Make The Cut Or Go Home
Yesterday was a day of reckoning at the Masters, with several golfers finishing within 2 strokes of the lead. However, today is moving day at the Masters. One Saturday every year, the most watched golf major of the year, The Masters is when players make their move up and down the leaderboard. Last November, with the shift of the tournament due to COVID-19, Dustin Johnson started pulling away on Saturday which led to his dominant first Green Jacket by end of day Sunday for his second Major win and first Masters win.
His 72-hole score of 268 (20-under par) was the lowest such score in the history of the Masters, played 84 times. What a perfect setting it was with Tiger Woods, the 2019 Masters champion, placing Dustin’s Green Jacket on him for the first time in his career. Tiger unfortunately will not be competing this year at the Masters, where he has won 5 times, due to a violent car accident on February 23, 2021. The only golfer to have more wins at the Masters than Tiger Woods is Jack Nicklaus with 6 Green Jackets.
On this second Saturday of April, after a 7 under first round and an even second round, Justin Rose is poised for his first Green Jacket after coming up short in 2015 and 2017 with second place finishes.
The History Of Moving Day
The history of Moving day is geared towards the players making the cut and moving up and down the leaderboard. The field was cut to 50 players after the cut line was established at the end of play Friday. In 2013, the cut rule was amended to the top 50 players and ties, plus any player within 10 strokes of the leader. The most recent rule change came in 2020 and eliminated players within 10 strokes of the leader ending with the top 50 players and ties. In other non-major PGA tournaments, the number of players making the cut drops from the top 70 to the top 65 and ties with the new rules.
With Over 13 Million People Watching
Over 13 million people watch Saturday and Sunday at the Masters. As a man over 50 myself and an avid golfer, the beauty of Augusta National and the rich traditions set by the founder and amateur Bobby Jones makes this Major Tournament like no other. From Magnolia Lane to Amen Corner to the greenery at Augusta, there is not a prettier golf course on the planet. It has well-manicured fairways, junipers, yellow jasmine and pink dogwoods. What most people don’t know is Augusta National was built on the grounds of the former Fruitland Nursery, which operated from 1857 to 1910, and had imported a wide variety of plants from around the world.
Two Very Important Days
So, the next 2 days will determine the 2021 Masters champion. Can Justin Rose win his first Masters? Will Jordan Spieth, who won the Masters in 2015, win his second? Can Justin Thomas, Hideki Matsuyama or Webb Simpson win their first Green Jacket? Moving Day is when the gloves come off (only when the players are putting) and the players know if they don’t make a move today and are within 4 to 5 strokes of the leader by Sunday morning, most likely they will not have a chance to win The Masters.
The Comeback Kid
The largest comeback at The Masters was on Sunday by 8 strokes, in 1956. Jack Burke Jr. made history when he came from 8 shots back in the final round to defeat amateur Ken Venturi by one shot, setting the record for largest comeback at the Masters. In 1996, Nick Faldo rallied from a 6-shot deficit to Greg Norman entering the final day to win his third green jacket.
So, it has happened in the past, but unless a player in the lead like Jordan Spieth in 2016 implodes, it is hard to make up 6 – 8 strokes in the Final Round. Jordan Spieth held a 5-shot lead with nine holes to play in 2016. He bogeyed numbers 10 and 11, followed by a disastrous quadruple bogey on the 12th, where he put 2 balls in the water, opening the door for Danny Willett to win his first Masters tournament. Crazy things can happen at Augusta when you least expect it, which keeps you watching every shot. The Masters app now allows you to follow every player’s shot, so for the golf enthusiasts like me, I don’t miss a shot.
Outside of the Super Bowl, Final Four, NCAA Football National Championship and the Kentucky Derby, there is nothing better than THE MASTERS during Moving Day on Saturday and Sunday.
*All photos provided courtesy of Marc Serota.