The Masters: Rahm’s date with destiny, Tiger’s struggles, Mickelson’s redemption

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Jon Rahm keeps his date with destiny

Jon Rahm’s Masters win was hugely popular

Sometimes the stars line-up in sports in a way that makes truth stranger than fiction. This year’s Masters was the 40th anniversary of Seve Ballesteros’ second Masters victory in 1983. Masters Sunday also happened to fall on April 9th – Seve’s birthday. If that wasn’t enough, Jon Rahm’s caddie Adam Hayes was assigned white coveralls with No. 49. In the United States, the month comes before the day, therefore 49 can be read as April 9 th .

Rahm played his first Masters in 2017, the year Sergio Garcia claimed his only major. And Garcia was low amateur in 1999, the year Jose Maria Olazabal won his second Masters. The omens were all pointing to a Rahm victory and he delivered in style.

 


Rahm played 29 holes on Sunday and turned a four-shot deficit into a four-shot victory. He earned his second major championship the hard way and the win, his fourth on the PGA Tour in 2023, moved him back to No. 1 in the world.
Naturally Olazabal was waiting off the 18th green to congratulate Rahm. “He
[Olazabal] said he hopes it’s the first of many more, “Rahm said later while seated in
Butler Cabin. “We both mentioned something about Seve, and if he had given us 10 more seconds, I think we would have both ended up crying.”

Tiger Woods is now largely a ceremonial golfer

Age eventually catches up with all great athletes. In the 47-year-old Woods’ case, injuries and accidents have taken their toll too to the point where it’s a struggle for him just to walk 18 holes. He was clearly in pain at the Masters and according to a statement he issued on Twitter, he has reinjured his plantar fasciitis in his right foot, an injury that caused him to withdraw from the Hero World Challenge in February. On top of that, Jason Day also revealed that Woods withdrew from the 2022 PGA Championship because a screw was poking through his skin on Saturday.

That all changed on Sunday when the 52-year-old Mickelson shot a 7-under 65 that included a 5-under 31 on the back nine that he capped with a birdie on the 18th. It was his best Sunday round at Augusta. The crowd went wild with each birdie and the smile on Mickelson’s face was the widest it has been in some time. “To come out today and play the way I did and hit the shots when I needed to, it’s so much fun, Mickelson said.

His spectacular final round made him the leader in the clubhouse and he would eventually finish in a tie for second with Brooks Koepka and break the record for the oldest player to finish in the top-5 in the Masters. Jimmy Demaret was 51 when he finished tied for fifth in 1962. Obviously, that makes Mickelson the oldest player ever to finish second at Augusta.

Mickelson was also one of three LIV golfers to finish in the top-5, the other two being the aforementioned Koepka and Patrick Reed, who finished in a tie for fourth at -7. Their performances served as a kind of rebuttal to the argument that LIV golfers would be less competitive because they only play 54-hole events.

The irony is that if this were a LIV event, Mickelson wouldn’t have had the chance to produce his fourth round heroics in the first place.

 


Credits:-
Photo – The Masters


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