So let's take one last look at the Masters and put this baby to bed.
The lack of pursuers: While everybody seems worried about Jordan and Rickie and other assorted players who couldn't seem to post scores on Sunday, I'm not really surprised. It's hard to make anything happen at Augusta National, especially on the front nine when the greens have firmed up. And once Sergio went 2-under in three holes, the rest of the field felt the need to press. That plan is almost always guaranteed to fail.
Jordan's struggles: Likewise, I'm not worried about Jordan going forward. We've got this crazy idea that Jordan's swing is always going to be perfect... or just perfect crap. There's no in-between in our expectations. But Jordan's swing was only a bit off -- not a lot, but enough to be a problem at Augusta -- and he was trying to do something he's never had to do at the Masters -- CHASE. The results were what we should have expected.
BTW, the shots that went in the water on 15 Thursday and on 12 Sunday? Both were headed straight for the hole. They just came up short, which was a problem he had all week (and of which he was aware). I think part of that was just the result of trying to get too cute with his short irons. Sometimes you just have to accept a 20-footer and move on. Jordan will learn that sooner or later.
Changes for Sergio: Trevor Immelman made an interesting point on Golf Central Monday. While we normally expect a major win to change a player's life, he didn't expect that to happen to Sergio, simply because he's been in the limelight all his life.
I do think he'll see one change. Finally getting a major -- and getting it the way he did -- will probably result in more supportive American galleries. His attitude wasn't gloating but grateful, especially toward the people who have helped him. It might even be appropriate to say he was humble, and that will go a long way here in the States.
Finally, on opening the major season: Admittedly, we never know exactly what we'll get each year. But if the Masters truly sets the tone going forward, this season will likely be full of surprises. DJ's health in question, Sergio finally breaking through, some unexpected shuffling among the dominant young players coupled with a reemergence of the 30-somethings, and the completely new venue of Erin Hills means we have NO clear direction for the foreseeable future.
The word is that DJ plans to play THE PLAYERS in a couple of weeks, so we'll get some idea how his back is. Sergio has a good record there, of course, and a good attitude to go with it -- a potentially dangerous combination! Justin Rose has an uneven history there but is clearly on-form going in. We can say the same about Rickie Fowler, and the field is the first truly deep one of the season.
If the Masters is a taste of what we might get this year, my mouth is watering!