The 2017 US Masters is wide open heading into Sunday at Augusta National Golf Club
2017 US Masters Set For Thrilling Climax
Traditionally, the US Masters produces the most dramatic of conclusions, but over the last couple of years Jordan Spieth’s brilliance has deprived viewers of the wide open, anyone-could-win finishes they’d become accustomed to seeing.
In fact, you have to go back to 2011 for a time when more than five players had a genuine chance of winning playing the back nine on Sunday. This year, however, it looks as if we’re set for a the most pulsating of climaxes at Augusta National.
There are great storylines wherever you look. There’s legitimate interest in everyone on the leaderboard, even those who don’t seem exciting on paper.
Take William McGirt, for example. He was so emotional driving down Magnolia Lane for the first time that he started welling up. The same thing happened when the starter announced his name on Thursday morning. He was at the 1st hole at 7am to watch Nicklaus and Player get the tournament underway, even though he wasn’t due to start for another three hours.
That’s because The Masters is so much more than a golf tournament – it’s recognition that you belong. That sentiment wasn’t lost on McGirt, who toiled for years on mini-tours before finally making it on to the PGA Tour.
Naturally, Spieth – the man who hasn’t finished worse than second in three Masters appearances – is right in the mix. He started with an untidy three-over-par 75, which included a quadruple-bogey nine on the 15th, but found some serious form on Saturday afternoon under beautiful blue skies.
Elsewhere, Rickie Fowler, one of golf’s most popular players, is one great round away from breaking his Major duck. The same statement applies to Sergio Garcia, the man who, with 22, has the second-most Major top tens of all time without recording a victory.
His compatriot, Jon Rahm, is bidding to become the first player to win on his Masters debut since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979. This time last year, he was still two months away from turning professional.
There’s so much more to talk about. Justin Rose, second in 2015, is right there after a sublime back nine, as is Charley Hoffman, who played in Saturday’s final group that year. Charl Schwartzel, the 2011 winner, is under par, as is Lee Westwood, golf’s perennial nearly man. And who could forget Freddie Couples, who continues to produce performances at Augusta National that defy his age.
The week began with the disappointing withdrawal of Dustin Johnson, but happily the tournament hasn’t suffered at all from his absence. Quite the opposite.
Attend The 2018 Masters with Your Golf Travel – visit yourgolftravel.com/us-masters Experiences including flights, hotels & tickets are available. Nick Bonfield travelled to the 2017 Masters courtesy of Your Golf Travel.