Andrew Coltart reflects on an eventful opening day at The Masters for pre-tournament favourite Bryson DeChambeau and an encouraging start to Tiger Woods’ title defence.
DeChambeau could’ve lost the championship with his start and at one stage I thought he possibly had done, so after slipping up early on and then coming back I think he will be quite happy with that opening round.
It says a lot about DeChambeau that he managed to knuckle himself down, given the fact that he had loaded a tremendous amount of pressure on his shoulders with the almost ridiculous expectations that he sets himself.
He invites that pressure, he loves being the headline and thrives on that, but he put himself under an awful lot of heat and he couldn’t keep his ball on the planet over the first few holes. He was all over the place and making bad decisions.
To put the round together after that start, when he clearly wasn’t 100 per cent out there, and get himself back in the event, says an awful lot about him. There’s more to him than just being a long hitter, although we like to see golf being played with more than just five golf clubs.
DeChambeau’s strategy could cost him in the future and I think sometimes, when the rhythm isn’t there, he needs to do what Woods has done through the years and get the ball in play to give himself a chance.
He’s so powerful that it doesn’t matter if he gives up 40 or 50 yards off the tee, as he’s still going in with a medium to short iron. If he’s trying to knock the cover off the ball then there’s going to be times where he doesn’t recover, and that’s enough to give somebody else a chance of winning.
I think he’ll continue to take it to the golf course again in his second round and any criticism that comes his way will only his bolster his enthusiasm to continue to do what he believes is right.
What next for Tiger?
There was very little form to measure Woods on going into the week, with two top-40s in his last seven starts and the clubhead speed appearing to have dropped off the pace a little in 2020 compared to the previous year.
What happened was that Woods came out and looked almost 10 years younger, swinging it relatively care-free and moving nicely. There’s a spring in his step and he’s obviously very comfortable around here as a five-time winner around Augusta National.
He can adapt his strategy, can plot his way around the golf course and can stand up to any challenge that the game and his fellow competitors can throw at him. He might not be flushing it all the time, but he’s given himself opportunities to attack flags and not bring silly errors into the equation.
The Masters – Live
November 13, 2020, 6:00pm
It was a very measured performance from Woods, who knows that he has many more strings to his bow around this golf course and he’s prepared to use every single one of them.
Watch The Masters throughout the week live on Sky Sports. Live coverage continues on Friday with Featured Groups from midday on Sky Sports The Masters ahead of full coverage from 6pm.
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