Coming into Sunday, Rory McElroy believed he had an edge on Patrick Reed. McElroy had won all of the other majors and this would be a career grand slam putting him into some elite company in golf history. McElroy said as much to the press stating that although he would be trying to secure the Slam, Reed had never won a major. Reed is known on tour for a fiery temperament and McElroy felt that if he could put some early pressure on Reed, he could erase the 3 shot deficit and secure his first Green Jacket. Golf plays havoc with your mind even at the highest levels of the game. Part of McElroy wanted him to go out and enjoy the Final Round and whatever happens happens. The other part of him induced sufficient pressure and distraction that would have to be overcome during the Final Round. It didn’t happen.
McElroy got off to a shaky start and made a miracle par after almost hitting it out of bounds to the right on the first hole. Reed found a tree in his way in the left rough on his tee shot that would constrict his swing. They both knocked it into the front bunker on the left which, for McElroy, was almost miraculous. McElroy is a great bunker player and got it up and down for par while Reed hit an indifferent bunker shot and made bogey so the lead was reduced to 2 shots. You would have thought that this result would have been inspirational for McElroy but the putting that had brought into this spot, failed completely. Time after time, he missed short putts for eagle or birdie that could have pressurized Reed but they didn’t go in and Reed continued to hang on. Despite hitting the ball pretty well from tee to green, McElroy could not mount a charge and faded from view on the back nine.
I managed to catch an interview with him on CNN-Japan this week and McElroy was very measured and direct in his remarks on his Sunday Final Round at Augusta. It’s amazing to me that a player of this caliber was still mentally impacted by the situation he was in in trying to catch Reed and couldn’t suppress the mental side of the game to execute the required shots and putts. He was clearly disappointed in his performance but buoyed by his performance for the week. It was a successful week for him but golf at the highest levels requires conquering all the demons real and imagined and persevering under pressure to win a major championship. I believe McElroy’s effort and his assessment is a very accurate display of what has to be overcome to be successful in golf. His trials and tribulations are no different that the amateur player who is trying to win a $5 nassau on a Sunday afternoon.
A note on the new book. It has been titled “Through the Green” and I will admit that it is my creation and my choice but I thank all of you that submitted some very creative ideas. (even if some of them were a bit “off color”). The book is currently being edited by professionals at the publisher and I’m sure I’ll have a lot of work to do when they’re finished. In the coming weeks, I’ll publish some excerpts so my audience can “drown” us in advance orders. We’re still arguing about photos and I’m really focussed on the Irish courses which I love to play. Thanks for all your support.