2020 Masters Choose Your Own Adventure, Patrick Reed vs. Jon Rahm: Cooler Heads


Harry Trump/Getty Images. Pictured: Patrick Reed, Jon Rahm

Fans subside from berating Reed and he continues in relative peace.

Try explaining the accusation against Reed to a non-golf fan, someone who is familiar with the game, but hardly knows all of the players or its most famous participants. Really, try it. If you’re adamant in the position that he cheated, you’ll end up with a plea that sounds a little something like this: He was in a waste bunker, which is different than a regular bunker, but you still can’t improve your lie, and he — wait for it! — improved his lie, using a practice swing to fluff it up a little bit!!! Can you believe that?! They need to throw him off the TOUR!

To which a non-fan might respond: So, he touched a few grains of sand. Big deal. Golf needs to get over itself and its stupid rules.

As you’ve been watching Reed throughout the round, listening to those first few ejected fans give him grief about the cheating, you’ve thought about this potential conversation and decided maybe they’re both a little right.

Walking with this pairing all afternoon, you count up five total times that Reed has found his ball in the bunker — and four times in which every single spectator watches him like a hawk as he approaches the lie.

The catcalls have died down after the first hole. Apparently, not too many other fans feel like getting kicked out of the final round of the Masters today.

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But that doesn’t also mean they’re all rooting for him – and it certainly doesn’t mean they aren’t hyperaware of his prior misgivings. Granted, it would take all the brazenness in the world to try and cheat while competing in the penultimate pairing of the game’s biggest golf tournament, yet the fans in attendance are staring him down nonetheless, as if they are the purveyors of all that is holy in golf and must oversee the proceedings for the good of the game.

You watch, too, not because you think some controversy is about to unfold, but because everyone else is — and really, you’re watching every shot anyway.

In the irony of all ironies, after that opening-hole bogey from the fairway bunker, Reed gets up and down from the other four he finds during the round, making impressive pars every time. That includes each of the last two holes, splashing sand shots to inside five feet on each of those crucial occasions, helping him claim a one-stroke victory.

You stay in the city that night, then pick up a copy of the Augusta Chronicle on the way home Monday morning. There it is, in war font on the front page: SAND MAN!

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