Monday, April 11, 2016

The Masters Back Nine Timeline

"You know how I always make those 
interesting comments during the game."
The timeline format is the preferred writing crutch of the Fantasy Golf Report because it allows us to capture all of those incredibly insightful thoughts we have as we waste half a day watching golf while also giving us the opportunity to polish them up with the benefit of a little hindsight. Sure, hardly anyone wants to read what is effectively a collection of stale tweets these days but the Masters is a throwback golf tournament and the FGR is a throwback enterprise so we don't give a rat's ass. (Not that anyone would want a rat's ass or be upset about not getting a rat's ass).      

Let's pick this up with the contenders starting the back nine and Jordan Spieth about to make another birdie at No. 8. Dustin Johnson just birdied No. 9 to get to one under and that is key for the FGR's game within the game because my league's crack commissioner was savvy enough to exclude Spieth from the pool of available players meaning that second place today could pay new driver money and who among us isn't always in the market for a new driver. Let's go live (all times approximate). 

4:48: Ian Baker Finch just noted that it's been a long wait for Spieth while Smylie Kaufman gets a ruling behind the eighth green. Of course as he notes this we get an extended shot of Spieth just standing there waiting which is only slightly more mind numbing than the 87 minutes of airtime that was devoted to Spieth walking from shot to shot over the weekend. This never would've happened on Frank Chirkanian's* profanity laced watch. ("Cut to someone hitting a f-cking golf shot dammit!")

4:50: D.J. just stuffed another one close on No. 10. I'd love to see his putting stats from 3-8 feet. (Actually, no I wouldn't).

4:55: Spieth birdies No. 8 to take a four shot lead. That's a nice cushion when you're arguably the best putter in the world and the guys chasing you are D.J., Lee Westwood and Rory McIlroy who probably wouldn't be the best putters in any given Sunday morning IHOP crowd (did I mention that D.J. can't putt?). 

4:59: D.J. runs his birdie putt on No. 10 by the hole which means he has now officially left a bazillion shots out there . . . or one less than Rory and two less than Jason Day.

5:00: I can't tell if Danny Willett is dressed as a milkman or Dexter. Either way, he's kind of creeping me out.

5:01: Kuch holes his chip from behind 16. We already had two aces and now that. Let's hope they're still playing for something when the leaders get there.

"That's 'Sir Nicholas Alexander
Faldo' if you please sir."
5:03: Spieth rolls it in on No. 9. We may be winding this timeline down sooner than we thought. Then again, maybe if the lead is so far out of reach, D.J. will tear-up the back and put some change in my pocket. Then again, maybe Nick Faldo won't find a dozen ways to make this back nine all about himself. Long odds all around.  

5:10: Louis Oosthuizen makes the third ace out of the forty-four players who've played No. 16. That pin position is starting to seem a little clown's mouthy. I'm just sayin'.

5:14: Paul Casey brings it home at one under. To quote something I read last week, "Casey is probably never going to win a major but if you need a top ten, he's your man."

5:17: Spieth actually misses a par putt and Faldo, speaking for most of us, says "finally." Nothing against Spieth. Just looking for some drama on the back nine after the snooze fests of 2014 and 2015.

5:32: D.J. leaves another key putt short at No. 13. I think his caddie just said "never up, never in" and D.J. responded with "that's what she said."

5:33:  Spieth gives another shot back at No. 11. No shame in that. Those holes are like par 4.5's and he avoided big numbers (I swear I wrote that in the moment).

5:36: Right on cue, Spieth dumps it in the water on No. 12. "Thanks for coming everyone, allow me to hold the door for you to enter my golf tournament. Hey, that's expensive, don't touch that!"  

5:40: Spieth just dumped ball number two into the water. Now my rooting for him to stumble makes me feel like I'm in a movie where the high school prank went horribly wrong. "(Sobbing) We just wanted a competitive back nine! We didn't mean to kill him!" 

5:44: And boom, he's lying five in the back bunker. I don't care who you are. When it starts going sideways like this, it's tough to keep your faculties together. This is where a bag of Bud Lights on ice in the back of the cart comes in handy. 

5:47: A seven!?! Really!?! Well, we're going to find out what Jordan Spieth is made of now. Meanwhile, it just became Danny Willett's golf tournament to lose. How in the hell did that just happen?

5:49: Lee Westwood appears to have found a work around for his putting problem by chipping in for eagle at No. 15. My head is spinning. I honestly have no idea what the leaderboard looks like at this moment.    

5:53: Willett appears to be up for the challenge after that shot at No. 16. He bypassed the clown's mouth and threw a dart right at the hole. 

5:56: D.J. rips a shot from the county jail to the Ritz Carlton on No. 15. Will he finally get a putt to the hole? The way he's rolling them, it's almost like he once hit a really important putt too hard and it cost him. May need to do some research on that.

