Tuesday, April 6, 2021
Less than five months removed from the 2020 Masters, this week's return to Augusta National features everybody who is anybody, including defending champ Dustin Johnson, rejuvenated Jordan Spieth, returning Brooks Koepka, and nine former winners of the storied event who are in the 50-and-above category.
Dustin won it in November by five strokes over Cameron Smith and Sungjae Im with a record-breaking performance. He posted rounds of 65-70-65-68 for 268, 20 under par, a record for the event. His 60 greens in regulation and just four bogeys over 72 holes were also records, and he collected a juicy $2,070,000 for his superior play.
His menu for the Champions dinner is befitting his accomplishment - filet mignon and sea bass, mashed potatoes and spring vegetables, two types of salads, appetizers of pigs in a blanket and lobster corn fritters, and a dessert of peach cobbler and apple pie with vanilla ice cream. The menu alone may be a good reason why the seniors return in force every year.
Spieth, who has been in a funk for the last three or four years since he took the Tour by storm with 11 victories, picked the perfect time to emerge from his Rip Van Winkle slumber. He won the Valero Texas Open in a breeze last week looking like the Jordan of old, and he was richer by $1,386,000 as he made the trip from San Antonio to Augusta. It makes the Masters even more delightful, if that's possible.
The elder group includes three who competed in November and made the cut: ageless Bernhard Langer at 3 under, tied for 29th; Phil Mickelson, 3 over, tied for 55th, and Mike Weir, 2 over and tied for 51st. Missing the cut and trying again are Fred Couples (+6); Sandy Lyle (+7); Larry Mize (+3, the cut was even par); Jose Maria Olazabal (+14), and Vijay Singh (withdrew in 2nd round). Ian Woosnam is also aboard, but didn't play last year.
Aside from Koepka, the other Seminole, sizzling Daniel Berger, is playing, as are Gators Billy Horschel and Brian Gay. The four Florida collegians have accounted for one victory each this season.
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