Much has been made about how hard golf is. There are those that think the game would be well served if it could find a way to soften it up in order to attract a larger audience. The game certainly doesn’t discriminate from one player to another. Consider last year’s major champions didn’t find the first round at Augusta National very easy. Defending champion Adam Scott posted a score of 3-under par, despite making a double bogey. However, Jason Dufner, Justin Rose and Phil Mickelson found Thursday to be quite challenging.
Dufner, the reigning PGA Champion, shot 80 at Augusta National that included making a 9 at the par-5 13th! The Open Champion, Mickelson recorded a triple bogey and a double to finish four over par. The only other time Phil Mickelson had two 7's-or-worse in the same major championship round was round three at the 1997 PGA Championship (T29). In other words, it happens! The US Open Champion, Justin Rose also made a double bogey en route to a four over par score of 76. Between the four major champions of 2013, the cumulative score was 15 over par. Adam Scott’s opening round helped to off set some of the damage inflicted by the others.
Former Masters’ Champ, Zach Johnson posted a score of 78 that left him in 80th place after the first round, while another former champion, Trevor Immelman was one higher at 79. Former world #1, Luke Donald, who has finished T3 in 2005 and T4 in 2011 at The Masters, also carded an opening round of 79, thanks in large part to raking up an 8 on the 9th hole. Former Masters champ and last year’s runner up to Adam Scott, Angel Cabrera opened with a 78 that included a triple bogey on the 11th hole.
It was also a harsh day for the beloved amateurs in the field at Augusta National. The low score was 76 (Fitzpatrick, Goss, Porteous), which put them in good company with Mickelson, Rose and Ian Poulter. However, the six amateurs were a combined +35 on the opening round.
If the game is still hard for the best of the best, professional or amateurs, how can be any other way for the rest of the world?