2020 Masters Choose Your Own Adventure, Patrick Reed vs. Jon Rahm: Bad Beat
Harry Trump/Getty Images. Pictured: Patrick Reed, Jon Rahm
Rahm loses, leaving you on the wrong side of that thin line once again.
There’s a popular question amongst gamblers, for which the answer is always a matter of personal preference (or personal disfavor, as the case may be): Would you rather sweat a bet for the entire time and lose a soul-crusher at the end? Or would you rather never really having a chance and getting your hopes up?
A similar question could be applied to professional golfers, though it can be argued that unlike nearly-won wagers, nearly-won golf tournaments allow the experience of getting into the heat of the battle and the optimism of having solid form moving forward – not to mention you still win a boatload of money by nearly winning a golf tournament, something which doesn’t quite happen when you nearly win a bet.
Yes, there can be a thin line between winning and losing in both endeavors.
This isn’t one of ‘em.
There have been plenty of back-nine disasters at Augusta National over the years and this one certainly qualifies. After a solid front-nine, Rahm bogeys the difficult 10th and 11th holes. OK, you think, obviously not optimal, but he’s really only losing a half-stroke on the field with each of those bogeys.
Then comes the 12th hole. Just a few years ago, the 155-yard Golden Bell knocked Jordan Spieth from his perch atop the leaderboard. Last year, it ruined Brooks Koepka’s chances. And now, it nabs Rahm. His tee shot falls into Rae’s Creek, coming up a full club short. His next one is too aggressive and a slight wind shift pushes his ball into the back bunker.
Known for having a short fuse, Rahm is absolutely fuming right now. He slams his club to the turf, getting the clubhead stuck in the ground, then pulls it out and does it again. He hands the club to his caddie, then clenches with both fists, lets out a guttural scream and looks toward the heavens. It recalls his countryman, Sergio Garcia, once blaming the golf gods or a higher power for losing The Open Championship, later bemoaning, “I’m playing a lot of guys out there, more than the field.”
He finishes the hole with a triple-bogey, essentially ending his green jacket chances, but the show is far from over, so you continue to watch him.
The next six holes are a maelstrom of slammed clubs, fiery words under his breath in Spanish and even a few NSFW gestures. “This is why,” you overhear a fellow spectator saying, “I’d never bet on him to win a major.” Thanks for rubbing it in, buddy.
Afterward, while leaving the course thinking about all your wagers on the guy who finished T-15, you rationalize it to yourself. It would’ve been worse, you decide, if he’d gotten close and lost by one. Or if he’d been defeated in a playoff. Maybe that’s true. But you probably would’ve enjoyed the sweat anyway.