5:59: Lee Westwood with a devastating three putt. I will quote myself again, "his putting stroke is about as fluid and rhythmical as the Electric Slide at an accounting firm's Christmas party."

6:00: Peter Kostis just called this "one of the most important twenty foot putts that Dustin Johnson will ever have." It's that kind of commentary that makes Kostis a fixture on the Masters coverage. I guess.

"He said 'sixty-nine."
6:01: Well at least D.J. got it there. I guess that's a sign of progress. Unfortunately, it took sixty-nine holes to make it happen. 

6:02: Now a hole in one by someone in contention on No. 16 would be reeeaaallly exciting. Start rehearsing your line Verne.

6:07: Is it Danny Willett's turn to hold the door for everyone from behind the 17th green? Nope. He may have iced it with that chip.  

6:12: I thought for sure Verne was going to say "like Westwood, but eleven years younger, Dustin Johnson also can't putt worth shit." Instead, he said something about neither of them ever winning a major which I'm sure was news to about nine viewers. Come on Verne, that's Kostis level drivel. You're better than that. 

6:17: I was wrong. Danny Willett is dressed like a bag of onions . . . big white badass onions. 

6:21: Spieth's tee shot on No. 15 ends-up on some kind of drain. Where's Gary McCord when you need him? 

6:22: Needing to birdie the last two holes, D.J. predictably dumps it into the bunker on No. 17. Watching D.J. at the majors is like trying to watch your kid learn how to ride a bike . . . for seven years.  


6:23: And then Willett all but wins the tournament with his second shot on No. 18. Allow me to quote myself a third time, "the last time I felt this level of conviction about the favorites was 2008 when Trevor Immelman won the Masters that never happened." The lesson as always is that I'm an idiot.

6:24: D.J. hits his bunker shot 30 feet past the hole. He's apparently decided that he doesn't want even a minor role in any 18th hole drama today. Maybe he's worried he'll kill someone behind the 18th green trying to hole-out his second shot. 


6:27: Nick Faldo just flummoxed half the audience by saying that Willett aims left and swings left and aims right and swings right. It actually makes sense but probably could've used a touch of explanation, however, it has nothing to do with Faldo's win at the '96 Masters so there's no time for it.  

6:30: D.J. misses his tap-in for bogey on No. 17. The amount of money he's left on the table during his career because of missed putts inside five feet just exceeded the 2015 GDP of Papua New Guinea. 

6:34: Speaking of onions, Jordan Spieth has now birdied 13 and 15 giving himself a reasonable shot at this. 

6:35: Hey look. Smylie Kaufman's back. The over/under on his score today had to be 79.5. 

6:37: Spieth sticks it tight at No. 16 keeping the dream alive for this to be one of the all-time great stories.  

6:41: And D.J. misses one final putt on 18 for good measure. (OK, letting it go now . . . or at least until the U.S. Open). 

6:42: Spieth looks more comfortable under the gun than he did with the five shot lead but that's a huge opportunity missed. Still, he drains the come backer. The way he's played 13-16, I'm not sure you can call this a meltdown. I don't know what you call it.

6:49: Spieth's second shot finds the bunker and now you might be able to call it a meltdown.

6:54: And the last breath of air goes out of the balloon with the missed par putt. For the third year in a row, there will be no drama when the final group tees off on 18.

It's like verbal Sweet'N Low.
6:58: Jim Nantz just couldn't help himself. "Beware the joyous father." You know it's bad when the sentimental line causes the FGW to roll her eyes and say "give me a break."

7:04: The FGW has come alive by accurately pointing-out that Willett looks like Theon Greyjoy. For you non Game of Thrones fans (who have yet to see the light), this became less of a compliment as the series progressed.

Butler Cabin: The final cruel stab for Spieth. Not so much having to put the green jacket on Willett but having to sit there during the hokey interviews. And it had to be awkward as hell for Willett at a time when he should've been enjoying the greatest moment of his golf career. A tradition unlike any other indeed . . . and for good reason.

So there you have it. Something to record arguably the most bizarre Sunday back nine at the Masters for posterity. Just think, a hundred years from now someone is going to stumble onto this and ask "what's a tweet?" 

Footnote

* Frank Chirkanian basically invented the way golf is supposed to be televised during the Greg Norman era by cutting quickly from one player to the next to show as many shots as possible. According to Wikipedia, his nickname was the "Ayatollah" "for his brusque, uncompromising approach to directing broadcasts." That means he dropped a lot of F-Bombs which in turn means he is something of a hero to the FGR. If you want to get a little sample of what he was all about, watch the end of Tin Cup. He's the guy in the production truck directing the meltdown. Next time imagine that's Speith on No. 12.