HomeGolfGary Murphy: A Masters to inspire us all - Irish Golfer Magazine

Gary Murphy: A Masters to inspire us all – Irish Golfer Magazine


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The 87th Masters this week will see a coming together of the best players in the world on what is always billed as the perfect stage. The beauty of this spectacle is more than just the pristine playing conditions and the glory of picking up the first major of the year. This tournament, for golf fans in this part of the world, is the catalyst for their own games too. We have endured a brutal winter and the inspiration from our screens will hopefully kick-start everybody’s golfing season.

There has been much discussion of course about the split in the sport and people have voted with their eyes. The viewing figures are down 20% and LIV has yet to garner any noticeable traction. The players are getting richer but the product is poorer in my opinion. Something has to give.

The sustainability of purses is not in keeping with a flow chart model. You cannot blame the players because they have always been a greedy bunch, but the biggest questions to ask are what do we care about and who actually pays the bills or even what is it all about?

The participation level in golf is through the roof as is the spend on the game. Covid is the reason for this as people realised their leisure time was part and parcel of their general wellbeing. Golf is a very social sport and people essentially watch it to be entertained and try to follow suit. Imagine if all the players left the Premier League, the viewing numbers would drop, well golf is no different.

Everybody uses sport for escapism and it’s the stars of each sport that allow that dynamic.  It stands to reason then that the diluted product we currently have in golf should be a big worry as we all want to see the best versus the best and we can only judge the hero if he beats the other hero.

Imagine me leading the Masters by 6 on Sunday night from Joe Soap! It would be a viewing numbers disaster!! Even I’d be saying ‘Get Netflix on’.

Thankfully we will have all the star names on show together this week but it needs a star leaderboard all the way through the week and hopefully a celebrity winner too, to really ignite everybody’s interest. That might bring all the participants to the table to fix the fracture in the sport.

You just can’t have two Champions League Finals the same week one doesn’t mean anything with the other and that’s the way golf seems to be at the moment.

For this week of weeks though, who will be the player to don the Green jacket on Sunday evening? The list of potential winners is long but we could see someone from ‘the pack’ take it and we might see a different storyline this year as for the first time in a while I have some hope that Fuzzy Zoeller’s Masters record as the last man to win on debut might fall. That would certainly get people’s interest up!

Wyndham Clark is a US OPEN Champion on debut and firing on all cylinders while Ludwig Aberg definitely has the game to win in his first major start. He also has the potential to become a superstar of the sport.

Both these players offer the potential to put their names in the history books but potential is a fickle beast in golf and I will be fascinated to see how both perform.

We can’t talk Augusta without The Grand Slam question of course and the quest is on again for Rory McIlroy. His form has been a worry in his PGA Tour starts this season but the great thing is that his misses are familiar and he has rectified them in the past and gone on to sparkle.  It seems inconceivable that he hasn’t won a major since 2014 and whilst I’m one of his biggest fans, he needs to correct this statistic.

For my money Rory needs to be more instinctive and inspirational if he is to achieve more major titles. As we all know though, this game creates insecurity and the artform is first to go. The secret is just trying to play your own game and finding belief at the key times and for Rory his comfort zone under fire has to be playing on instinct not perfection.

That will always be his greatest challenge.

Defending Champion Jon Rahm is a fascinating one in that we really cannot determine his form in the build-up. His move to LIV has created a most unusual dynamic but I think he will relish the challenge and he definitely comes in with excitement and energy which will work in his favour. I expect a stout defence but buyers remorse will be in full flow if his defence is poor.

His body language has been different on LIV but the return to Augusta will re-focus him I’ve no doubt.

And what about the world number 1? Well Scottie Scheffler is the clear favourite and if he turns up with his A game it is impossible to see him leaving without a green jacket. I am a huge fan of his game and I think he could produce a masterclass. He has the ability to win with ease if he’s in the right form but nothing ever runs smoothly at The Masters and anything can happen!

The beauty for the rest of the field is that golf is an outdoor sport and the elements can come into play quite quickly as we saw last year. Also we are dealing with human frailty over 4 days and that is probably the biggest factor for Scheffler. If he can trust his form and feels to date this season it will be a huge ask for the chasing pack to compete with him.

We are crying out for a spectacular Major and while they can be a law unto themselves, the first of the year is always different but I’m expecting great things. I hope you enjoy the watch I think we deserve to be inspired.


Ludwig Aberg

Wyndham Clark

Luke List – 1st round leader

Scottie Scheffler – Saver

Tommy Fleetwood

Hideki Matsuyama

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