I was reading an interesting article at The Back9Network this morning entitled: Stud and Duds At the 2014 Masters and found I agreed with almost of writer, Jon Ackerman’s opinions, but some I didn’t. Master’s rookies Jordan Spieth, and Jonas Blixt did step up at Augusta this year, and deserve to be on the “Studs” section of this post, but I think Kevin Stadler deserves an honorable mention.
After the 34 year-old son of the 82 Masters Champ, Craig Stadler backed into this Masters appearance with Bubba Watson’s meltdown at Phoenix, it would have been easy for the younger Stadler to just show up. But not only did he show up, he carved out a top 10 finish, and will get another invitation next year.
I know these lists have to be limited, but I think John Senden deserved a “thumbs-up” as well. With 2013 Champ, Adam Scott, and the highly touted Marc Leishman in the field, who ever would have thought the 42 year-old Valspar Champ would be the top Aussie finisher? Leishman didn’t make the cut.
I tend to agree that Rory McIlroy deserves to be on the “Duds” list. In his defense however, although Rory had the win in Australia back in December and a few good finishes along the way,he’s still not back to 2012 form. Gone is the swagger that ran away with the 2012 PGA Championship, and won the Race To Dubai Championship. He’s close to returning to the Rory we’ve been accustomed to seeing week to week on the PGA Tour, but let’s face it. He’s not there yet.
I too was very disappointed in Patrick Reed’s performance. I even went out on a limb and had him as my “Dark Horse” pick. I never take a Masters Rookie, but given his showing against top fields at The Wyndham and The WGC-Cadillac, I was looking for more from the 23 year-old at Augusta. I thought, with his course knowledge he would at least make the cut.
Not only was I disappointed in Dustin Johnson’s performance, I would have to say there was a long list of top players who were unable to make the cut including my number two guy, 2007 Masters Champ, Zach Johnson. He proved in Kapalua that he could play Big-Boy golf, but hasn’t returned to form since his break during the West Coast Swing.
The biggest dud of the week who wasn’t mentioned in the list was Jason Dufner. His opening round 80 put the PGA Champ in a big hole, and his second round 74 sent him to an early shower. It wasn’t a big surprise, as in four Masters appearances, his best finish was a T 20 in 2013. I guess Augusta National just doesn’t fit his eye.
Of course, the biggest stud of all who wasn’t on the list was two-time Masters Champ, Bubba Watson. For a guy that looked like a one-and-done major champ, Bubba showed the world he’s back, and ready to win some golf tournaments. I thought the approach shot to the ninth hole, and the birdie putt that gave him the lead that he never relinquished was what champions in this sport are made of.