A Tradition Changed
November 20, 2020
It’s April, the Azaleas are blooming as the best in the world roll up Magnolia Lane. The patrons fill the grandstands of Augusta National hoping to see more memorable moments like Sarazans shot in 35’ or Tigers chip in 05’. The Masters have produced many legendary moments over the years. The April Tournament is the first of the four majors and the most coveted ticket in golf. Augusta National Golf Club, The home of The Masters, is one of if not the most exclusive clubs in the world. Just to be on the grounds is a dream of every golfer, and since it is so hard to get a membership, the way to accomplish that dream, if they are like most golfers, is to go to The Masters. Jim Nantz’s famous phrase, “A Tradition unlike any other.” Rings true at Augusta. But due to the covid 19 pandemic, this year has been anything but traditional. Due to the pandemic, golf was shut down and The Masters was postponed to November, becoming the last major of the year. The Azalea Pink was replaced by fall red and golds, and the Georgia Sun was replaced by fall wind. The Tradition that Jim Nantz speaks of is still there but it has been changed.
One of the issues with having the Tournament in the fall is the hurricane season in the south. Thirty minutes after the first round started, the play was suspended due to inclement weather. The play was suspended for over three hours and the afternoon tee times didn’t finish until the next day. After round one of the 84th Masters, three players were tied for the lead. South African Dylan Frittelli, British Paul Casey, and world number one American Dustin Johnson were all tied at seven under par. Last year’s winner Tiger Woods was not far behind at four under par. The first round lived up to expectations with 52 of the 92 players being under par and still in contention for the green jacket.
By the final day, there was one person in the lead and it was a sizable one at that. World’s number one, Dustin Johnson, led by four strokes at sixteen under par, tying the Masters 54 hole scoring record. All Johnson had to do was shoot a three-under 69 to beat the Masters 72 hole, scoring a record of eighteen under par. He did more than shooting a four-under par 68 to capture his first green jacket and his second major title. He ended up beating the scoring record by two strokes which were previously held by Tiger Woods and Jordan Speith. He also tied the scoring record for all majors by tying Jason Day’s twenty under par at the 2015 PGA Championship. When walking back to the clubhouse, Johnson ran into former winner Bubba Watson “Welcome to Club.” Referring to the fact that once you win the Masters you become a member at Augusta National. Johnson responded to Watson saying, “I’ve always wanted one of those.” Referring to Watsons green jacket.
The historic November Masters did not disappoint with a new champion and new record. While it was different without the fans and the colors of spring, the hues of fall and the winds of November wrote a new chapter in this tournament’s storied history. In five months the best players will return to Augusta and the colors of spring will also return. The fall wind won’t be present in April, and the greens will be fast again. But no one will forget what a Master’s was like in November.