The Masters 2022: Storylines from Augusta National
By GBB Staff
The characters may change, but The Masters never fails to deliver great drama. Professional golfers get excited about all major championships, but there is something magical about playing between the pines and flowering azaleas at Augusta National.
It brings out the best (and sometimes the worst) from the top players in the world. We get to watch nerves of steel become frayed on the back nine on Sunday. From the practice rounds to the Champions Dinner to the “jacket ceremony” in Butler Cabin, The Masters is a week-long celebration of golf.
We have crowned a new, first-time champion (more on Scottie below) – what will we remember about the 2022 Masters? We have picked our favorite storylines below.
Tiger Woods: From the Hospital Bed to Contention
He may not have won the tournament, but this week’s top story was Tiger. Honestly can’t believe we watched him play 72 holes.
14 months ago, Tiger was in a terrible car crash. At first, there were questions about his survival. Next, there was talk of having to amputate his leg. Once he survived those scares, it was discussed that he would never be able to walk normally again. How in the world did he end up playing in the 2022 Masters?
The whispers started when he competed in a father-son event in December with his son Charlie. It was cool to see him swing a club again, but this was a 2-day event and he got to ride in a cart. Tiger was positive that he would play competitive golf again, but it sounded like a future goal. Nothing he said made you think he would tee it up this year.
Things got crazy a week before the Masters. People tracked his plane flying to Augusta National and he confirmed he was making a trip to test out his ability to walk the course. Several practice rounds later he announced that he was going to give it a try. Simply amazing.
Tiger gave us some Day 1 excitement by shooting under par and being in the top 10. He grinded on day 2 to make the cut but struggled with the putter over the weekend. What do you expect? This was his first real golf tournament in 15+ months.
It was great to see him back on the course and it sounds like he is going to try and play in the rest of the majors this season.
New #1 In the World: Scottie Scheffler
Quite simply, Scottie Scheffler has been on fire lately. He has won multiple times this season and after claiming the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play event in March moved to the #1 spot in the World Golf Rankings. The Masters was his first tournament playing as the #1 player in the world. This could add pressure, but Scottie didn’t seem to mind.
Scheffler started the week with back-to-back rounds in the 60s and was at the top of the leaderboard the rest of the week. There were several key moments on Sunday, but we think the 3rd hole is where he set himself up to win the green jacket.
He started the final day with a 3-stroke lead over Cam Smith, but his lead was quickly trimmed to 1 after Cam birdied the first two holes. On the 3rd hole, both players hit poor drives and 2nd shots. They were both faced with challenging up and downs for par. The next 5 minutes were crazy.
Scheffler played first. His ball landed on the green and was skidding past but struck the pin and dropped in the hole for a birdie! Cheers echoed through the pines. Cam made bogey and was never closer than 3 strokes again.
Scheffler has been a winner in every stage of golf. He was a dominant junior and a great college player. His ascent to the #1 player in the world has been quick and now that he has a green jacket, it is hard to guess how many more majors he could win.
Cam Smith: The Mullet from Down Under
If Scottie Scheffler has been the hottest player in the world this year, Cam Smith has been second. He is known for 3 things. Being a great putter, having a mullet, and playing aggressively on the course. Cam recently won the Players Championship by making tons of putts and hitting it close on the island green on Sunday to seal the deal.
Smith is not new to the Masters stage. He got 2nd place in the 2020 event and finished 10th last year. Cam understands how to play Augusta National and being a great putter helps.
Like many great players before him, his chances for the 2022 title were washed away at the par 3 12th. He had just birdied #11 to trim Scottie’s lead and took an aggressive line at the traditional Sunday pin tucked on the right side of the green. Sadly, his shot found the water, and his chances (like his golf ball) were gone.
Don’t be surprised if you see Cam’s name on the Masters’ leaderboard in 2023.
Rory McIlroy: Will He Ever Get to Wear the Green Jacket?
Rory has all the talent in the world. He has come close many times but is still looking for his first Masters victory and the career grand slam. There was a time when you wondered how many he will win, but now you must wonder IF he will win.
He can play the golf course. He demonstrated that again on Sunday. McIlroy fired a bogey-free 64 (-8) to charge up the leaderboard and finish in 2nd place. This was his 7th top 10 finish at Augusta National. So, why hasn’t he won yet?
Rory will be asked this question until he gets it done. As a younger player he had to deal with the pressure of being considered the “next Tiger”, but he doesn’t seem to let expectations bother him. He has become a leader in the world of professional golf and consistently says “the right things”. So, we ask again – when will he get to wear the green jacket? When will it be his turn?
There is one thing we know for sure. When the azaleas start to bloom next spring, Rory will once again be on the shortlist of Masters favorites!
REUTERS / BRIAN SNYDER - stock.adobe.com