The Masters delivered a tremendous weekend of golf. The first major of the PGA Tour season was totally fantastic.
Winning Time for Danny Willett
Danny Willett entered this week as the OWGR’s #12 and shot 67 on Sunday to finish the tournament at 5-under par. Willett finished three shots ahead of Lee Westwood and Jordan Spieth. The majority of fans in the U.S. might not be familiar with Willett. He was an accomplished amateur player in England and still reasonably young (28 yrs). Willett just recently became a father and comes from humble beginnings. Willett’s father is a pastor and his mother is a math teacher. Willett played collegiately at Jacksonville State in Alabama.
Jordan Spieth Collapse
I thought Spieth had the tournament won before he made it to the 10th hole. I still felt pretty sure he was going to win after making bogey on the 10th and 11th holes. The 12th hole was devastating and Spieth carded a quadruple-bogey. Spieth hit his tee shot in the water and elected to not use the designated drop zone. The decision to do so was perplexing and he surely would’ve practiced at least a few shots from the drop zone leading up to the event. The resulting score crushed his chances and he was unable to make back the shots he lost.
Spieth led most of the tournament and played flawlessly on Thursday. I thought he didn’t leave any shots on the course and it was truly impressive. The rest of the week was a mix of sensational putting and timely shots. Spieth consistently started strong and faltered late in rounds. He played slowly and was clearly uncomfortable with his swing. I was impressed with his ability to make putts and his ability to make par when things seemed to get tough. I was, however, unsurprised that his poor ball-striking eventually cost him when it mattered most.
- Willett uses Callaway equipment and I think it’s the first major win for Callaway in several years.
- Jordan Spieth’s Under Armour kits looked great and he would have won a best dressed award for this week.
- Nike’s pullovers look somewhat feminine and even guys with muscular frames (McIlroy and Casey) can’t make them look like they didn’t come from the women’s running department.
- Willett putts with the same left hand low method used by Spieth and McIlroy (debatably). It’s something that most golfers aren’t as familiar with and should probably give a try.
- Bryson DeChambeau was the low amateur and finished the tournament 5-over par. I find his approach to the game to be fascinating. He’s sort of a golf scientist and is extremely analytical. He turns professional next week.
Levi’s Picks & Totals
The week was tough on most of the players due to wind and a firm course. I thought my picks were reasonably good. Dustin Johnson and Paul Casey both finished T-4th and earned $413,333. Johnson was probably the best player this week from tee-to-green and struggles with the putter ruined his bid for his first major title. Casey was great on Thursday and Sunday. He made too many bogeys and couldn’t stay steady on Friday and Saturday. Rory McIlroy finished T-10th and earned $230,000. McIlroy struggled a bit in the winds, however, he was in the final group on Saturday. He shot a 77 and looked like he was really struggling on the green. It didn’t help that he kept putting himself in a tough position off the tee and could never really get anything going. McIlroy isn’t a grinder and he can’t turn that 77 into a 72. I am curious if he’ll stick with his current putting method or go back to a traditional grip. McIlroy runs hot and cold with the putter and he was cold this week. Matt Kuchar earned $89,000 and finished T-24th. Adam Scott finished with mediocre T-42nd and earned $37,000. Ryan Moore missed the cut and made $10,000.
Total Winnings This Week: $1,192,666
Total Winnings This Year (6 events): $5,488,412