The Masters 2016: 5 things we learned this weekend
The Masters 2016 has now come to a conclusion—Jim Nantz has occupied and taken up time in Butler Cabin, the Green Jacket has been awarded, and now everyone is clearing out of Augusta National Golf Club. Englishman Danny Willett won his first career Green Jacket and Major Championship with the victory this weekend and all the praise and adulation is directed toward the 28-year-old.
However, there's much more to take away from The Masters than just the fact that Willett won. After all, there were a plethora of other storylines to follow as the leaderboard was seemingly a conglomerate of shuffling parts from Thursday to Sunday and the fact that the one constant at the top of the leaderboard in Jordan Spieth suffered one of the quickest collapses and implosions that we've ever seen at The Masters before.
Things always get crazy when it comes to The Masters and Augusta, but 2016 felt like it was just a notch wilder than ever before. Maybe it was things like Louis Oosthuizen deflecting his ball off another ball for a hole-in-one or the fact that it felt like anyone could win all weekend that made it feel that way, but that air was inescapable.
Now that the 2016 Masters has concluded, though, we can look back at everything at happened, figure out what's important, and move forward from there. With that in mind, these are the five things we learned from The Masters 2016.
Bryson DeChambeau Is A Name to Watch
It's hard to remember a time in recent memory when an amateur player had as much hype as Bryson DeChambeau did as he walked into Augusta for The Masters 2016. As both the NCAA National Champion and the U.S. Amateur Champion—in addition to already having a bit of a reputation due to his idiosyncrasies in the way he approaches the game and even with his clubs—DeChambeau came into The Masters with a lot of buzz around him.
Perhaps more impressive than anything that caused the buzz was that he lived up to it in a lot of ways. Over the first two days at Augusta while some of the best players in the world were faltering, the 22-year-old amateur was composed and shot two 72s to remain at even-par for the tournament heading into the weekend. Sure, the end of his third round derailed him a bit, but he rebounded with another 72 on Sunday to finish tied for 21st.
At his age, with his pedigree, and with what he showed at Augusta this weekend, DeChambeau is going to be heard from again on the PGA Tour and soon. He announced in Butler Cabin after the conclusion of The Masters that he's turning pro and that should put the rest of the tour on notice because, believe it or not, the "Mad Scientist" is legit.
Wind Makes Augusta a Bear
As stated, one of the most impressive things that DeChambeau did this weekend at The Masters was to remain at even-par throughout the first two rounds of the tournament while many other players—both of the highest caliber and lowest caliber—faltered. A big reason why that was such an impressive feat is because of the conditions that the wind that hung around for the first three days at Augusta.
When Jordan Spieth was running away with the tournament last year, the conditions weren't 100 percent ideal, but they were far better than they were this year. The conditions completely changed everything about the course at Augusta and thus changed The Masters Tournament as a whole. The big hitters didn't have as much of an advantage, guys were getting bad breaks because of gusts of wind, and so on.
This really isn't a revolutionary concept, but it's just interesting to see just how big of a factor the wind at Augusta can play when it's whipping like it was this weekend. After all, there were five players who were double-digits under-par last year and the winner in Danny Willett this year only posted a 5-under winning score. I think that makes it safe to say that the wind might've drastically altered the course of the 2016 Masters.
Dustin Johnson Is Still Dustin Johnson
Dustin Johnson has never won a Major Championship. He's consistently been regarded as one of the best golfers in the world, but Johnson has just never been able to get it done on the biggest stages that the PGA Tour has to offer. Unfortunately for him, the rap has always been that he chokes under pressure and in the biggest moments with the biggest stakes. Whether you believe that's true or not, he didn't do anything to dispel those rumors on Sunday in the final round.
After Jordan Spieth had his disastrous collapse on No. 12 at Augusta, the door was blown wide open at the top of the leaderboard and Johnson was 100 percent in contention. When he played a gutsy second shot at the Par-5 No. 15, he looked to be even more in the running. However, that's when his demons kicked in.
Johnson missing his eagle putt wasn't terrible, but what was terrible was not capitalizing on a good shot on No. 16 and then totally imploding for a double-bogey on the next hole at No. 17. That essentially ended his chances. Even if he ended up at tied at No. 4 on the leaderboard, that Johnson choked away a late shot at making a run really just fits into the unflattering narrative about him that already exists.
Jordan Spieth is Human at Augusta
Even if he hadn't been quite as dominant as he was last year through the first three rounds of The Masters, it really looked like Jordan Spieth was becoming the final boss of Augusta National Golf Club and that he simply couldn't be touched on this course right now. As he started the back-nine in his final round with a huge lead over the rest of the field, that still seemed to be the case. That's when the defending Masters champ looked incredibly human in a hurry as he began his attempt to conquer No. 12.
He started by hitting a poor shot that took a bad bounce and went into the water. While losing that stroke and playing that shot weren't great looks for Spieth, that would've been forgivable as just a one-off. However the defending champ followed that up by dropping and then chunking his third shot like a guy who plays casually with his buddies once a month and once again finding the water.
It's certainly tragic to see a young guy like Spieth choke and collapse like he did on Sunday at No. 12, but it's also interesting to learn that the youngster is in fact human at The Masters. Considering how he'd played and dominated at Augusta through the previous 137 holes he played there, we were all beginning to wonder if that was actually the case.
Danny Willett is Yet Another Young Guy We Have To Track
Obviously people are going to be watching Danny Willett now since the 28-year-old won The Masters for the first time this year. However, the latest recipient of the Green Jacket should've already been on the radar of many golf fans and his first Major Championship win only affirms the fact that he needs to be considered among the group of young players that are must-watch TV whenever they are on the course.
Guys like Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Spieth, and Jason Day already fall into this category of "young guys" that are the stars of the PGA Tour, but Willett should truly be among them. Obviously he hasn't been in that conversation due to the fact that he's not a regular on the PGA Tour, but he's put forth an effort as of late that indicates that he's a star in the making.
Last year, Willett finished third in WGC-Cadillac Match Play, tied for sixth at The Open Championship, and won the European Masters. And now he's won the Green Jacket and The Masters in 2016. With how well he's played over the past year at only 28 years old, it feels safe to say we'll be seeing much more of him on the PGA Tour and that Danny Willett is a player on the rise—or maybe that he's been on the rise and we're just now noticing.
PHOTOS FROM THE DRAMATIC FINAL DAY OF THE '16 MASTERS:
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