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What They Said and What They Meant: Translating Top Masters Contenders

What They Said and What They Meant: Translating Top Masters Contenders article feature image

Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports

Professional golfers are people, too. Just like most other people, the world’s best golfers are usually pretty honest. Ask ’em a question, and they’ll almost always try to offer a thoughtful response.

But we’d be foolish to think some of their words don’t carry hidden meaning.

Prior to this week’s Masters Tournament, some of the field’s top contenders sat down in the Augusta National interview room and offered their best answers. They were honest, sure. But let’s read between the lines and see what they would’ve said if they were, well, just a teeny bit more honest.


Jordan Spieth

What he said: “I think this course brings out the feel aspect of my game, which is the better side of me on the golf course. It’s not a technical, driving-range golf course. … I think that’s helped me kind of settle in and not overthink things out here and get into a nice groove, and it’s led to some success at this event.”

What he meant: I seriously cannot believe some of you are still doubting me going into this week. Have you seen my record here? I won when I was 21 years old, should have won again the next year and have two runner-up finishes. But you nerds look at my strokes gained putting in the Valspar Championship and think I won’t contend here again. That’s hilarious.

Jason Day

What he said: “I got a new set of irons. I wasn’t quite happy with how I was hitting it at the Match Play. I was launching it a little bit higher and spinning a little bit too much, and I think that everyone here knows that until you come here, you don’t understand or realize that there is a lot of breeze here at times, and you have to be able to control your trajectory and your spin.”

What he meant: I don’t think putting new irons into the bag for Masters week is too impulsive. Wait, do you? Should I change back? No, I think these are good clubs. Unless you think the other ones are better…

Rickie Fowler

What he said: “It’s fun to see your friends win. It’s fun to see them play well. I want to beat my friends when they’re playing well. Like you said, it is a motivation factor in a way. Seeing JT and Jordan and Bubba, seeing Sergio win here last year, it is fun to see.”

What he meant: I’m going to win a major – and soon. When I do, if all of those dudes aren’t standing by the last green ready to spray me with champagne, they’re off my Christmas card list forever.

Justin Rose

What he said: “I really have positive and fond memories of last year. I hit a lot of great shots. I don’t feel like it was a tournament that anybody lost, really, per se. It was great to be a part of a Sunday exciting back nine with birdies and eagles. It was just one of those situations where one guy was going to lose.”

What he meant: I had nightmares about losing that playoff for weeks afterward. But I worked with a sports psychologist and he helped me repress all of the ugly memories. It was like that ‘Men in Black’ mind-eraser thing. I showed up this week and literally have no bad memories of that loss.


Dustin Johnson

What he said: “I’m starting to swing it a lot better. Feeling a lot better on the golf course, for sure.”

What he meant: I’m starting to swing it a lot better. Feeling a lot better on the golf course, for sure.

Bubba Watson

What he said: “I don’t know if you ever played the game of golf, but it’s very difficult to do it every day perfectly. It’s never been done. Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods have definitely come close to doing it perfectly. It’s just golf. Bubba golf, yeah, it’s the way I play golf, so sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad.”

What he meant: Look, I’ve got two wins here, but I’ve never finished better than 20th in my other seven starts. And I have no idea how to explain that, so I’m just going to say it’s ‘Bubba golf’ and you’re all going to nod your heads and smile, because that sounds like a decent explanation.

Phil Mickelson

What he said: “I felt myself pulling so hard for [Tiger]. It was unusual. I want him to play well. I am excited to see him play so well. And he is playing well.”

What he meant: There’s an old saying: Keep your friends close and, well, you guys know the rest.

Tiger Woods

What he said: “I went from a person who really had a hard time getting up, walking around, sitting down, anything, to now swinging the club 129 [mph]. That is a miracle, isn’t it?”

What he meant: When I win this week, you guys are all going to compare it to my 2008 U.S. Open win on a torn ACL, but I’m telling you: This is gonna be wayyyyy more impressive.

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