It didn’t carry the drama of some Masters Tournaments unless you happen to be a golf person from Japan.
Then Hideki Matsuyama’s win was right up there with the return of Tiger Woods to the green jacket ceremony in 2019.
Japan is golf crazy at a different level than most places on earth, and Hideki just became their Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus type guy if he wasn’t that already.
It made for a good Masters week for me. I won a pool with my picks. And though it appeared to drag for a few moments on Sunday as Matsuyama stayed well out in front, it turned out the Augusta National golf course and the Masters pressure got involved to make Hideki and others sweat a bit.
He was leaking a little oil there at the end. It’s a good thing he didn’t have to play another hole, which made it a familiar finish to a major championship. Somebody often survives instead of simply winning.
HIDEKI HELD ON BARELY
Best scene of the week: Hideki’s caddie, Shota Hayafugi, bowing to the course after he placed the final flag in the cup at 18 on Sunday.
Worst scene of the week: Gary Player’s son, Wayne, serving as caddie for the ceremonial tee shots on Thursday morning and doing his best to get the sleeve casing/logo of a golf ball company his father represents in the Lee Elder introduction. It was a shameless marketing promotion and display of arrogance.
I will admit I’ve never been a fan of Gary Player. I think he’s fake. I once witnessed him fat-shaming a kid who was just asking for an autograph. I cringe when people use the Big Three thing. He doesn’t belong with Arnie and Jack. There, I feel better.
Best shot of the week: Hideki hitting the tee shot in the fairway at 18. The pressure had to be enormous, and the shot is one of the most intimidating through-the-trees shots in golf without the pressure.
Worst shot of the week: Hideki firing away at the No. 15 green with his second shot and rocketing it over and into the water. Sometimes the perfect layup is well, the perfect choice.
MASTERS SEEMS RIGHT IN APRIL
Biggest surprise: Will Zalatoris is somebody most folks had never heard of and he simply demonstrated how many great golfers are out there – just one opportunity to shine away.
Biggest flop: Dustin Johnson, the defending champ, missed the cut. He shot a record 20-under in November and took an early exit in April. Sure the course was a different challenge last week than in the fall, but DJ has the game for that golf course in whatever condition. He just didn’t have it last week.
Finally, the Masters is simply better in April than the fall version we saw in November. It signals to those of us in Michigan and the Midwest to get the game back in shape, get ready for league night, get outside.
Caddie bow photo: screenshot from Golf Channel