April 12, 2022
The Masters was a one-man show time two
There have been dominant performances in the past that have turned the Masters tournament into a one-man show. Scottie Scheffler was the main act, but Tiger Woods, just by his mere presence stole some of the spotlight. But nothing could deter the newly anointed number one player in the world his rightful spot as a Masters champion. Ninety players on Thursday had dreams of a green jacket, but only one clearly stood out from all the rest.
The winning margin is listed as a three shot win, but it really wasn't that close. When Tiger was winning Majors by 15, 12, and 8 shots, it was a foregone conclusion early in the tournament that all else were shooting for second. After Scheffler took a five shot lead into the third round, the sentiment amongst the players was the same. They had a chance, but they needed the leader to backup and he certainly didn't give them any hope. Playing with the lead is difficult. It takes a strong mental attitude to keep pushing ahead. Tiger loved a big lead, but he wasn't satisfied and wanted more. Most get a lead and want to protect it. Scottie showed a champions' mindset and kept playing his game that made him ascend to the best in the world. If you are that good, put that quality on display.
Ben Hogan in 1953 won easily by 5 shots, Dr. Cary Middlecoff the next year won by 7, then in 1964 Arnold Palmer won in convincing fashion by 6, only to be outdone by Jack Nicklaus's 9 shot victory the following year. Since Jack's dominant performance in 1965, most Masters have been decided in dramatic fashion coming down the stretch on Augusta National's illustrious back nine on Sunday. Except for Tiger Woods's epic 12 shot triumph in 1997, most of the current champions have prevailed by either play-offs or one and two shot margins. I place Scheffler's win in the dominating category, because no one else could match him. The statistical best player in the world went out and played the like the best in the world and conquered all.
Some of the spotlight was taken by Tiger Woods. That he was even playing was a minor miracle. He was the talk of the tournament from day one. For not competing for 17 months and just making the cut was a major accomplishment. His play showed signs that he can accomplish greater things, but what truly stuck out was the way he was greeted and adored. You could see that Tiger was genuinely moved by the reception and he opened up and was willing to receive the warmth that his fans wanted to show. It was just nice to have Tiger Woods back competing and he now understands even more what his presence means to sports fans all over the world.
The week belonged to Scottie Scheffler and his powerful display of shotmaking that shut everyone else down. Is this the start of a hall of fame career that will rival Hogan, Snead, Palmer, Nicklaus, Watson, Player, and the other greats of the game? Only time will tell that, but this stretch of four wins in six starts is only comparable to what Tiger Woods has accomplished. Will it continue? Again time will tell.