Raise your hand if you watched any of the 2016 Masters. While the event draws high ratings year after year, golf is still left out to dry. That means people are not tuning in like they would for other major sporting events, say the Super Bowl? Well, if you were one of the ones not watching, you missed big-time drama at Augusta National that only the “tradition unlike any other” can provide. Masters Sunday is one of the best days on the sports calendar, and if you are not watching it now, then I suggest you start in 2017. The words “boring” and “unwatchable” are always the response I get when I tell someone that I love golf. I’ll admit, when I was younger, I was on the other side of it. I recall saying to a friend that golf is a “yawn fest.” However, I have long since changed my tune. Masters Sunday is a big reason why I’m a fan of golf. The Masters is one of the top-10 sporting events on the planet. I can’t name 11 sporting events that are better year after year. This past Sunday’s tournament was no exception.
The tournament was defending champion Jordan Spieth’s to lose when he went to the tee box at hole No. 10. Spieth, just 22 years old, was at 7- under-par and had as large as a 5-stroke lead over everyone else in the tournament. He was destined to win a second consecutive green jacket and join the likes of Jack Nicklaus, Sir Nick Faldo and Tiger Woods as the only players to ever win the Masters twice in a row.
Masters Sunday never fails to amaze. We were in for a shock.
Spieth bogeyed holes No. 10 and No. 11 to start his back nine. Despite dropping two shots, Spieth stepped into the tee box at the 12th with a 1-stroke lead over unknown Englishman Danny Willett. Spieth hit his tee shot into the water and then followed that up by putting his drop-zone shot into the same body of water. Spieth would quadruple-bogey the hole. Willett, who was just trying to hang around up until that point, now had a two-shot lead at the Masters in what seemed like the blink of an eye.
Willett, who was the last player to enter the Masters field, did not know if he was even going to play the tournament a few weeks ago. He and his wife were expect- ing their first-born son on April 10, which just so happened to be Masters Sunday. Zachariah Wil- lett was born on March 30, which meant that proud papa Danny could play.
That April 10 due date turned out to be a special day after all for the family—the day Willett won his first major and green jacket.
The consistent all-around game of Willett is what ended up landing him in that green jacket. Willett shot an opening round 70 followed by a second-round score of 74 and third-round total of 72. The England native shot a remarkable final-round 67. Willett, instead of Spieth, joined the company of Faldo as he became the second player from England to ever win the Masters alongside the three-time champion.
Picture it: A new father won the Masters on the day his son was originally due to be born after the defending champion had an epic meltdown when said champion seemed destined to win.
It is just the latest legendary Augusta tale. Stories like that are told every year on Masters Sunday and beyond. They are what make the event mythical and must-watch. In 2017, when Spieth, Willett and plenty of other hopefuls go at it, sit your butt down and watch greatness unfold once again. Sean Saint Jacques is a journalism major from Bloomingdale, N.J. He can be reached at sean.saintjacques@ student.shu.edu.