Englishman Matt Fitzpatrick has won the US Open by one shot over world No.1 Scottie Scheffler and Will Zalatoris to claim his first major…
There are moments in competition that transcend the sport and this year’s Masters could not quite provide such a moment … or did it?
Well, double bunker 72nd-hole greenside slam dunks by Japanese players and Irishmen were bordering on some kind of Georgian green magic, especially when one is a cherished legend pushing for tournament contention, his personal best and maybe a course record.
Plus we had the two hottest players on the planet going head to head for the ultimate prize in golf. That does not often happen.
Scottie Scheffler is a walking contradiction of bible honour and war-field ruthlessness. With the ultimate force in the universe choosing your destiny, all you have to do is play and believe.
His modus operandi seems to be to get out in front and play the field on a break. If no one gets in your face on a two-shot margin, then push it out to three.
If they get in your margin knock them down and restore the order. He may leave the field in his wake but he will never count them out. That is a total understanding of the process of winning.
He’s the product of north Texas junior competition where he was forced into older age brackets such was his domination.
The paradox of such a competitive urge is the need for company while harbouring the desire to be singled out. Winning is its own art form and it comes in the shape of all the individuals who dare.
Had Cameron Smith not dared to win he likely never gets in the game, let alone a top five finish. He adores the Masters’ mystique.
And though his young legacy is currently dominated by a small splash in a tiny creek, such a monstrous stage is only set on the foundations of steady close wedging and eagle-eyed putting. And that’s not the half of it.
Coming from Australia, he’s doing it all again fresh. And although he won’t ever eclipse Greg Norman, that’s only because that man truly was the sunshine in a hat.
A little bit of showmanship can take you a long way and you will play the clown at times. But Fuzzy Zoeller, Bob Tway, Larry Mize and many more will sing your song long and hard deep into the twilight.
So when your two balls are an inch or two apart and you can’t see the pin but you know it’s up there, well, it’s a moment and it’s quick and when it goes in you know it’s over.
Somewhere in your gut you know. You might make the only birdy on the toughest hole to fight again for another shot at the champ but you are thinking ‘should I dare?’ and ‘what will he do to me this time?’
And even more basically, there is the command that ends all careers prematurely: ‘this must never happen again’.
That’s where the clown can be your best friend for the clown will repeat ad nauseam just for the fun of it if it’s funny enough and laugh at the injustice knowing that ridicule can be the greatest of all your warrior weapons.
There was nothing funny about that little splash except maybe the contradiction between the smallness of the noise and the enormity of the monumental blunder.
I’m spewing but I also remember another small sound when Smith’s drive on 18th on the Thursday went west or south.
All you could hear was his one-word Brisbane poem: ‘shit!’