AUGUSTA | The game is over, nothing is going right. The speculations are over and a chapter in the history of this 86and edition of the Masters Tournament is already written. Prowling the Augusta National since Sunday, Tiger Woods is getting all the attention. Leap, won’t leap? The next four days will complete the 2022 manuscript.
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At 46, the Tiger can surprise at any time. Who doesn’t remember the spectacular final round in 2019 where he roared like a master to win his 15and major career title, the first from behind?
Although he believes he can win again, the competition will be fierce over the next four days.
All the spotlight on the phenomenon that has made a return to the game since its terrible accident in February 2021 helps to take the pressure off the big guns.
Because Tiger literally sucks all the energy from the “bosses” on the course and from the media around the world.
Many are eyeing a first coronation in the mecca of golf. All heavyweights are present.
With the exception of three-time champion Phil Mickelson who is persona non grata for weeks due to his escapades linked to the professional league financed by the Saudis and which took a step back from the sport, 24 of the 25 best golfers in the world appear in this plateau with 91 participants.
Of the lot, Rory McIlroy has been trying since 2010 to put his paw on this green jacket. In 2011, he led the first 54 holes until a disastrous final round of 80 (+8).
The Northern Irishman is still looking to complete his Grand Slam. All that’s missing is the Masters alongside his American Open (2011), British Open (2014) and PGA of America Championship (2012 and 2014) titles.
He has been waiting for it for eight years after seeing it slip through his hands again in a top duel against Patrick Reed in 2018.
Rory doesn’t care as much as before. That obsessive quest faded as the 32-year-old, now dad’s, priorities changed.
“Now I have less pressure. My best result on this course came on my first opportunity to complete this Grand Slam in 2015, he recalled of his fourth place.
“I had given everything and it was not enough against Jordan who had been sensational. The success of the Grand Slam remains important to me, but I no longer see it with the same eye. I want to give myself a chance to win this tournament. It is enough to execute the plan at the right time, to be patient and disciplined. I think that’s the recipe on this course. »
In another vein, it was the return of the traditional par 3 competition, this afternoon, on the small course of the National.
A moment to decompress and escape in a family spirit and in a good mood. After two years of absence due to the editions behind closed doors in 2020 and with reduced spectators in 2021, we saw the big stars in the company of their spouse and their children.
They broke hearts by walking around the four corners of the course with their white cadet uniform in the name of their father. Many, children and toddlers, even took the opportunity to jump in and earn applause.
On the score sheet, two names stood out from the 68 registered before the rain and thunderstorms came to spoil both the atmosphere and the afternoon.
Canadians Mike Weir and Mackenzie Hughes finished first before competition was called off. Each at -4 after nine holes, they were one stroke ahead of Larry Mize, Kevin Na and Cameron Davis who were also able to finish their course before the stoppage of play.
Luckily, since if the event had been completed, Hughes and Weir’s carrots were cooked. None of the winners of this contest managed to win the Masters afterwards. The famous curse.
But the 31-year-old Canadian was especially pleased to have kept his children dry, those who were more interested in the balls rolling towards the ponds.
“That was my top priority. The kids, not the ball, had to stay on the grass, he joked. This is my third time here and this is the first time I can participate in this competition. It’s nice to be able to have some family time before the biggest tournament of the year. »
Now is the time to get down to business. The first tee shot of this 86and edition of the Masters is scheduled for 8 a.m.
86and MASTERS TOURNAMENT
- Journey : National of Augustus
- Architect : Allister Mckenzie and Bobby Jones Jr (1932)
- Defending Champion: Hideki Matsuyama
- Total purse ($2.07M to the champion): $11.5M
- Virgin: 7510
- Standard: 72
- Average score since 1942: 74.01 shots
- Average distance of tee shots in 2021: 288.13 yards
- Highest score on a single hole in history: 13 shots. Tommy Nakajimi at 13andpar 5, in 1978. Tom Weiskopf on the par 3 of the 12and in 1980. Sergio Garcia at 15anda par 5.
- Deepest-under-par golfer in history : Dustin Johnson, in 2020, at -20 to 15and pennant
- Active international golfers with the most eagles at Augusta: Adam Scott, Jose Maria Olazabal and Bernard Langer with 11
- Tiger Woods
- Louis Oosthuizen
- Joaquin Niemann
- Jordan Spieth
- Victor Hovland
- Xander Schauele
Year when Tiger Woods missed the ax for the only time in his career at Augusta. He was among the 5 amateurs on the set at his second appearance at the Masters Tournament. The following year, in his first pro appearance, he crushed the competition by 12 strokes! He disputes his 24and Mastery.
Number of eagles achieved by the field during the 2015 edition, the absolute record. He had registered 20 only on the par 5 of the 13andAzalea.