The 2021 Masters
The Masters returned to it's usual setting amidst the Georgia Pines in April. Following a hectic 2020 golf schedule that saw our beloved national championship take place in November, we were extremely pleased to turn the page to a new yet familiar chapter.
This chapter introduces some new characters, covers the return of one of our native North Texans to the winner's circle, as well as a Masters first. Jordan Spieth has been on a hot streak the past few months, culminating in his first PGA Tour victory in over 1300 days. Jordan's Valero Texas Open win was great timing and made him the favorite going into The Masters the following week.
Augusta National is THE ideal setting for mixing so many storylines with the spirit of competition and level of play. Jordan's momentum and history at The Masters made him the headliner after the second round but his story would be overshadowed by the eventual winner and some Happy Gilmore caddy look-alike (joking of course)
A golfer with as much (or more) momentum than Jordan going into our nation's most storied tournament was relatively unknown (on the world stage) Will Zalatoris. Tas-Tee was able to see him at several Korn Ferry events but we had no idea his fantastic abilities would transfer so seamlessly to the PGA Tour. His iron play is incredible, his ball flight is predictable and his fortitude under pressure was evident every day at The Masters. Will battled the eventual winner down the stretch and showed the golf world he will be around for the foreseeable future. He finished solo second and took home over $1.24M! Congrats to Will!
The crescendo of the battles that took place over the weekend at Augusta weren't limited to individual golfers competing with one another. One of the greatest battle was and has been for an accomplished Japanese golfer named, Hideki Matsuyama. Hideki has been on tour for several years and has won on some of golf's toughest courses but watching him at Augusta this week, we witnessed a different level from him. Hideki dealt w all the pressure that comes with a major championship but he also carried the weight of his nation on his shoulders. Japan has a wonderful support for golf and there have been several professional Japanese players but none that have ever won a major championship, much less our national treasure that is The Masters.
On Sunday at Augusta National Hideki Matsuyama became the first Japanese born player to ever win a green jacket. He hit clutch shots when they were required and his typical putting woes seemed to subside down the stretch. Hideki's game didn't fail him when he faced the biggest of moments, and the legend of his historic win was solidified by the most respectful gesture we've ever seen at Augusta. Upon completing their biggest moment, Team Matsuyama embraced and when the caddy, Shota Hayafuji, replaced the flagless pole into the 18th hole, he removed his cap and bowed to Augusta.
I've seen some incredibly humbling moments in our game; Jack's concession comes to mind immediately, but that show of respect for a golf course was monumental. Shota bowed to show respect to Augusta and it's an image should be shared around the world. Golf means so much to so many of us.
Congrats to Hideki and a giant Thank You to Team Matsuyama