You’d think this would motivate the rest of the guys to get hungry and go get that jacket, but no. Of the World Top 10, only half shot under par for the week.
Which brings me to what will surely be the most unpopular opinion of this piece. Sunday’s golf wasn’t good. Yes, there were really good individual elements of it. Kuchar’s ace coupled with shooting the low round for the day, Pieters scaring the leaders with a late birdie run, Schwartzel and Casey fighting into the top ten. Each of those were great in their own right. But as a whole, Sunday’s round left a lot to be desired from the final pairings. Couples disappeared, which sucks but isn’t unheard of from a 57-year-old with decades of back problems. Mickelson’s insistence of relevancy turned out to just be FIGJAM chatter. In a stunning display of ejection, Rickie and Jordan hurled themselves out of contention by Amen Corner.
And, despite what every announcer with a medium is going to insist, Justin and Sergio’s last 18 holes was not two fighters trading blows. It was more like watching simultaneous skyscraper implosions and wondering which one is going to fall first. Rose should have closed Sergio out by 15, but he couldn’t put an iron close enough to make a birdie putt fall. Sergio should have been five strokes ahead stepping out of Amen Corner, but his mini meltdowns gave Justin the momentum he needed to stay in contention.
Sunday’s round was like watching Will Ferrell and Sacha Baron Cohen run across the finish line at the end of Talladega Nights. The final pairing wasn’t a hunt for victory so much as it was a race to defeat. Neither player possessed the ability to clutch up and win whenever the other faltered. The miraculous comebacks that’ll be referenced for the next eternity weren’t miracles as much as they were the other player’s mediocre competitive ability keeping the faltering player in contention. I mean, are we really going to sit here and lobby that a Masters that first goes to a playoff because neither competitor could sink birdie putts from less than twenty feet, and is then over after the first tee shot in the playoff smashes into the woods is all-time?
Plenty of people will insist the greatness of this year’s Masters. They’ll give a thousand irrelevant reasons why it should go down as one of the best and accost anyone who suggests it was anything less than story booked. But when you strip away the narratives and all you’re left with is golf, you find yourself less than satisfied. Yeah, we got a champion this year who won the tournament in his 73rd major start, on what would have been the 60th birthday of his most beloved golfing countryman, but he did it with a performance that was more of a salvage than a victory. Sergio will be the hero, but it’ll be because he finally learned to coast the plane into the Hudson instead of nose diving into the runway..
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