Leftovers: Reflections Following The 88th Masters

Bryson DeChambeau leads 2024 Masters Rd 1
Bryson DeChambeau hands his club to his caddie on the first green during the first round of the 2024 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 11, 2024 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Maddie Meyer via Getty Images)

The 87th Masters in 2023 was a big boost for the LIV Golf League. This year’s 88th edition, not so much.

It’s inevitable, given the ongoing rivalry between LIV and the PGA Tour, that there are player comparisons any time both circuits have players in the same tournament. A year ago at Augusta National, in what surprised many, LIV players had co-runners-up in Phil Mickelson and Brooks Koepka behind champion (and now LIV colleague) Jon Rahm with Patrick Reed tying for fourth.

This year the only real LIV highlight was Bryson DeChambeau taking the first-round lead with a 65. He wound up in a tie for sixth place with Cameron Smith.

That’s the best LIV could do.

So what should we make of that?

Not much, really. It was DeChambeau’s best showing in eight Masters but he was too caught up in the moment after his low first round.

“It’s a weird thing to say,” he said, “but it was almost like goose bumps – and it was early in the week, too. It was like, whoa!, I’ve got to calm that down. It was too quick, too early.”

Bryson DeChambeau carries sign and leads 2024 Masters
Bryson DeChambeau of the United States moves a sign while preparing to play his second shot on the 13th hole from the 14th fairway during the second round of the 2024 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 12, 2024 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

The week was by no means a total loss for LIV. The fledgling circuit only had 13 players in the field and seven made the cut, while three finished in the top 10. DeChambeau and Smith, nine strokes behind champion Scottie Scheffler, were also two of only eight players in the field to finish under par. The pair earned a return to next year’s Masters by finishing in the top 12. Tyrrell Hatton (T9) and Reed (T12 and a past champion) also figure to be in the field in 2025. Mickelson (tie 43rd) and Rahm (tie 45th) are also past champions.

Koepka, who defends his PGA title in May, was no threat at this year’s Masters, finishing in a tie with Rahm. Two-time winner Bubba Watson, Dustin Johnson and Sergio Garcia – also past champions – missed the cut with Johnson the only glaring disappointment. Sad to say my official pre-Masters pick to win, Johnson, shot a most uncharacteristic 78-79. Poland’s up-and-coming Adrian Meronk was the other LIV MC.

LIV moves on to Adelaide in Australia, which should be uplifting for Smith. The Rippers captain expects huge support with his all-Australian team and is predicting “a magical week.” The tourney is April 26-28.

Scottie Scheffler Wins 2024 Masters
Scottie Scheffler at the 18th green with his caddie Ted Scott during the final round of Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 14, 2024 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Ben Jared for PGA TOUR via Getty Images)

The PGA Tour moves on to the RBC Heritage Classic in Hilton Head, S.C., this week. I can’t imagine this being an uplifting week golf-wise for Scheffler, with his wife expecting their first child any day. He shared lodging with friend Sam Burns at the Masters. Burns’ wife was also expecting their first child. Burns shot 80-73 and went home. Both top players face the same distractions this week.

Granted, waiting out the birth of a child – especially the first one – isn’t easy but Scheffler and Burns are both on this week’s entry list with the Heritage having a limited field with no cut, a purse increased to $20 million and more FedEx Cup points available.

A few other post-Masters thoughts:

Tiger Woods Makes Cut 2024 Masters
Tiger Woods takes a wedge from his bag near the 18th green during the second round of Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 12, 2024 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Ben Jared for PGA TOUR via Getty Images)

The Tiger Woods’ spotlight seems to always shine, merited or not. He was dead last among the Masters finishers this time, but his performance wasn’t without merit. He made the cut for the 24th consecutive time, a record as his streak surpassed that of both Fred Couples and Gary Player.

Similarly impressive, in my book, was Vijay Singh making the cut at age 61. The oldest is Couples, who broke Bernhard Langer’s record when he played all 72 holes in 2020 at age 63. Langer had planned to make 2024 his last Masters but couldn’t compete after injuring his Achilles playing pickleball.

LIV-PGA issues won’t go away, and the status of negotiations remain a secret. Latest “development” is a London newspaper reporting that Rory McIlroy, one of the loudest of LIV critics, may be on the brink of changing tours after being offered $850 million. If he doesn’t take it the next LIV target is Viktor Hovland. I’ll believe it when I see it.



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