Golf’s first — and typically most watched — major is over.
And while the casual fan will bemoan not getting to see the lush green fairways and azaleas of Augusta National for another year, The Masters was only the beginning to some signature golf events and storylines of 2022.
Here are five takeaways from this weekend’s Masters event.
1. Tiger makes his future plans known.
After a heartwarming performance that saw Tiger Woods make the cut and complete 72 holes more than a year after nearly losing his life in a car crash, he announced his plans going forward.
Woods told Sky Sports in the United Kingdom that he will play in July’s Open Championship — or what’s more known in the U.S. as the British Open — at the birthplace of golf, St. Andrews.
Woods isn’t sure if he’ll play in May’s PGA Championship or June’s U.S. Open, but he obviously can’t wait to get to Scotland and once again play on what he called “his favorite golf course in the world.”
Woods struggled physically over the weekend, walking around on essentially one leg, but he survived and plans to be seen once again this summer.
One quick side note that we’ll get into more in July: This year’s British Open at St. Andrews might be the biggest, most competitive and most desired major ever.
The world’s best know they only get a chance to win the oldest major at the home of golf once every five years or so (the last time the Open was at St. Andrews was in 2015. It would have been held there last year, if not for the pandemic).
This year, the event will represent the Holy Grail of golf even more, because there will be only one chance to win what will be the 150th playing of the championship on the sport’s most hallowed grounds.
It’s no wonder Tiger is already excited about it and has it on his radar, even with two majors needing to be played before that.
But for now, back to The Masters.
2. Scottie Scheffler is yet another stud American golfer in his 20s.
The casual golf fan was introduced to 25-year-old Scottie Scheffler, a member of the U.S. Ryder Cup team last fall, who is yet another in a pipeline of star American golfers in their 20s or early 30s.
An accomplished amateur golfer who absolutely can bomb it off the tee and scramble around the greens with the best of them, Scheffler has won four times this year, and is the No. 1 golfer in the world at the moment.
Add him to the crop of prominent young American golfers under 30, or barely beyond 30, such as major winners Collin Morikawa, Justin Thomas, Bryson DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka and Jordan Spieth, Olympic champion Xander Schauffele and reigning FedEx Cup Champion Patrick Cantlay.
3. Rory coming so close to a career grand slam.
The missing piece for Rory McIlroy and history is a Masters title. If he ever wins The Masters, he’ll become the sixth golfer ever to win all four major championships in the Masters era.
It’s not like McIlroy hasn’t had success at Augusta and come close.
His 8-under par round of 64 on Sunday catapulted him into a second-place finish to Scheffler, the sixth time in his career that he finished in the top 10 at The Masters.
McIlroy and Augusta seem to be a good match, so it’s just a matter of him finishing the job one of these years and making history.
4. The par-3, 12th hole claims another victim.
How many times over the years has a player had his dreams of a Masters title die at the 12th hole?
It’s one of the scariest shots in golf because the roughly 160-yard hole requires a delicate shot over a creek and a bunker to a small, peanut-shaped green. If you hit it short, the slope will take it to the creek. If you hit it too long, you go deep into the woods and face a tough chip shot.
Compounding the difficulty is that the wind on that part of the course is unpredictable.
The latest victim was Australian standout Cameron Smith, who came to the hole with momentum after his birdie on the difficult, par-4 11th hole pulled him to within three shots of Scheffler for the lead.
But then Smith fanned his tee shot into the water, hit his drop from the fairway over the green, hit his ensuing chip past the hole and ended up leaving with a triple-bogey 6 to drop out of contention.
He joined the likes of Greg Norman (1986), Jordan Spieth (2016) and Francesco Molinari (2019) who have had their title hopes dashed at the hole.
5. Baby, it looked cold on Saturday.
Augusta National was in all its splendor on Sunday with sunny conditions, but it looked more like watching the British Open or a U.S. Open in Northern California on Saturday.
With temperatures barely cracking 50 degrees, it was unusual seeing players layered up and uncomfortable in the conditions at a Masters.
It might have led to the higher than normal scores for the third round.