Masters 2021 Preview

Who Will Conquer Augusta?

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Credits to Fran Caffrey (Golf File)

Paul Brady, Staff Writer

The month of April appears to be already jam-packed with some of the most exciting sporting events, and it might even top the entertainment value of March’s festivities. The first day of April was MLB Opening Day, and fans are beginning to flood the ballparks to see their teams play. On April 5, the Baylor Bears outlasted the best that Division I college basketball had to offer by winning the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship. April 2021 will go out with a bang as the NFL Draft starts the night of the 29th. Yet we sports fans should really show some love toward the Masters: golf’s 87-year long tradition that is set to begin today. 

Baseball has earned the title of ‘America’s Pastime,’ and football is ‘America’s Game,’ but golf has grown in popularity across the world. This year’s Masters tournament will feature the most elite talent from over twenty different countries. It will finish with the most recent champion Dustin Johnson relinquishing a signature green jacket to the victor; of course, that is assuming he doesn’t win again. And there is good reason to believe that he might be wearing the jacket for another year: Johnson is poised for success in the Masters after finishing in the top two in two consecutive years. Other favorites to win include Bryson DeChambeau (U.S.), Justin Rose (England), and Jason Day (Australia). 

I bet if you asked a golf expert six years ago who would win the Masters in 2021, the answer would be Jordan Spieth. Spieth turned heads literally and figuratively in 2015 shooting 18 under to demolish his pro colleagues at the young age of 22. That same year, I recall walking into an Under Armour outlet to do some clothes shopping and admiring the Jordan Spieth display they had. There were so many cardboard cutouts of him and customized golf gear that you would’ve thought he was the next Tiger Woods.  Unfortunately for Spieth, his career took a turn for the worse thereafter, but who knows, maybe he could turn it around this weekend and live up to his early hype.

To digress a little bit, I’d like to comment on how the nature of golf is unlike any other. In what other sport’s etiquette is it expected for fans and announcers to be quiet? When I was younger I would agonize at the very sight of the PGA tour on my television screen. Now I have more respect for the game.  Nevertheless, I have noticed the calmness of watching the sport. Sometimes listening to Jim Nantz call a round of golf makes me want to take a nap. There’s more to the game, however, so I talked to my good friend Davis Perry ‘23 to get more insight about the mental challenges of golf. Here’s what he had to say: “Having a strong mental game in golf goes a long way. People often overlook how important good temperament and sufficient course management are. Once you have the basic mechanics down, golf is 100% mental and strategic. What separates a good golfer from a great golfer is mental toughness. If you think about how short a golf swing is, you spend 4-5 hours thinking about 90 seconds of swings.”

In closing, even though golf is not endemic to America, it is a strong candidate for the world’s hardest sports title. As Davis referenced, patience is key to withstanding the internal rigors of playing 18 holes. In other words, to be a good golfer, do everything Happy Gilmore did oppositely. These pro golfers who qualified for the Masters will be battling it out for four days, and it will be interesting to see who comes ready to play.