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Writing the 2023 Masters postscript

The First Call readers offer their final thoughts on the year's first major — the winner, the PGA Tour vs. LIV Golf drama and other assorted observations

The Masters
Jon Rahm acknowledges the crowd after winning the 2023 Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on April 9, 2023.

Question of the week [April 10-16]: What are your thoughts on the 2023 Masters?

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It was awesome watching all of the players getting along and playing great golf under sometimes trying weather conditions. I can’t say that for the talking bobbleheads at Golf Channel. Some of the commentators took every opportunity to get digs into the LIV Golf players and tour. It was sickening. Then there’s the fact there was more talking head coverage (mostly opinions) than showing the golfers golfing. Sunday was an improvement, but only after they took big hits in social media from the terrible, or lack of, golfing coverage. 

Dawn Gauthier 
Abbyville, South Carolina

After 72 years on this earth and at least 65 of them involved in golf, I have reached the point where I can no longer listen to the broadcasters or commentators. I will now watch on mute. I can no longer understand that the qualifications necessary to qualify as an expert golf commentator are a foreign accent.

Curtis Strange, who has on more than one occasion displayed broadcasting, as well as playing proficiency, was run out of the broadcasting booth due to complaints about his "Southern twang." In his place we get Trevor Immelman and Ian Baker-Finch having to make a comment every time someone else on the broadcast says something — and they have nothing to add.

I am sick of listening to them telling me "what a fine young man" someone is. This is supposed to be a sports event, not a character evaluation. And finally Colt Knost, a wannabe comedian and flame out as a player. If I want comedy, I'll watch Saturday Night Live.

Dave Parske
Fort Myers, Florida

Another magnificent tournament. Most of the very best players in the world were there — kudos to Mr. Ridley and the Masters. 

The course? Well, it always stands up to the test of time and history, and provides a great venue. Love the change to the No. 13 tee box. 

I don't think the CBS talking heads did a particularly good job of keeping me abreast of what all the players were doing, and how they were playing along (i.e., LIV Golf vs. PGA Tour personal prejudices were evident).

I was hoping for a real Sunday shootout between Jon Rahm and Brooks Koepka, but BK just wasn't up to it.  When he hit his tee ball off No. 1 dead left, well, I went back and fixed another pimento sandwich to settle down. 

Bottom line for me: LIV Golf just is not set up to provide competitive tournaments to assure that those guys can stand the pressure of coming down the stretch. Fourteen tournaments a year? Team play (ain't my fault the team lost) and 54-hole events? LIV should consider a bit of restructuring for sure.

Tom Powers
Bradenton, Florida

Sadly a tournament marred by horrific weather. Despite inclement playing conditions, the Masters still produced a compelling final round and a very worthy champion in Jon Rahm.

As per usual there were unexpected storylines the most notable being Phil Mickelson’s tie for second. How nice and unexpected was that? The LIV Golf storyline did not really play out beyond Mickelson’s subdued presence. Players were congenial to one another out of deep respect to Augusta National Golf Club and the Masters.

Despite the terrible weather Masters week was still the highlight of my golf viewing for 2023. The Masters never disappoints. It's one of kind.

Reid Farrill
Toronto, Ontario

I truly enjoy the Masters this time of year. Watching with my dad, and now I watch it with my sons ... a family tradition.

The difference this year was that I normally don’t root for anyone in particular, just marvel at Augusta National and the great golf, but I have to admit this year I was hoping a non-LIV Golf player would win.

I just didn’t want to hear Greg Norman blowing his horn about  his secondary tour. The game of golf is built upon integrity. I remember learning at a young age from my dad that golf is the only sport we are able to call our own penalties on ourselves. I don’t hold anything against the players who went for the money, but it’s just where the money came from. That doesn’t sit well with me. 

Integrity is what this game was built upon and the source of LIV revenue is coming from a branch of a government that doesn’t respect human rights. That put aside, it was wonderful to see a young Spaniard [Jon Rahm] win on Seve Ballesteros' birthday on April 9 with the caddie number 4/9, which still gives me chills and reassures that the powers above are watching out for this great game. 

Desmond Martello
Culver, Indiana 

Kudos to the Masters hierarchy for stepping up and allowing LIV Golf players to compete in the Masters. The decision to include / invite the greatest golfers on the planet to participate in its tournament was monumental and reverberated throughout the entire golfing world. By making this bold decision, they clearly demonstrated exactly why they are the most powerful and influential entity in the world of golf.  

The timeless, age-old adage "the proof is in the pudding” sums it up best. Where would the Masters have been without the drama and excitement added by players like Brooks Koepka, Phil Mickelson, Patrick Reed, etc. Long live the Masters.

Juan Elizondo
Omaha, Nebraska     

I thought the tournament was a success. Save for the Saturday mix-up in leaders coverage, the announcers did a great job. They put aside, for the most part, the differences and finger pointing of the PGA Tour vs. LIV Golf and focused on golf professionals hitting challenging shots and speedy sharply breaking putts.

I’m certain the directive from [Augusta National Golf Club chairman] Fred Ridley had something to do with it. We the viewers were the victors. I’m not sure how the celebration and presentation of the jacket would have gone had Brooks held on Sunday to win the event. That was not the case and a well-deserving champion Jon Rahm prevailed. 

Paul Vicary
The Villages, Florida

So many thoughts, so little time.

Couldn't be happier that Jon Rahm came through for the PGA Tour.

Will be interesting to find out if Phil Mickelson is really back or if he was just motivated by the criticism he has received the past year. I suspect the latter.

Also wondering if Koepka faded from the fatigue of 72 holes. The last 18 didn't look anything like the first 54.

Jay Rogers
St. Louis, Missouri

I watched the television broadcasts with greater interest this year because I was at Augusta National for the Augustal National Women's Amateur on April 1 — my first visit to the golf course.

We walked the entire 18 holes that Saturday, which gave me a better understanding of the layout and how the professionals approach the holes. I recall the days of CBS showing just the last four holes, then the back nine only and then the entire course, now with great graphics.

Trevor Immelman did an outstanding job. While I was interested in how the players were scoring, I was equally interested in how each player played each hole and how the commentators gave us very accurate putting reads.

While I'm not a fan of LIV and the players who bolted from the PGA Tour for the money of LIV, I enjoyed having almost all of the best players in the world competing at the Masters. I wanted everyone to play better as the tournament progressed.

The only sad note was watching players falter the final day instead of playing well. I commented that maybe Brooks Koepka isn't used to playing 72 holes. desires the shotgun start with everyone trying to finish at the same time, and needs team members for encouragement. He appeared to play defensively. Jon Rahm is a good champion and winning the Masters is a tribute to his work ethic on and off the course.

Jim Pomeranz
Cary, North Carolina

Jim Nantz is a joke, mostly always has been. If not for his fetish for Tiger Woods and the foreign players, he wouldn't be able to talk. Well, maybe about his buddy, the great and amazing Fred Couples.
The total lack of acknowledgement for second place with Brooks Kopeka and Phil Mickelson was absolutely disgusting. Your written commentary on LIV Golf sucks most generally, but to almost totally ignore the oldest major winner and the oldest player to ever come in second in any major is terrible. But it is totally expected from left-wing rags like CBS, ESPN and the golf media.

John Gasper
Titusville, Florida

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