A tradition like no other


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AUGUSTA, GEORGIA – APRIL 09: Jon Rahm of Spain celebrates with the Masters trophy during the Green Jacket Ceremony after winning the 2023 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 9, 2023 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

The best week of the year in Augusta, Georgia ended just days ago, after the conclusion of the championship round of the Masters. As any golf fan knows, you can not be considered one of the greats if you have not won the Masters. Held at Augusta National, the Masters is the biggest and best professional golf tournament in the world. Tickets for this event are the most difficult to come by because you can not just openly buy them but rather you have to win their annual lottery for a ticket purchase to be accepted. Applications for tickets have a deadline of June 1, nearly a year prior.

The reason behind this patron exclusiveness is the caliber of the tournament. The phrase, “a tradition like no other,” is far from just a phrase; it is the reason this tournament is the most watched and their tickets are so sought after. As most tournaments start on Thursday and end on Sunday, the Masters kicks off the tournament with the Champions Dinner on the Tuesday night before the tournament, where all past champions of the tournament who are still living are invited, and the menu is selected by the winner of the previous year’s tournament. Following the dinner is the Par 3 Contest held on Wednesday. After that, the real deal begins.

Obviously, all rounds are important, but the first round is essential for a golfer to boost his confidence and putting himself in a winning position early on. Brooks Koepka did exactly that in his first round, shooting a sixty-five, seven under par and leading the pack. He followed that up with another stellar round at sixty-seven, giving him a total of twelve under after the first two rounds, making him look unstoppable. However, John Rahm kept it close, sitting just two shots behind Koepka at ten under. Tiger Woods returned to The Masters again this year, however he withdrew from play after his everlasting foot injury became too much to handle. What upset me about that was that it was just after he made the cut to move on to the third and fourth rounds, which left the fans out to dry.

Because of the torrential weather, play was suspended on Saturday, which meant the players would have to finish both round three and four on championship Sunday. The poor weather carried over to Sunday, which led to higher scores for the third round, but Brooks and Rahm tied that round, meaning their score difference remained the same at two shots. The fourth round is always the most interesting. That is when the winner is decided, which means the pressure increases exponentially. For a golfer to complete the tournament on top, he can not crack under pressure. Unfortunately, that is exactly what Brooks Koepka did in the final round. His round was so poor that he did not drop to sole possession of second place but instead ended up being tied, sharing it with Phil Mickelson who came out of nowhere with a seven under par round, bouncing all the way up from a lower placement.

Because Brooks choked his fourth round, John Rahm secured first place, the coveted green jacket, and the big monetary reward. Although being one of the hottest golfers currently, along with Scottie Scheffler, he was forced to withdraw from a tournament two weeks prior due to injury, which worried me about his performance, thinking he would have trouble recovering for the biggest tournament of the year, but he was almost flawless. I was also surprised to see the defending champ and world #1 ranked at the time Scheffler perform so mediocre, as he has been completely dominant in the past tournaments leading up to the Masters. Although he is an enemy of anti-LIV Golf fans, I was happy to see Brooks Koepka doing so well in this tournament. In years prior, Brooks was a very talented golfer and dominated the PGA Tour for a while, but then it all seemed to fall apart. Brooks would suffer injury after injury, causing poor performances often, which ultimately led to him joining LIV Golf for the money bonus. Despite him leaving the PGA Tour, I thought it was nice to see Koepka finally bouncing back and competing well now that he is healthy for the time being. I feel he is definitely a player to watch out for in the upcoming major tournaments, that is, if he is allowed back in them.

With that being said, next year at Augusta National will once again be highly anticipated and will for sure be as exciting as ever. My expectations for potential winners are very clear to me. Rahm #1, Scheffler #2, Spieth #3, and Koepka #4. All golf fans will be counting down the days for the next showing of the Masters, in which John Rahm will continue the “tradition like no other” by presenting one of the previously named golfers with the green jacket.