It was a warming feeling to see the Masters returning to its usual spring-time slot in golf’s calendar, and with the azaleas in full bloom as they ought to be for the historic major championship, Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama produced a fine performance over the four days to become the first Japanese male to win one of golf’s big four events.
It was a tournament defined by strong performances by some members of the world’s best, and disappointing displays from others. Some surprising names missed the cut, while it’s fair to say that not all of the contenders going into Sunday would have been at the top of the golf betting market before the Masters began. Setting the new Green Jacket holder Matsuyama aside for now, let’s take a look at those who will either be pleased or disappointed with their 2021 Masters showing.
Winner – Will Zalatoris
For a first timer, second place at Augusta National ain’t half bad. Will Zalatoris had earned comparisons with Happy Gilmore’s caddie in the 1996 Adam Sandler comedy, due to his luscious locks of blonde hair, but he produced some outstanding golf over the four days. In the end, Zalatoris was just one stroke away from a play-off, and while it wasn’t to be on this occasion, it’s safe to say that we’ll be seeing plenty more of him in majors to come.
Loser – Bryson De Chambeau
Bryson DeChambeau only has himself to blame for his bad form at Augusta, having claimed before November’s tournament that the course was a par 67 rather than 72. He was left with egg on his face back then, and the US Open champion endured another difficult four days at Augusta this time around. He did manage a 67 in round two, but scores in the mid-70s on the other three outings meant it was a disappointing tied-for-46th finish for DeChambeau.
Winner – Jordan Spieth
While Jordan Spieth will be disappointed not to have put himself in serious contention in the final round, his performances at the Masters proved that he is back to somewhere close to his best. Spieth was tipped by many to win at Augusta having claimed his first tournament win in four years at the Texas Open the week before, and finishing tied for third on seven under par was a pretty good follow-up even if he couldn’t quite get his hands on another Green Jacket.
Loser – Rory McIlroy
With another major came another anti-climactic tournament for Rory McIlroy, and his hunt for the career Grand Slam goes on. A 76 in round one and a 74 in round two wasn’t enough for McIlroy to make it to Saturday, and once again a shot at the Green Jacket has eluded him. The Northern Irishman must focus on getting in tip-top shape for the PGA Championship in May as he seeks a fifth major title.
Winner – Robert MacIntyre
It’s fair to say that Robert MacIntyre did Scotland proud at Augusta this year. Making his debut at the Masters, the 24-year-old carded an impressive final score of two under par to finish tied for 12th and secure a spot at the 2022 edition of the tournament. There is much to like about MacIntyre, in terms of his personality and his technique, and we could well be seeing his name high up major championship leaderboards for a long time to come.
Loser – Xander Schauffele
While a seven-under-par final score earned Xander Schauffele a share of third place, the 2021 Masters was a tale of what might have been for the American. Heading to the par-three 16th hole, Schauffele trailed his playing partner Matsuyama by just two shots, having made four birdies on the spin. It looked as though a dramatic finish was on the cards, but an inexplicable triple-bogey on 16 gave the Japanese clear breathing space, and Schauffele’s wait for a maiden major title must go on.