2020 Masters Choose Your Own Adventure, Rory McIlroy vs. Brooks Koepka: Grinding It Out


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

Koepka continues to try and play.

“I can’t imagine him hitting another shot,” you say to the woman who’d suggested Koepka was going to soon withdraw. “He’s in too much pain.”

You’d come to Augusta National today to witness the final round in person for the first time, taking in the sights and sounds that so many have enjoyed for so long. Walking with this pairing, though, the underlying subplot of Koepka’s painful plight took over your entire thought process.

You’ll never admit to being soft, but, well, you’re not quite as tough as the guy you’ve been watching all day.

You’re the kind of person who can’t swing a golf club without first bathing in Icy-Hot, the kind who uses a hangnail as an excuse for three-putting.

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Koepka’s pain was visible on his face the entire day, a pain so deep that you couldn’t imagine attempting to make a swing, let alone trying to play in the Masters. You’d always been lukewarm on him — sure, he’s a great player, but the machismo act is sometimes a bit unsettling.

Now, though? He was earning a fan for life.

When it was over, when Koepka had gritted out a final-round 2-under 70 despite barely being able to walk, you inched up as close to the 18th green as you could get, letting out the loudest cheer and leaving your applause to linger for a few seconds after everyone else had stopped.

It wasn’t the best performance of the day. It wasn’t the lowest score and he didn’t win the tournament.

But just by Koepka continuing to grind it out, you were ecstatic that you’d stayed with this pairing and watched him all day.

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