GOLF.com conducts a weekly roundtable with its staff to break down the game’s hottest topics. And since it’s Masters week, we are answering one burning question each night. Check in every Sunday evening for the unfiltered opinions of our writers and editors and join the conversation by tweeting us @golf_com.
Patrick Reed leads, Rory McIlroy is lurking and Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson did just enough to stay in Augusta for the weekend. At the halfway point of the 82nd Masters, what’s been the biggest surprise so far?
Dylan Dethier: Tiger Woods! I mean, now that we’re here it feels like we should have seen this coming, but I thought he was going to win.
Alan Shipnuck: Um, Dylan, some of your more seasoned colleagues saw it coming. (Raises hand.) The biggest surprise is that so many of the best players in the world are on the leaderboard, simply because we were all pining for this kind of shootout and instead of getting our hearts broken it’s actually coming true. Rory, Jordan, Dustin, JT and Rickie are all in striking distance of our favorite antihero Patrick Reed, setting up an epic weekend.
Michael Bamberger: The biggest surprise to me through 36 holes is the death-march pace of these first two rounds. Five and a half hours, with 29 threesomes on the course? That tells you that the walk is too long and the greens are too fast, but that’s the defense of par, these days.
Josh Sens: I’d pretend to be surprised by Patrick Reed but (ahem) he was my dark horse pick on GOLF.com. Nothing Phil does should really be surprising, but his sloppy play on Friday, including some uncharacteristically poor wedges, came somewhat out of the blue. The stars seemed to be lining up for him to be in heat of it come the weekend, not clinging to the cut line.
Sean Zak: This might not be the answer you’re looking for, but Tony Finau walking 36 holes up and down these hills merely hours after dislocating his ankle is surprising as hell to me. And to do it in his first Masters, getting to 2 under, better than all but seven uninjured players. Impressive stuff.
Jessica Marksbury: As someone who picked Tiger to win, I’m definitely surprised by his inability to get into the mix over the past 36 holes. But that aside, I’m also totally surprised by Patrick Reed. We haven’t seen him REALLY contend in the thick of a major championship yet, and given the difficult nature of the course today, I found the fact that he had NINE birdies exceptionally surprising – in a good way, of course! As Alan said, it’s shaping up to be an epic weekend.