Rahm is a fitting winner but this Masters was over before the back nine

Ronan MacNamara

Jon Rahm (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Multiple weather delays, a soft golf course and a Tiger Woods withdrawal. A tradition like no other but it wasn’t a tournament like no other.

LIV Golf Orlando had more drama…

This was a Masters that simmered but never boiled over.


For so long it looked as if Jon Rahm and Brooks Koepka were going to go head to head. Two of golf’s greatest over the last five years were going to lock horns around Amen Corner on a marathon Sunday.

Viktor Hovland’s five birdie back nine added another dimension to the tournament and while Rahm and Koepka failed to find a birdie on the back nine in round three, it looked as if the Masters was going to come alive on Sunday afternoon.

It never happened and Rahm had this won by the back nine.

The Spaniard took a two shot lead into the final stretch and in Scottie Scheffler fashion, killed the tournament playing risk free, conservative and clinical golf. The kind of golf a killer plays when he has a lead at Augusta.

The conditions weren’t privy to a charge from the pack although Phil Mickelson and Jordan Spieth put up valiant efforts at a golf course that has been so good to them.

Phil the thrill dazzled the patrons, rolling back the years in true lefty fashion. Barking at his golf ball and letting fist pumps go. His birdie on 18 was a throwback to yesteryear and his swashbuckling style was a joy to watch.

Charges never materialised for Hovland or Patrick Cantlay, the latter of whom was disgracefully slow.

Watching Cantlay play golf is like watching Paul Pogba take a penalty. The customary lean forward in anticipation turns into a sore back and a ‘will you ever just f***ng hit the bloody ball!’ Cantlay does more shuffling than LMFAO.

Cantlay’s final round was disgusting. A lack of respect for his playing partner and the final group behind him.

Sunday’s Masters coverage spent a lot of time casting back to the tee box with Rahm and Koepka casting motionless stares at the tortoise golf going on ahead of them.

In the time it takes Cantlay to take a shot you can compile a list of things that move quicker than him.

Coastal erosion, tectonic plates, snails and time itself.

It was hard not to feel sorry for Hovland who had any chance of getting momentum zapped away by the most painful golfer to watch.

Please Greg Norman, if you’re reading, take Cantlay away.

Back to the golf, Rahm was a deserving winner. Questions have always been asked of him does he have the temperament for Augusta National and he answered every question with aplomb.

The first obstacle was hurled his way early on Thursday morning after he four-putted the first green for a double bogey. Rahm proceeded to play the next seventeen holes in 59 shots to share the lead.

The Georgia skies threw everything at him but he came out fighting and once he beat Mother Nature he beat the entire field, quite easily in truth.

Rahm is known as one of the most emotionally charged, heart on the sleeve players in the professional game but he needed to have a complete 360 degree personality change to pull this off.

They say the Masters doesn’t begin until the back nine on Sunday. By the back nine this was already over. The course conditions and length of the par fives scuppered any chances of a back nine charge from the chasing pack.

Shane Lowry was five back with six to play but he could only blow up in smoke while the 13th and 15th holes didn’t provide the barrage of eagles that we have become accustomed to seeing.

Koepka’s challenge never got off the ground on Sunday and the fact he died after 54 holes was the height of irony.

Add in the fact the American became the 12th man to move to -12 through 36 holes only to botch his chances. Nine of the previous eleven players went on to win majors. The outlier? Mr Gregory Norman, twice. Sensational irony.

Questions over how sharp you really are down the stretch after coming from LIV Golf will be asked.




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