Defending Masters champion, Danny Willett shot 73-78 to miss the cut at Augusta National. The scorecard, of course, doesn’t tell the whole story.
While a six-over 78 certainly isn’t pretty, Willett’s lucky there are no pictures on the scorecard. It was a genuine slasher film horror show at the first hole. Faced with an awkward stance on the edge of a fairway bunker after an untidy tee shot, the defending Masters champ summoned golf’s most feared demon from the depths of hell: the shank.
Masters 2017: Danny Willett | 1st Hole, Round 2 pic.twitter.com/q6LkmKcOcz
— Masters Highlights (@MastersMoments) April 7, 2017
After his hosel rocket into the pines, Willett punched out. But instead of getting up-and-down for par, he pitched the ball over the green. His next effort came up short of the green and rolled pathetically back to his feet. But the ugliness wasn’t over. Willett then pitched his ball across the green and it trickled off the front edge, down the shaved bank. He then pitched on and two-putted for a triple-bogey eight.
If you want to see a visual representation of the above, here’s this from Masters.com. But be warned, it isn’t pretty.
Ouch. And all of this came after doubling the first hole in his opening round. If you’re scoring at home, Willett was six over on the first hole for his first two rounds. Tough to play well enough across the other 17 holes to offset that kind of performance.
Of course, the first hole is no pushover. It routinely plays among the most difficult holes at Augusta National, and through two rounds, it was playing as the toughest, averaging at 4.54 strokes for the first round and 4.72 for the second, and seeing just three birdies.
So, while a player can never blame one hole out of the 18 he plays in a day for a poor round, Danny Willett can basically thank the first hole for the inglorious distinction of becoming the first reigning champion to miss the cut since Mike Weir in 2004. Interesting that one bad hole for another player, led to his victory last year, and this year it was his own downfall. Talk about karma!
In other words, as Danny Willett is surely thinking, “Damn you, Tea Olive!”