Feel-good moment of the day – Ernie Els
After the horror show of last year when the South African spent much of the first day trying to hole out at the opening hole this was all much more palatable. This will likely be Els’ final playing visit to Augusta and he gave himself a real chance of making it a four-round visit after a level-par 72. Who knows he might sneak another extension?
First up he parred the first to exorcise plenty of demons, and then the putter got going on the back nine with four birdies in five holes. Augusta owes Els something, another three rounds this week would be a start.
Spare a thought for… Dustin Johnson
Who else could it be? We might have to retire this category for the rest of the week after the World No. 1’s unfortunate turn of events. The American, going for a first Green Jacket and a fourth straight win, slipped down the stairs in his rented accommodation en route to moving his car and, despite plenty of treatment for his lower back and the last tee time of the day, he wasn’t fit to tee it up.
After a stop-start warm-up the US Open champ called it a day moments before his 2.03pm tee time.
“I was doing everything I could to try to play. I just don’t feel like there’s any chance of me even competing,” Johnson said. “I want to play, more than anything. I just can’t swing the club. It sucks, I want to play.”
Johnson hit 15 wedges, stopped for some therapy before hitting the rest of his bag including just eight drivers, which his brother had to tee up, before a debrief with his team and Fred Ridley, the chairman of Augusta National’s competition committee. He would have been allowed treatment throughout the round but decided that he wasn’t up to it. Frustratingly Johnson thought he might be OK in a couple of days.
Best shot – Martin Kaymer (with a special mention to Bubba Watson)
Poor old Martin hasn’t had much to smile about at Augusta, he seemed to lose about three years of his career to try and add a draw to his armoury so he could be more competitive here, so let’s give his eagle chip at two the nod over Bubba’s putt from around half a mile at 14. And Bubba’s putt at 16 where he had to aim three quarters of a mile right of the hole after hitting his first putt one-tenth of the distance he meant to.
And we like the old-school celebration from the German. And we’ve got footage of it which is the main reason.
Kaymer then went from one under after six to signing for a 78.
— Masters Tournament (@TheMasters) April 6, 2017
Worst shot – Brian Stuard
This might seem a bit harsh given the slight guesswork but the resulting treble-bogey seven provides some evidence that Stuard pretty much hit it off the planet with his tee shot at the first.
There’s every chance that his ball might have ended up bouncing down Berckmans Road…
Best quote – Jordan Spieth
“I was a bit surprised how loud the cheer was when my ball landed 35 feet from the hole,” Spieth said after he knocked his tee shot onto the back fringe at the 12th. After what happened last year the American received a huge ovation as he arrived on the tee.
Worst quote – Lee Westwood
I’m not actually sure what he said as he spent the great majority of his post-round interview passing some food around his mouth. Despite recording five straight birdies over the back nine there was barely a smile but the hardest bit to fathom was what was in his gob. The clever money was on a mint and, whatever it was, Sergio Garcia dipped his hand in the same trough just after.
Best image – Jack Nicklaus
Jack raises his cap to The King in what was a predictably emotional gathering and wouldn’t old Arnie have enjoyed what followed. Nicklaus, with some custom-fitting advice from Rory earlier in the week, ripped it past Gary Player.
“Well, the official word was that it was a little past, but Gary’s claiming a tie [laughter],” Nicklaus said.
Got dressed in the dark – Jimmy Walker
Some people just look just so good in any clothes (see below), some just don’t. Jimmy Walker is a lot of things but a clothes horse he is not. Given you have months to consider your Augusta ‘scripting’ to turn up looking like this on Masters Thursday is not the best.
While ‘red and green should never be seen’, the same pretty much goes for this get up. Imagine the financial consultant at your local club who has just taken up the game and takes three lessons every week.
Best dressed – Henrik Stenson
I’ll let you into a little secret. As long as Stenson or Adam Scott are playing then the likelihood is they will boss and govern this category.
Old Scotty Dog was the pre-tournament favourite but his fawn ensemble didn’t really get the job done though he still looked pretty dreamy.
So the Open champion gets the nod with another example of some outstanding knitwear, the perfect slack and traditional footwear.
Ideally there wouldn’t be a baseball cap or shades but we can’t have everything.
Stenson’s curious relationship with the place continued as he stumbled to an opening 77.
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