Without Tiger Woods, the Masters Leaderboard Is a Blank Slate


“I wouldn’t be surprised going forward if you end up getting a first-time winner at some point or a number of young guys that are able to do it,” Spieth mentioned final week.

Spieth mentioned Augusta National’s extraordinarily hilly terrain, a function that’s arduous to understand from watching the occasion on tv, would possibly particularly profit youthful gamers.

“Honestly, it’s a tough walk, it’s one of the toughest walks on tour,” Spieth mentioned of Augusta National. “Physically, it can take a toll. So you would think that guys that are in their mid-20s would be in the best position physically.”

Other less-than-household names inside golf’s youth motion could have escaped the consideration of informal golf followers however are nonetheless worthy contenders this week. Foremost in that group is Sungjae Im, 23, of South Korea, who was the PGA Tour rookie of the 12 months in 2019 and tied for second in his Masters debut final 12 months. No Asian has received the Masters, though that has not stopped Im from dreaming of a Korean-style menu that will likely be served at the annual champions-only dinner the 12 months after he wins the match.

“Marinated ribs, of course,” he mentioned in November with a grin.

Change, like the passing of a torch from technology to technology, is in the air at the Masters regardless of the match’s status for time-honored traditions. And golf followers could already be warming as much as the makeover going down at the prime of the leaderboards.

With the television viewership declining for different sports activities currently, the rankings for PGA Tour occasions this 12 months have elevated by 10 to 20 p.c, and a few in golf credit score the surge to the growing prominence of what Jim Nantz, the longtime CBS broadcaster, referred to as “the new brigade.”

“We’ve arrived at a point now where we don’t have to rely on just Tiger,” Nantz mentioned final week. “We all know how enormous his presence is — maybe he comes back one day, that’s not what we’re addressing here. But how does the sport transition to a time when he is not at the top of the game?”



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