Published: Wed, April 11, 2018
Sports | By Brett Lawson

The Masters: Spieth's improbable comeback falls just short at Masters

The Masters: Spieth's improbable comeback falls just short at Masters

So that's it, it's all over!

As the crowds gathered around the practice green at the back of the first tee at Augusta National, where lines of chairs had been placed in order for the presentation of the green jacket to the Masters' newest champion Patrick Reed, the disappointed and frustrated Northern Irishman faced up to reality, some of it a harsh one. He had played in four Masters and completed 12 competitive rounds at Augusta National in that time - you would think he'd have known the course pretty well. The piercing tee shots that had been dissecting fairways all week were in the pine straws and Rory limped home in 74 to eventually finish in a tie for fifth and was one of only four players in the top 30 to be over par on Sunday.

This is a huge initiative for Augusta National to grow the game and recognize that women are a big part of that growth. However, this is a course that takes some knowing and Reed was now ready to make a statement.

Woods had two birdies and an eagle on the back and looked like he would get to even par for the event. Going out first, with a non-competitive marker, he shot a 3-under 69 in the third round. He is ferocious in match play, especially the team variety, and his singles victory over McIlroy at Hazeltine in the 2016 Ryder Cup led to the nickname of Captain America.

McIlroy's challenge had faded in the final round, missing five putts from 10 feet or less on the front nine, finishing the tournament in share of 5th place on 9 under par. "But overall, I am five or six tournaments into it, and to be able to compete here and score like I did feels good". McIlroy made much the better recovery and Reed dropped a shot. Over the four rounds, he'd finished second only to Reed in cumulative putting, but in Sunday's final round that too was an area that betrayed him. Earlier in the week, Hadwin participated in the pre-Masters Par 3 Tournament - which this year was highlighted by the grandson of Jack Nicklaus sinking a hole-in-one. All week, he was deadly with the putter, ice cold.

"We gave our all out there and made P-Reed earn it", Fowler said.

CWG: Indian men's TT team reach final
Although the Indians continued to dominate ball possession, they found it tough to penetrate the well-organised Malaysian defence. India held on to their fourth position in the medals tally, having claimed seven gold, two silver and three bronze medals so far.

The 27-year-old Texan also survived a late move by Fowler, whose final hole birdie forced Reed to make par on No. 18 to win. "I usually take three to four weeks off".

Given the hooting, hollering patriotism of our friends on the other side of the Atlantic, the idea of those all-American fans - sorry, patrons - spurning their own flag bearer in favour of Rory McIlroy will probably have Trump building a wall round Augusta on the grounds of treason. It was all there for him, and now the postmortems will begin. In 2015, CBS showed 35 shots from Woods, the fourth-most of any player, and he finished tied for 17th. This will gnaw for a while. "His name is etched in history, and I'm sure he's going to carry everything that he went through today and go into Paris and try and win a Ryder Cup on European soil". Then he collapsed on a day when many shot lights out, including a 67 by Phil Mickelson. Time will tell where McIlroy will rank. Ten years removed from a major title, at 42 he might still be a factor but his long game is still a work in progress as he plays his way back after spinal fusion surgery.

Spieth is just incredible. Like on 18 today, I hit such a handsome, high 7-iron, and it was a foot away from being back down the hill [toward the pin].

But the way he prepared for this year's tournament was meticulous. The only thing that puzzles me is why he didn't check the leader boards yesterday.

Reed has always been able to put the family drama aside on the course, as he did again during a final round when he was not at his very best. English golfer Eddie Pepperell calls Spieth an absolute beast on Twitter and he is right.

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