This past week at Augusta National Golf Club produced one of the most memorable Masters of all time. It also generated a lengthy blooper reel of mis-hits, missteps and miscellaneous other oddball moments. In honor of the good, the bad, the ugly and the unexpected, we give you the 11 most indelible memories from a tournament none of us will soon forget.
1. Mick the Shtick
Saturday is moving day at Augusta, and what got moving early was Phil Mickelson’s mouth. In a video he tweeted of his drive down Magnolia Lane, Lefty didn’t just talk strategy. He also talked smack about his third-round playing partner, Matt Kuchar. “Obviously, we’re not going to have any side action today because I’d probably see like, .06 percent today even if I did win,” Mickelson said, in a playful reference to a notoriously stingy tip that earned Kuchar a reputation as a tightwad. Game on. By week’s end, the video had gotten more than 4.2 million views.
2. Da Doo Rahm, Rahm, Da Doo Rahm Shank
These guys are good. They are also human. A reminder came during the second round on Friday, when Jon Rahm, playing his approach on the par-5 8th hole, launched a hosel-rocket into the trees that would have made Tin Cup proud.
3. Sticking the Approach, Nailing the Landing
All these years, you’ve been taught to finish high, with your tummy to the target. Nuh-uh. As Kiradech Aphibarnrat showed you, the real secret to crisp ball-striking is to drop to your knees just after impact, then tumble awkwardly onto your back. Take that Hogan. Aphibarnrat’s shot settled on the 17th green, even with the stick.
4. These Guys Are Human, Part II
“I mean, y’all can laugh. That’s embarrassing,” Zach Johnson said, after accidentally cue-balling a shot with his practice swing on the 13th hole on Friday. Don’t worry, Zach. We did.
5. Woods in the Woods
There are no pictures on the scorecard. But if there were, they’d show Tiger in the trees to the left of the 14th fairway on both Thursday and Friday, threading the pines with his approach shots and converting birdie each time through.
6. Water, Water, Everywhere
Hell hath no fury like the 12th hole at Augusta, the itty-bitty beauty also known as Golden Bell. What it did to Jordan Spieth in 2016, the 12th did this year to four players in the hunt on Sunday. Ian Poulter. Brooks Koepka. Tony Finau. Francesco Molinari. One by one, they took their shots. And one by one, they walked off with watery double bogeys, their chances all but drowned in Rae’s Creek.
7. An Iron to the Heart
Stripped of context, a conservative 9-iron to the left-center of the green would not have qualified as an assertive statement. But this was the 12th hole on Sunday at the Masters, where four others in the hunt had already found the drink, so Tiger’s safe approach landed with a message: the coldest of cold-blooded closers had returned.
8. The Keystone Cop
If it hadn’t looked so serious, the Benny Hill soundtrack might have sufficed. It happened on the 14th hole on Friday, when a security guard, hustling to get between the Man and the masses, went slip-sliding in the mud, clipping Woods as he walked after his approach shot. Looking gimpy at first, Tiger wasn’t hurt and went on to make birdie. But the incident went viral, with loads of online chatter about one guy’s brush with infamy.
9. Pocket Aces
What do Baskin-Robbins and Augusta National have in common? Absolutely nothing. Except that the Masters has now seen 31 aces, one for every flavor at the ice cream shop. The two most recent came on Sunday. The first in the early morning from Bryson DeChambeau on the 16th hole (remarkably, it was his first career hole-in-one). A few hours later, on the same par-3, Justin Thomas put the cherry on top.
10. An Unprecedented Start
Is this the Masters, or the Rocket Mortgage Classic? At first glance, Augusta took on a less-than-august look for the final round, when fast-approaching storms forced a first-ever change in the traditional Sunday format, with tee times pushed up, twosomes turned to threesomes, and players starting on both the 1st and 10th holes. Once the action heated up, though, all that was forgotten. This was the Masters. There was lightning in the forecast, and electricity in the air.
11. The Celebration
The Sunday outfit looked familiar. So did the fist-pumps from the man in bullfight red. But there were no illusions. This time was different. You could see it in his face, and hear it from the patrons. “Tiger! Tiger! Tiger!” they chanted. They might as well have been shouting “Rocky,” so cinematic was the moment. The greatest sporting comeback ever was complete.