2020 Masters Choose Your Own Adventure, Rory McIlroy vs. Brooks Koepka: Calm Before the Storm


Streeter Lecka/Getty Images. Pictured: Brooks Koepka, Rory McIlroy

“Hey, let’s go out there and have some fun today!”

Smile on his face, McIlroy sets up for his opening tee shot. Over the last few years, he’s been in “zen” mode, often suggesting that the process is more important to him than the result. Of course, if you were to ask him right now if he’d rather play beautifully and lose or play poorly and win, you’d better believe he’d take the latter.

Even so, standing just a few feet away, you notice that he’s outwardly trying to treat this round, which could turn out to be the momentous round of his career, like it’s a Tuesday morning money game. It’s as if he’s trying to prove to himself – not to mention the rest of us – that he’s not tight or nervous or anxious at all.

His first drive, though, does all the talking for him.

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If you thought Rory’s opening tee shot two years ago went right, well, this made that one look downright perfect.

If Johnny Miller was still broadcasting – and if he was broadcasting this event – he would’ve referred to that swing as a nervy toe-shank slice that made contact with the clubface a few grooves too low.

As every patron understands, there’s no running at Augusta National, so you take off on a swift walk to see how McIlroy deals with early conflict on the course.

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