AUGUSTA – It was a gorgeous day, the final round of the Masters just concluded, but not a gorgeous week when it came to the weather. But for it to end on a sunny and blissful high made it another memorable championship.
I’m beginning to wonder if the redneck philosopher wasn’t right. Maybe we should put those rocks back on the moon. When there is a spate of negative weather—and that seems, in these times, to be the pattern more often than not—it is not the golfers, the sponsors, and the officials who are the losers. It’s the fans.
You live three states away or in the midst of the birddog capital of the world 30 miles south in nearby Waynesboro and you finally get a ticket to one of the greatest sporting events in the world. Your anticipation is so elevated you resort to gloating. Your smugness becomes world-class.
Then the weatherman gives you the back of his hand. One day you need hip waders and on another, you experience thermal underwear temperatures. That is not traditional Masters weather.
If all is well that ends well, then those with a Sunday ticket were treated to becoming weather and golf par excellence. That is the way the Masters has traditionally been—at least for the most part. For sure, Scottie Scheffler, has no complaints—a young life, young wife, Green Jacket, and $2.7million dollars just added to his bank account. He has a college degree, and the world is at his feet. At age 25, he has the brightest of futures unless he were to do something stupid like running for political office.
He seems stable and balanced and is not likely to be given to putting his foot in his mouth. He needs to avoid Mickelson moments as his opinion(s) on anything from golf to barbecue will be a focal point with the three remaining majors coming up. The guess here is that good habits far outweigh the bad to where he will be a low-key but engaging champion.
While he was never really threatened, especially when playing partner Cameron Smith made a triple bogey at No. 12, Scheffler had a calmness that enabled him to make ten-footers in the tradition of Tiger Woods. Saving par was his mission, especially when it counted most. He is a seasoned competitor and played as if he were a veteran who had already won a couple of Green Jackets. He had the luxury of four putting the final hole and laughing about it. You had the sense that if the tournament were on the line, he would have holed any critical putt.
This time of the year, we appreciate a fresh champion. One whose class and personality meshes with the blooms of April and the Augusta National landscape, which is unrivaled by any golf course, except, perhaps Pebble Beach.
Sunday’s uplifting weather, bringing back short-sleeved dress and penetrating cheers with sidebars such as Rory McIlroy and Collin Morikawa both blasting from the sand into the cup for birdies on the final hole. This will be a piece of Masters history that will resonate forever with those gathered around the final green.
Such vignettes seem to take place at the Masters every year, another memorable moment to fit neatly in the scrapbook of memories for those who gain access to the tournament each spring.
When the Masters has a glorious Sunday to showcase the championship, there is no more beautiful and moving setting. No other sport can match the inspirational atmosphere that accompanies the final round. More often than not, there is a thrilling and exciting finish. When one player dominates and takes the drama out of the scene, his mastery of the moment and his management of the golf course brings about a “well done” accolade that resonates with Masters’ aficionados.
No clairvoyant can say where Scheffler’s game will take him in the immediate future. Fellow Texan Jordan Spieth seven years ago was in a similar situation, becoming the youngest player ever to win the Masters. He won three majors in a short period of time and has not been in the winner’s circle of majors lately.
Now comes the distractions that accompany success. Appearances, deals and more deals. Scottie Scheffler appears to be one who can manage his golden opportunities, but as it is with a three-foot downhill putt, there are no guarantees.