The Masters


by Noah Harkness, Staff Reporter

The Masters is one of the four major PGA golf tournaments played throughout the year. The tournament concluded Sunday with Spanish golfer Jon Rahm winning his first green jacket.

The tournament takes place in the first week of April at Augusta National Golf Course in Georgia. Golfers that make the final cut play 18 holes a day, starting on Thursday and finishing Sunday. The history behind the tournament makes it one of the most prestigious events in golf.

Rahm performed well in the first two rounds but could never close the gap on American Brooks Koepka before Sunday. His driver led to his success, setting up birdie attempts on nearly every hole. He ended the tournament 12-under, putting him four strokes clear of Koepka and Phil Mickelson.

Rahm became the fourth Spanish golfer to win the tournament. He also became the second Spaniard to win two different major championships with the other being Seve Ballesteros.

Koepka was the favorite heading into Sunday after play was suspended Saturday for weather. 

Koepka held a four-stroke lead over Rahm before ending his third round with two bogeys. His struggles continued into the final round shooting a 75 and finishing tied for 2nd with Mickelson.

The feel-good story of the week came from American amateur golfer Sam Bennett. Bennett attends Texas A&M and competed in his first Masters at the age of 23. He lost his father in June 2021 after an eight-year battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

His father left Sam a message before he passed that said ‘don’t wait to do something.’ Bennett keeps that message with him in the form of a tattoo on his left arm.

Bennett shot the best opening round by an amateur in 22 years and was three strokes off the lead. He ended the tournament tied for 16th but his story far outweighed the placement. He was given a standing ovation at the 18th green in what was hopefully just the beginning of his career.

Another headline was the divide between players and spectators over the LIV golf tour. LIV is funded by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund and offered golfers millions to ditch their PGA contracts. Many golfers including Koepka and Mickelson left the PGA tour for LIV last year.

Spectators see LIV ruining the sport by dividing the pool of players and purely incentivizing money. LIV golfers play their own tournaments and are paid regardless of placement. They are still allowed to play in majors but are ineligible for any other PGA event.

ESPN announced the first round of The Masters averaged 2.5 million viewers and peaked at 2.9 million. First-round viewership took a dip from last year’s 2.8 million viewer average. The 2022 final round averaged nearly 10.2 million with this year still to be determined.

The Masters never seem to disappoint despite the LIV controversy and weather of this year. Stories like Sam Bennett’s are why the tournament is regarded as one of the best in sports.