The Masters is truly ?a tradition unlike any other?. I have been very fortunate to have been to Augusta National four times now - 3 times as a spectator and once to play - and it never ceases to amaze me. The perfect grass. The beautiful azaleas. The deafening roars. It really is golf heaven. There were many questions going into this years event: Would Rory complete the career grand-slam? Would Tiger Woods make the cut? Would Jordan Spieth continue his great form in 2015 and win the green jacket? Or would there be another first time winner?
A first round 64 from Spieth answered that question pretty emphatically. He continued his great form into Friday with a solid 66 where I got to watch him come through Amen Corner and almost chip in for birdie on 11 and then hit a great shot on the treacherous 12th. Even though I only saw a very small part of his play, the Texan looked in total control of his golf ball, and most importantly his mind. Speaking of control of the mind brings me back to a great story I was told by our hosts at Augusta National.
I was the guest of an Augusta National member and as a result got to call a cabin to the left of the 10th fairway my home base for the day. These are the same cabins that Rory McIlroy was amongst in 2011 when he lost control of his mind on the back nine. The cabin he was next to that day was the cabin I was in last Friday and our hosts explained to me how the events transpired:
Wife: Honey, Rory McIlroy is outside.
Husband: I know. I just saw him tee off on the 10th on TV.
Wife: No, you don?t understand. Rory McIlroy is right outside our bedroom window!
They then showed me the spot where he was that day and I cannot explain to you how far left he really was - it was unbelievable! A great story for them and for me to hear. Of course, not such a good one for Rory McIlroy. After a rough first 27 holes this year, he stormed back to finish 4th. His time to put on the green jacket will surely come sooner rather than later. Justin Rose put up a great fight on Sunday but for every punch he threw, Spieth seemed to have an answer. And Phil Mickelson showed he is still not ready to give in to the new wave of young players just yet by finishing tied for 2nd with Rose.
There has been so much talk in the media lately about the future of golf and whether it can survive beyond the likes of Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. With Spieth, McIlroy, Rose, along with Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler, and several others, I have no doubt the game is great hands. It is going to be fun to watch the new modern day golfers duke it out against each other for the next 10-15 years. After all, would you not want to see Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth tied for lead next year at the Masters going into the back nine on Sunday? I certainly would!