There is no mental coach who prepares enough for Augusta when the field pulls its nails out. Although there is only one way to learn the lesson: suffering at the Masters. A teacher like Chema Olazabal knows this better than anyone, who has been going to class every April since 1985 to continue learning. The one from Hondarribia made the cut for the first time since 2014 and looked at the sky through tears to remember his friend Seve. In Augusta he finds inner peace, although at 55 the continuous slide of the route and its long holes are for him “a little monster”. In spite of everything, he enjoys it, not a whimper comes out of his mouth, and this Saturday he again dusted off that magic with the irons to resist with +3 in the round and +5 in total. Two bogeys and a double bogey in the last four holes, they described the Himalayas that become the day for the most veteran. And still, not a bad gesture. They call him “the gentleman of golf” for a reason.
The years have hardened the double champion, who knows how to find a point of satisfaction in that toothache that sometimes is playing in Augusta. Jon Rahm still has many visits to the dentist left. The 26-year-old’s face changes with every disgust the Masters gives him. And this course is being more bloody than in his last appearances. After staying in the pair of the field on Thursday (it was a good result because of how fierce the stage was) and Friday (not so good because it was a day for better performances), this Saturday he returned to a draw, four birdies and four bogeys. This is filing two shots on 15 and 16, a sign that Rahm competes until the last minute.
Barrika’s didn’t even shine putt nor did he take out for a walk that gentle touch with which he often escapes from the mud. With some greens that sometimes looked like skating rinks, in which the ball ran and ran, and some shots from the street that went by, much more out of tune than usual, Rahm found it difficult to find calm no matter how much psychological work there is behind . Little by little, Augusta was eating away at his morale. The Masters can be very cruel to hot-blooded golfers like the Basque. Once he let go of the stick, frustrated, another one threatened to break it on his knees, and gestured with his hands or looked at the sky for an explanation. There was no way and for the third day in a row he was left without discounting blows to the par from the field. “It is very frustrating, there have been seven or eight shots that I have given as I wanted and they have finished in bad places. The result does not reflect how well I have played, “he lamented. Fourth, ninth and seventh in the last three years, this will be the first Sunday in this period in which the green jacket is out of reach.
It will be the Japanese Hideki Matsuyama who has a date with history, leader with 11 under par, four strokes ahead of Xander Schauffele, Justin Rose, Marc Leishman and the surprising American Will Zalatoris, a rookie in Augusta who does not even have a scorecard. American circuit. Matsuma has the glory in his hands. No golfer from Japan has ever won a grand, and no Asian has won the Augusta Masters.
“Sometimes I would like this field to give me a little more affection,” said Sergio García the day before, who since he dressed in green in 2017 does not know what it is to make the cut. Bad luck, commented the man from Castellón to explain another setback, with crossed arms and a serious gesture. A golfer’s face can count a round at Augusta.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.