The Best 4 Days In Sports
By: Andrew G
The previous two Masters tournaments were quiet as the patrons and spectators were kept away due to the pandemic, but this year that changed. Augusta National Golf Club’s gates have swung open once again for the wealthy masses to convene along the course. For all that has changed just about everywhere else, not so much has at Augusta. Of course, it hasn’t: This is tradition-bound Augusta, for better or for worse.
And so the Masters is, as ever, a sporting event with the (sometimes vanishing) sensibilities of a garden party, the rarefied attendance of an elite fraternity gathering and a golf spectacle equaled by few places.
Pairing sheets, free to anyone who perhaps paid thousands of dollars for a general admission pass, rustle. Ice cubes clink in plastic cups filled with bourbon, and sandwich wrappers crinkle. Balls catapult off driver heads, setting up shots and, in the meantime, anodyne commentaries to no one in particular. There are nervous laughs, urgent shouts and communal ducking and shoulder-clenching when a shot goes astray and lands on the crossway of an entirely different hole.
Best part of the masters for patrons? There are no cellphones, no remote doorbell chimes, no one squawking on a conference call that you, too, have wound up joining. But there is, at last, noise.
“They just live and die with your success or failure,” Tommy Aaron, the 1973 Masters winner, said of the spectators in 2020. And they and their exclamations are back. A cheer someplace prompts heads to snap around, the volume and direction suggesting what might have made one man’s day and ruined another’s. If you’re like me, the only chance you have at ever seeing the Masters is by sneaking in or camping out in the trees days before the tournament.
Scottie Scheffler controlled the 2022 Masters since Friday. The dominance ended with him donning the green jacket on Sunday. The 25-year-old, currently ranked No. 1 in the world, shot a 1-under 71 in the final round to end the tournament at 10 under, three strokes ahead of second-place finisher Rory McIlroy. Scheffler was the only player in the field to break par in all four rounds.
Scheffler carded a double bogey on No. 18 after he missed a pair of short-range putts. His lead provided plenty of room for error, though. McIlroy tied the Masters final round record with a 64, punctuated by a chip-in from the bunker on No. 18 for birdie. McIlroy’s Sunday charge wasn’t enough to overtake Scheffler, who won his first career major.