2020 Masters Choose Your Own Adventure, Rory McIlroy vs. Brooks Koepka: Finally!
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images. Pictured: Brooks Koepka, Rory McIlroy
It’s finally McIlroy’s time.
“I came here to witness history, dammit, and this is going to be history!”
As the fireworks of the McIlroy-Koepka pairing continue, the talented twosome heading from the cozy confines of the 12th green to the 13th tee, where spectators remain detached from the action, you find yourself defending the honor of the world’s top-ranked player amongst a handful of Koepka fans who have been consistently chanting, “U-S-A! U-S-A!” with every launched drive and laser-beam approach.
“Come on, man,” one of them pleads. “You can’t root for Rory, that’s so un-American!”
You try to explain that Rory lives in Florida. He married a girl from Buffalo. And besides, since when is Northern Ireland considered enemy territory? Why should we rationalize that our fandom can’t cross international borders?
These guys aren’t having any of it.
“Dude,” says another, “Brooksie is THE MAN!”
This is probably the part of the story where it should be revealed that all half-dozen of the Koepka fans are wearing backward caps, tank tops adorned with differing variations of red, white and blue, and carrying a stack of clear Masters cups, as if to show others how much more beer they’ve drank than you.
You know your argument is falling on deaf ears as you continue to try and explain that you’ve got absolutely nothing against Koepka, it’s just that being in attendance for a player claiming the career grand slam is something that only happens once every generation or so.
Eventually, you part ways with the group, focused on McIlroy even more than before. As if the slam and getting the Masters monkey off his back weren’t enough, now you also want him to win just to silence that Koepka crowd.
As it turns out, the fireworks only continue for one of ‘em.
Seemingly going toe-to-toe with Rory for most of the afternoon, Brooks finally starts to fade on the back-nine. A few small mistakes — mental errors, really –leave him with a short-sided chip here and a downhill slider there.
McIlroy, though, never takes his foot off the gas pedal. Playing as if he’s motivated to never again hear questions about why he can’t win a Masters, he’s taking all of those previous frustrations out on the course itself, launching shots into the cloudless sky with ease, landing them just about wherever he wants.
When it’s over, when McIlroy had eeked out a one-stroke come-from-behind victory, you enjoy one final celebratory beer near the 18th green, gratified knowing that you witnessed golf history in front of your very eyes for 18 holes.
As you’re about to leave, you run into that Koepka crowd, already appearing hungover and dejected.
“Sorry about your guy,” you tell them. “But at least you got to see some history. Oh, and I got you something, too”
As they stare at you blankly, you walk over to the guy with the nearest stack of beer cups and place yours on top of it, fully confident it went down smoother than any of theirs.