This years Masters Toonament was a disaster from the get go. For starters, the Annual Raptor's Symposium was suspended due to the surgery on the left foot/ankle that The Raptor had in January. Still not capable of weight bearing ambulation at this time has made it difficult to get around. So, The Raptor was forced to stay home for the whole event and watch four days plus of tedium.
If you had tuned into the pre-Toonament TV coverage on The Golf Channel, you were given a dizzying amount of deep thoughts from the capable color commentators that occupy space in those studios: Gary Williams, Damon Hack, Cara Robinson, John Cook, Chris DeMarco, Rich Lerner, Steve Sands, Brandel Chamblee, David Duval, Aaron Oberholser, Kelly Tollghman, Tripp Eisenhour, Jim Gallgagher, Jr. Phil Blackmar, Charlie Rymer, Tim Rosaforte and Lisa Cornwell. They all got into the mix at one time or another to hope and pray that a responsible story line would be the order of the day.
Unfortunately, the following lines had Epic Fails.
Phil Mickelson wins for the fourth time to tie Arnold Palmer and Tiger Woods - Fail - Mickelson missed the cut.
Rory McIlroy wins for the first time to complete the career Grand Slam - Fail - McIlroy shoots 77 in third round while paired with leader Spieth
Jordan Spieth wins for the second year in a row, a feat only accomplished by Jack Nicklaus, Nick Faldo and Tiger Woods.- Fail - Spieth leads toonament for 3 and 1/2 rounds and had built a 5 stroke advantage by hole #10on Sunday. Ms. Raptor had wondered after hole #7 if Jordan could win and The Raptor said at the time, "if he birdies hole #8, it's his toonament to lose" So, Spieth, promptly falls apart at hole number 12 making a quad bogey 7 after poorly struck Drivers on holes 10 and 11 led to bogeys.
This was not only a Fail but it was an Supra fail - may be the biggest flip flop in Major Championship history.
Also in consideration was Jason Day, the sympathetic Aussie who is poised to be considered a great player and could have solidified the moniker if he had won this year's Master's after his big win in The PGA last August. Day, who recently won back-to-back events on The PGA Tour, was in the mix for most of the toonament but a mediocre start of 72 - 73 left him 5 stokes behind leader Spieth who shot 66 - 74 in extremely windy conditions. Day's weekend scores of 71 - 73 left him tied for 10th place at the end of the event.
Two other players deserve mention here. Lee Westwood and Dustin Johnson. Both of these players had legitimate chances to win on Sunday but their balky putters could not sustain success on Augusta Nationals tricked up crusty putting surfaces. Westwood's chip in from behind the 15th green on Sunday was an epic quality shot. Meanwhile, Johnson went through his usual motions that only substantiate his failure to get into the final mix at last season's Us Open at Chambers Bay
Another story line which will certainly grow in stature over time was the three hole-in-ones at the 16th hole on Sunday by Shane Lowry, Davis Love III, and Louis Oosthuizen. Add in Matt Kuchar's "Davis Love and Tiger Woods Like" chip in from behind the 16th green to the mix and it is certain that the Patrons who witnessed those spectacles were glad to have parked their lawn chairs there.
So, at the end of the day we were left with Danny Willett. A 27 year old Euro Tour Player currently ranked 12th in the Official World Golf Tally. He crafted a bogey free 67 on the final day to win the toonament by 2 strokes over Spieth and Westwood. Willet has recently stepped his game up to another level and finished second to McIlroy in last season's Race To Dubai. He should be a factor in each of the remaining majors and is now considered the second seat for England's Olympic Team along with Justin Rose.
Naturally, the pundits are scratching their heads this morning and wondering if Spieth is now "scarred" from this experience. Well...yes and no. Spieth has already tasted agonizing defeat courtesy of last year's British Open Championship where he finished one stroke out of a playoff which if he had won, would have continued his quest for an In-Season Grand Slam. Spieth has drawn some Twitter criticism today with his "Not In The Face" request as he left the golf course. The Raptor supposes that since Spieth elected to sign up for the event, he has to allow all the theatrics to play out, even those that are unagreeable.
The Raptor has yet to tune into The Golf Channel today but there is no doubt that Spieth is being torn down due to his inability to hit his driver with any consistency. Jeeeze, let's move on - The Golf Season as we know is just starting - Jordan Spieth will be back and we will be there to witness it.