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9 Takeaways From The Masters 2024

By: | Mon 15 Apr 2024

Scottie Scheffler walks away from Augusta having answered all the questions that were asked of him. He produced a masterful performance to win his second Green Jacket because he made fewer mistakes than anybody else and was able to hit the killer shots when it mattered most.

Scheffler's Brilliance

While Collin Morikawa was stumbling to a double-bogey six at the ninth, the world number one was hitting his approach shot to three inches for a three shot swing. And he put the nail in his rivals’ coffin by repeating the shot at the 14th. 

He is now out of sight at the top of the world rankings, having won his third tournament in four starts - and his other finish was a second place. He has played just one over-par round in 2024. It is a remarkable body of work. He drives the ball superbly, his iron play is mind-bogglingly good and he has laid to rest any and all doubts about his supposedly dodgy putting stroke. Quite simply, he putted better than anybody else in the field.

And he did all this knowing that his wife was about to give birth to their first child. Scheffler insists that he is not defined by what he achieves on the golf course. He said that if his wife had gone into labour during the tournament then he would have walked off the course to be at her side - and you just know that he would have done.

So what else did we learn at the 2024 Masters? 

Scottie Scheffler

Tiger's Determination

Let’s start with Tiger Woods. By making the cut the 15-time major champion proved that he remains the most cussed and determined golfer on the planet. He didn’t have his A-game. In fact, he didn’t even have his D-game, but he somehow willed himself through 36 holes and told us that he believed he could still win.

The reality turned out to be somewhat different as he closed out the weekend with rounds of 82 and 77. It proved that no matter what your reputation, what your standing in the game, if you have not played competitive golf then you have absolutely no chance of contending in a major championship. In the end he finished dead last behind even 61-year-old Vijay Singh and Jose Maria Olazabal. We are likely to see Woods again at the US PGA Championship where, once again, he will be making all the right noises.

The reality is that he is now 48 years old, with a body that continues to betray him. As much as it pains me to write this, I believe that his race is run.

Rory's Failed Quest

Rory McIlroy tried yet another approach in his quest to land the career Grand Slam. And yet again it failed him. In the main, he cut a sorry figure as he finished way down the field, missing too many fairways, hitting too many approach shots to the wrong place and failing to get anything going on the greens.

Impact of LIV Golfers

I hate to say that I told you so, but Jon Rahm and his fellow LIV golfers looked undercooked and underprepared. Although they will continue to insist otherwise, 54-hole golf tournaments with no cut and no real pressure are no way to prepare for the cut and thrust of a major like The Masters. Rahm and Tyrrell Hatton spent four days looking and sounding iike the angriest golfers on the planet, cursing their luck at every turn and blaming everybody but themselves when things went wrong - and they did. Often.

Bryson DeChambeau briefly flattered to deceive. His opening round of 65 was wondrous. But thereafter he was fighting a rearguard action. Will he ever learn that reaching for the driver time after time and trying to knock the cover off the ball is never going to work at Augusta National. He hit some incredible drives. He also hit far too many into the trees, and that is not a place from which you can win The Masters. He still seems to believe that he can beat any golf course into submission with his incredible power but the evidence suggests otherwise.

Aberg is The Real Deal

What we did learn is that Ludvig Aberg is the real deal. And how. His play over the weekend was hugely impressive. It was impossible to believe that not only was this his first Masters, but it was also his first major. He finished four shots behind Scheffler despite finding the water at the 11th and walking off with a double-bogey six. Instead of getting down on himself, Aberg smiled, shrugged his shoulders and battled his way back up the leaderboard. 

There is not the slightest doubt in my mind that we were watching a future major champion. He plays the game the right way. He gets to the ball, decides what club he wants to hit and pulls the trigger. And no matter what the outcome, his demeanour never changes. It is as if he can’t quite believe his luck. I wish that more of the world’s top golfers played the game with a smile on their faces, as the Swede does. In your first appearance at Augusta, you are not meant to be able to produce a performance such as the one we saw from him.

Morikawa & Homa's Performances

Max Homa and Morikawa both briefly flattered to deceive. Unlike Aberg, when Morikawa make his mistake at the ninth, his shoulders slumped and he compounded the mistake by finding the water at the 11th for another double bogey. Homa’s hopes ended in the cabbage at the back of the 12th green. It is remarkable how many world-class golfers have come to grief over the years at this seemingly innocuous golf hole that measures only 155 yards.

Homa has had a poor start to 2024 but I suspect that his play at Augusta may be the catalyst for him to contend in more majors. Like Aberg, he doesn’t let his poor shots define his round, and he does not throw hissy fits.

Tommy Fleetwood Back in The Mix

It was wonderful to see England’s Tommy Fleetwood in the mix at another major. His tied-third was his best finish at Augusta, and here’s the thing - he finished seven shots behind Scheffler but had he putted well then he would have given the American a run for his money. Fleetwood struck the ball beautifully for 72 holes but the key difference between him and the winner is that Scheffler had every part of his game under control. Tommy is one of the most popular players on tour. His peers love him and the galleries love him. It surely cannot be long before he finally wins on American soil.

Brutal Augusta Conditions

There were many who suggested that when the wind blew during the second round, Augusta National was unplayable. If that was the case how was Aberg, in his first Masters, able to negotiate the course in 69 strokes? He proved that no matter how tricky things are, if you put the ball in the right place it is possible to make a decent score in any conditions.

Fashion Sense

And on that same day, we also learnt that Jason Day’s fashion sense leaves something to be desired. Why would anybody don baggy trousers when the wind was gusting at speeds of up to 40mph? There were times when Day, who played with Woods during the first two rounds, looked like he was going to take off. And as for THAT jumper - the one he was asked by officials to remove - I have only one question: why?

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