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Another Case of the Wrong Guy Winning the Masters

April 9th, 2018 · 1 Comment · Golf

Not many strong opinions here about the game of golf.

I do wonder why so many people eagerly spend so much time and money playing a soul-crushing game. But some of us are Los Angeles Chargers fans, too.

What I do object to is the Masters tournament — “A tradition like no other” — being won by guys hardly anyone wants to see win.

Such as Patrick Reed, champion at Augusta National yesterday.

Who was the ideal winner — aside from his rampant unpopularity among fans, galleries, fellow players and college teammates.

Originally, my notion about the “wrong” champion was about guys who got a green jacket despite a very slender resume, which launched me in 2009 to lament Zach Johnson winning at Augusta National, and prompted me to repeat that complaint in 2016 when Danny Willett of England defeated glamour-puss Jordan Spieth.

We have something similar this time around, for the third time in 10 years.

Reed, he of six career titles, now that he has won the Masters, finished ahead of a half-dozen guys most fans would have been excited to see win. Starting with final-day partner Rory McIlroy, Spieth, Ricky Fowler or even Tiger Woods, who played all 72 holes at Augusta National for the first time in … forever.

As Los Angeles Times columnist Bill Plaschke noted, Reed’s walk up to the final green, and clinching the tournament, usually met by a rolling cacophony of applause at the Masters, was met by … next to nothing.

Because fans did not want Reed to win, was Plaschke’s takeaway, and probably an accurate one. Note how muted the applause was, after Reed sank the winning putt.

Plaschke made reference to Reed’s apparent trouble with alcohol at the University of Georgia, and printed allegations by teammates that he cheated during competition at Georgia and Augusta State.

Also, Reed has been estranged from his parents since 2012, which led to the bizarre reality on Sunday that Reed’s parents, who live in Augusta, did not attend the final day of the tournament. Or any day.

Oh, and there’s this: The Guardian notes that “ESPN asked 103 tour golfers which of their fellow pros they’d be least likely to help out in a fight.” Reed was second to get help in a fight, behind only Bubba Watson. He seems to have several of the same issues (and the same silhouette) of the semi-tragic hacker John Daly.

The nub of this is simple:

At Augusta National, we want accomplished golfers with enthusiastic fans to win.

Is that too much to ask?

(Of late, yes it is. Trevor Immelman in 2008, Angel Cabrera in 2009, Danny Willett in 2016, and now Patrick Reed.)

Here is the Masters we know:

Jack Nicklaus won six times. Arnold Palmer and Woods won four apiece. Look at the list of winners, and it is pretty much a compilation of the great players of their eras, especially from 1988 through 2006 — Lyle, Faldo, Woosnam, Couples, Langer, Olazabal, Woods, O’Meara, Singh, Weir, Mickelson …

Let other guys get their first grand slam victory at the PGA, famous for spitting out random winners. Don’t let it happen at Augusta.

Don’t make fans bite their tongues as an unpopular, graceless soon-to-be champion waddles on up the 18th fairway.

That, is the part of golf I care about.





1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Joseph D'Hippolito // Apr 18, 2018 at 8:54 PM

    Paul, with all due respect, that sounds awfully snobbish. All I know about Reed’s background is what I gleaned from Randy Harvey’s piece in the Los Angeles Times. But what I gathered from that was that Reed overcame his problems. Perhaps I am wrong. But at least he didn’t take performance-enhancing drugs to boost his stats.

    Remember that people like Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb weren’t angels, either. Far from it. Professional athletes often have family problems. Does that make their legitimate accomplishments any less legitimate?

    Yes, it’s a pretty picture to have some popular figure with grace with the Masters. But life isn’t always about pretty pictures. Just look at Tiger Woods. How “pretty” is his life, really?

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