Final thoughts on the 2014 Masters

Embed from Getty Images

As usual, the Masters came and went far too quickly and now we have to wait 360 days before seeing Augusta National again. Bubba Watson’s win might not have been the exciting end that we’ve seen so often at the Masters, but the tournament was still pretty special. Before we move on to Harbour Town this week, here are my final thoughts from the first major of the 2014 men’s golf season.

Best Shot: Matt Kuchar – Saturday on 15

Shot of the tournament: Matt Kuchar on 15.

Shot of the tournament: Matt Kuchar on 15.

Phil Mickelson actually did something similar to this last year, but every time I see something like this from the players on 15, it’s amazing. The margin for error here is so small. If he leaves it short, it falls back down the hill and he’s got a similarly difficult shot but if he goes long, he probably ends up in the water on the other side.

Honourable Mention: Jordan Spieth’s approach into the par-3 on Sunday

Worst Shot(s): Brandt Snedeker’s Friday five-putt

Brandt Snedeker five putts. (Courtesy: SBNation)

Brandt Snedeker five putts. (Courtesy: SBNation)

There’s not much you can really say about that.

Best Broadcast Moment: Anything from David Feherty

Embed from Getty Images

If you’ve read this blog before, you know I’m a big fan of David Feherty and even when he’s toned down at the Masters because those in charge of the tournament would have it no other way, he’s still the best. When Jonas Blixt had to move a handbag on the ground, Feherty quickly quipped that it didn’t go with his outfit, and when Bubba decided to go all Seve on us and not layup on 15, Feherty was right on it when saying that he had lost his marbles. There is nobody better in sports broadcasting right now than David Feherty.

Worst Broadcast Moment: CBS bungling weekend coverage

I fully understand that you can’t show every shot on a broadcast and that there’s a certain amount of event recapping that needs to happen as well, but CBS’ weekend coverage was pretty lacklustre. They were consistently behind the live streaming options available on Masters.com, to the point where they were actually a full shot behind at times. Saturday was especially bad when instead of showing former champion Fred Couples making a run, we were looking at shots that happened no more than an hour prior, not to mention that several players at the top of the leaderboard, like Thomas Bjorn and Lee Westwood, were barely shown at all on the weekend. Perhaps the worst part was on Sunday though when we saw two or three live shots in the first fifteen minutes of the broadcast, as we were instead treated to range shots of Spieth and Watson, Tiger Woods talk (really?), and an “In Memoriam” style recap of those who missed the cut. These things could have easily been used in some kind of pre-game show on CBS, but instead they decided to use their air time early on to focus on everything but what was actually happening on the course.

CBS is usually great when it comes to their coverage, but they really could have done better here.

The Good and Bad of Twitter

If you’re a regular Twitter user, you understand how addicting it can be and it can really enhance the viewing experience when it comes to live sports. Outside of the 2012 Ryder Cup, golf hasn’t really exploded much on Twitter, at least not in the way that it did last week for the Masters. For whatever reason, people just seemed to be on point during the week, whether it was GIFs, videos or just general interaction, the tournament was made even better by the people that were talking about it on Twitter.

Of course, there were still the bad Blixt puns, people making way too many wine and cigar references and a few too many pool party jokes, but for the most part, Twitter was fantastic during the Masters. If you’re not on there, you’re really missing out.

Best Story: Jordan Spieth nearly makes history

Even though he didn’t win, this really did feel like the official coming out party for Jordan Spieth, and while I’m not as bullish on his amount of future major championships won as some people are, there’s no doubt that he’s going to be a huge force going forward. Think about it like this: If he plays until he’s slightly older than Phil Mickelson, he has the chance to play in over 100 majors, and you have to think that he gets one or two. He played great all week, but was beat by someone who played better than him. Nothing wrong with that.

Honourable Mentions: Fred Couples contends again, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Jeff Knox

Most Underrated Story: Rickie Fowler contends

Lost in a lot of the drama over Spieth and Jonas Blixt climbing the leaderboard was that the previous face of young American golf was also putting in quite a performance. There’s an argument to be made that Rickie Fowler is the most important player in golf right now that isn’t Tiger Woods, and he certainly will be that guy moving forward with the younger crowd, but he also needs to have some success on the course. His move to Butch Harmon was pretty well publicized a few months ago, and it seems to be paying off already, so hopefully that continues in the future. I think it’s easy for people to forget that he’s still just 25 years old.

Honourable Mention: Bernhard Langer contends as well

Worst Professionalism: Patrick Reed

04.11.14 reed mouth

When Patrick Reed made his “top-5 comments” a few months ago, I was in full support and I still am. Golf needs players like this, and he is obscenely talented. However, there is still a certain amount of professionalism that needs to be shown on the golf course and, well,:

https://twitter.com/dillonmays_/status/454768356218785792

https://twitter.com/dillonmays_/status/454770360508882944

Not the best look.

Biggest Overreaction: On Rory McIlroy’s week

Look, it wasn’t the best week for the pre-tournament favourite, but the fact is that he went out and had three really solid rounds and got back into the top-10. It obviously wasn’t the way he wanted to go out, but it’s not like he had a disastrous, Jason Dufner-esque performance either. The worst part about the overreaction? People mentioning that he lost to marker Jeff Knox on Saturday as if he was the only player in the field to do so. Knox, who holds the member tee record with a 61, shot a 70 on Saturday and was only bested by five professionals. Rory’s going to be fine.

Other thoughts

  • I’d like to echo the thoughts of my friends at No Laying Up: We need the pro tracer at Augusta National next year.
  • Bubba Watson’s tee shot on 13 on Sunday that allowed him to hit wedge into the green is one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever seen at a golf tournament. This is where pro tracer would have been fantastic, but man, to take that line and actually pull it off without any trouble was pretty incredible.
  • One other thing on Bubba: he’s the closest thing we have to Seve Ballesteros in the 70’s and 80’s in terms of creativity and imagination. Doubt he ever has the same impact though.
  • One of the big storylines coming in was the Stadlers playing together in what should be Craig’s last Masters. Kevin played great and got into the top-10 in his first appearance, and they had a touching moment together after it was all done.
The Stadlers share a touching moment after Kevin finishes on 18.

The Stadlers share a touching moment after Kevin finishes on 18.

  • Shane Bacon touched on this yesterday at Yahoo, but the tournament was still fun even without Tiger Woods playing this week. The ratings won’t show that, and it probably would have been more entertaining if he was playing and in contention, but hey, things were pretty good all week.
  • As usual, the course was the real star though, even with Bubba making it look small at certain points. Not sure what those in charge can do about that, especially in time for next year’s tournament, but you can bet that they’re going to try. Even still, I can’t wait until next year to do it all again.
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