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2018 Masters

It is finally here.

April 05, 2018 - 9:55 am

It is finally here. After weeks of buildup and anticipation, it’s Day One of The Masters. But before we get into today, let’s take a moment to review 2018 in golf so far by running down some of the winners since the calendar turned: Dustin Johnson, Jon Rahm, Jason Day, Bubba Watson, Justin Thomas, Phil Mickelson, and Rory McIlroy. Even Eldrick has been solid.  

Truthfully, you could not have scripted the leadup any better. Even yesterday gave us another magical Masters moment when Gary Nicklaus Jr, grandson of the Golden Bear, hit a hole-in-one with Jack, Gary Player, and Tom Watson standing next to him.

How awesome was that moment? I’ll let Jack himself tell you in a tweet: ‘With all due respect to The Masters, allow me to put my 6 Green Jackets in the closet for a moment and say that I don’t know if I have had a more special day on a golf course. To have your grandson make his first hole-in-one on this stage.... WOW! #Family #memoryofalifetime’

The man who’s had more special moments on a golf course than anyone else in history, just had his most special and he was just an observer. Truly incredible. 

Almost as incredible as show favorite Tony Finau hitting a hole-in-one on the seventh in the par-three tournament and then absolutely murdering his ankle in the celebration.

That went from really awesome to really disgusting in a matter of seconds. I’m not a doctor, but ankles shouldn’t bend like that. My man looks like he put his foot on backwards. That’s like something out of Saw.

So what did he do? Popped it back into place and kept on rolling. Like it was the most normal thing in the world.

Drop an ace at Augusta, drop your ankle onto the ground, pick it up and put it back in, and then head on to the next hole. 

If that’s me and my ankle goes like that, I’m lying on the sacred turf of Augusta in a puddle of tears and vomit. But Finau popped it back in. And if you want to clown him for not being athletic, if you want to go with some tired smack about that’s what happens when golfers try to jump, then step off. Because you’ve clearly never seen Tony dunk. The dude is an athlete and a golfer. And to prove that, he was cleared to play today. Incredible.

So that was Wednesday at The Masters – a moment from a Hollywood film and a moment from a horror film. And that’s before we even talk about the contenders. That’s before we talk about the actual favorites to win this. 

Is it the year that Rickie Fowler finally breaks through and shakes the title of best to never win a major? Hefty has a horrendous wardrobe and a ton of confidence, could he turn back the clock? Justin Thomas is quickly turning into a monster. After winning at Bay Hill, does Rory complete the career grand slam? 

And then there’s Eldrick, who’s playing better than he has in years. But rather than give you my take on him and whether he still has that intimidation factor, I’ll give you Dustin Johnson’s take on him: "He's got a little bit of an intimidation factor still. But it is Tiger Woods. He's probably one of the best players to ever play the game.”

Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Pump the brakes, are you sure you want to go out a limb like that, DJ? Tiger Woods is “probably one of the best players to ever play the game.” Damn. That’s scorching hot. Where do you come out on Babe Ruth? Pretty solid ballplayer. Definitely a top 100 guy or do you want to think about it? How about Michael Jordan? Would he crack your list of the top 75 basketball players of all-time? I, Dustin Johnson, can say without fear of being wrong, that In-N-Out is one of the top 15 restaurants…that serve hamburgers…on the West Coast. 

Look, I’m with you, Dustin. Tiger Woods probably is one of the best players to ever play the game. He’s definitely one of the top 50 players. I mean, I don’t want to put words in your mouth, Dustin, especially when you’re going out on a limb like that, but when you really drill down on it, crunch the numbers, and run the analytics, I could make a strong case that Woods is right in there among the top 35. And if he somehow manages to win this weekend, look out. Then it’s top 20 for sure. 

What I’m saying is that the buildup has been perfect. If the next four days can match the buildup, this will be special. Guys are already playing. The course looks good. Everything feels good. I like our chances.