It's Masters Week!
The highs and lows of golf
Jim Herman turned professional in 2000 following a stellar collegiate career at the University of Cincinnati. The Bearcat moved south to Florida to chase his golf dream, and after 4 years on the mini-tour circuit and many failed attempts to gain status through Qualifying School, Herman decided to pack up and head back north. He started folding shirts as an Assistant Pro at a country club, where he eventually met presidential candidate Donald Trump. Donald saw Herman’s talent and believed in “Making Herman Great Again” enough to financially back him for a rare 2nd run at the Tour. Herman made the best of his mulligan, making the Web.com Tour in ‘08 and eventually earning his PGA Tour card in ‘11.
Sunday found the 38-year-old Herman in an unusual situation playing in the final group at the Shell Houston Open, where a first-career win could punch his ticket to the Masters. To add to the pressure, golf’s elite were close behind with Dustin Johnson, Henrik Stenson and Rafa Cabrera Bello jostling with the 191st-ranked player for the lead. Herman was able to withstand their surges, shooting a 3-under-par 33 on the back 9 to cap off a final-round 68, which closed out the championship and earned the Herminator his first trip to the Masters.
How the Masters contenders fared
Henrik Stenson: 2nd (-14)
Mr. Top 5 was at it again as Stenson found himself with a chance to win down the stretch, but as has been the case since the 2014 DP World Tour Championship, he came up short. The usual suspect, his putter, let him down when Stenson missed a critical par putt on 14, which proved to be the difference. Stenson heads into Augusta with back-to-back top 3 finishes, but keep in mind, he has yet to place better than 14th at the Masters.
Editor’s Note: Since his last win in 2014, Stenson has made 32 starts in which he has finished in the top 3 11 times and only missed 1 cut.
Dustin Johnson: 3rd (-13)
Big Dusty enters Augusta in top form. Johnson was smoking drives, using his distance to make the 7,400+ yard Golf Club of Houston look like a pitch and putt. The most impressive development in Johnson’s game has been his putting, which was on point at last week’s WGC Match Play and led the field in this week’s strokes gained-putting statistic. If his putter stays hot, Johnson has as good a chance as anyone to take home the Green Jacket.
Rickie Fowler: t10th (-9)
Rickie surged into contention on Sunday with a scorching 32 on the front 9 before a 38 on the back 9 dropped him to 10th place. Fowler had an uncharacteristically cold putter this week, finishing 57th in the strokes gained-putting statistic. Fowler was sharp on the ball-striking front, finishing in the top 10 of fairways hit and 1st in greens in regulation. If his putter wakes up by Thursday, Fowler should be a force at Augusta.
Jordan Spieth: t13th (-8)
Another player to make an early Sunday charge was the defending Masters champion. Spieth birdied 5 of the first 7 holes to pull within 1 of the lead, but unfortunately 3 bogeys on holes 9 through 12 and a double on the 18th spoiled his chances. Spieth advanced to the round of 16 at the Match Play and contended on Sunday this week. Could the star be poised for a breakout at Augusta?
Phil Mickelson: t13th (-8)
Lefty notched another solid week and will enter the Masters leading the PGA Tour in scoring average. Mickelson was marred by penalty strokes all week but admitted to hitting more drivers than usual to prepare for Augusta (which explains some of his dropped shots).
Louis Oosthuiezen: MC
A blessing in disguise. During Thursday and Friday’s action, the sweet-swinging South African looked gassed from last week’s championship run at the WGC Match Play and ultimately missed the cut, giving him some extra R&R prior to Augusta.
Golf’s biggest week of the year is finally here, and the fried egg has you covered. Visit our Masters Hub for all things Augusta. If you haven’t already, make your picks in our free Masters pool for your chance to win great prizes from Wilson Golf, Maide by Bonobos, Johnnie-O, Vintage Course Maps, SuperSpeed Golf, SwingJuice, GottaGolf and more.
Chicago golf fans, we hope to see you at our Masters viewing party on Saturday, April 9th from 2-7pm at Joe’s on Weed St. (Yes, more prizes to be had live.)
Lydia Ko strikes again, winning her 2nd consecutive major championship and 12th win in 72 career LPGA starts. Oh yeah, and she is only 19 years old.
Ko’s championship looked doubtful with Arita Jutanagarn holding a 2-shot lead with 3 holes to play. Jutanagarn (looking for her first major championship) fell apart, bogeying the final 3. Ko finished strong, parring 16 and 17 before knocking her approach shot on the 18th to a foot. Ko converted the birdie on 18 to win by 1 shot and continue her record-setting pace.
With the win, she carried on the obligatory tradition of leaping into Poppie’s Pond.
A crummy way to celebrate a big win if you ask me.
Another all-time great..
2016 will mark another Masters without Tiger Woods, who released a statement Friday saying (same ol’) that although he is hitting balls and training daily, he still isn’t physically ready to compete. However, it was leaked that Woods’ agent fully expects him back on the golf course this year.
Piling on, Alan Shipnuck published a deep dive into Tiger Woods’ demise from the world’s best to a broken star in his Sports Illustrated cover piece, “What Happened to Tiger Woods?”.
Get your Masters gear
Looking for the perfect shirt for your Masters party or just lounging on your couch? Check out SwingJuice’s creative and comfortable tri-blend t-shirts. Their “Masters & Chill” shirt has been the talk of the town this year. Our members have a shot at one of these T’s through the Masters pool, but you can also grab one now using the promo code friedegg for 20% off. Get your shirt before the Masters action starts.
Adam Svoboda wins in Sao Paulo on the Web.com.
The most interesting man in golf wins the Champions Tour Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic.
Epic gator fight on a golf course in Florida.
Flat bills and Hogan caps... Looks like Cobra snagged another big fish.
Looking for a chuckle? Check out “Respect the Green Jacket”.
Illinois wins the team title at the 3M Augusta Invitational while Texas’ future pro, Beau Hossler, claims another individual title.
Set your DVRs to the Golf Channel Tuesday night for ‘86, a retelling of Jack Nicklaus’ famous Masters triumph.