With no current or past member of the Ole Miss men’s golf team in the small field for the 2023 Masters, there’s no rooting interest tying us all together. We all have guys we root for or love an underdog story* we can get behind, but those don’t always match.
- An amateur making the weekend and hanging around
- Fred Couples’ back holding up and catching an unthinkable heater
- It’s both wild and accurate to say, but Tiger being relevant. Our brains correctly tell us he can’t do it over four days. Yet, there’s the part of us that refuses to give in and thinks MAYBE he has one last run at this place in him.
Since we likely won’t have a shared rooting interest, let’s create a scenario in which we do in the form of Ole Miss sports, as an experience, competing in the 2023 Masters Tournament (also pronounced Toon-a-mint, depending on a variety of factors, including, but not limited to: degree of jowls, redness of cheeks, and also saying “gub-mint”).
For the record, this post was partially inspired by Ole Miss women’s golfer Andrea Lignell, who finished third (THIRD) in the Augusta National Women’s Amateur last weekend. That tournament is a little different because it’s three rounds, with the first two played at another course in Augusta and the final round played at Augusta National.
Lignell made the turn in the final round four shots back, but she birdied the 11th and 12th holes (not birdie holes!) to get within two shots. She caught some bad luck off the tee on 14 and had tree trouble, which led to a bogey and ended any real chance at winning.
However, to Lignell’s credit, she did par the last four holes, and we did not have a #WAOM situation. Her performance will be very different from the one you’re about to read because [link to every instance of Ole Miss Sports dealing with pressure].
So let’s get to it, here is Ole Miss Sports playing at The Masters.
As the saying goes, you can’t win a golf tournament on Thursday, but you can destroy your chance to win. If you’re a savvy veteran of Ole Miss sports, you know blowout losses do happen when facing long odds, but a feature of life as an Ole Miss fan is the teams will often do enough initially to keep you interested.
The opening round is nothing spectacular, but we’re not falling behind. A few birdies erased by bogies, and we’re in with an even par 72.
The front nine in Round 2 was a classic “they’re about to fall off the tightrope and plummet to doom, yet somehow they never do.” We make the turn with a 38, needing to not collapse on the back nine if we want to see the weekend.
After avoiding disaster on 10 through 12, we RIDE SOME LIGHTNING, BABY. We birdie 13, eagle 15, birdie 16, and close it out with a birdie on 18 for a very nice 69, sitting at 3-under heading into the weekend.
After a shaky start, we right the ship and head to the back nine still at 3-under. Now it’s time to suck everyone in, to the point they’re all emotionally invested at an unhealthy level.
- 10th: Birdie
- 11th: Par
- 12th: Birdie
- 13th: Birdie
- 14th: Par
- 15th: Eagle
- 16th: Par
- 17th: Par
- 18th: Birdie
That would be 9-under and atop the leaderboard heading into Sunday. IT’S FINE. WE’RE ALL FINE. WHY WOULD WE NOT BE FINE. WHY ARE YOU LOOKING AT US LIKE THAT.
Like any first-time leader, it’s a struggle to calm the nerves over the first few holes. Eventually, we settle in and close out the front nine with a duct-taped-together 36, still maintaining our 9-under score and the lead.
After unexpected birdies at 10 and 11, we find ourselves at 11-under and a 4-shot lead. We stand on the tee at the 12th, trying to judge the wind on one of the most famous holes in golf.
All we need to do is hit a solid 8-iron anywhere on the green and not go in Rae’s Creek, which would create negative momentum that causes everything to unravel.
The soundtrack once the ball is in flight and for the next 6 holes:
If there is a positive, one of our drives hit a cabin thought to be unreachable off the tee, given the trees and distance from the fairway. And, if we had won, they would’ve stopped doing the choose-your-menu Champions Dinners because once we opened their eyes to Old Taylor fried catfish and City Grocery shrimp and grits, there would be no point in serving anything else in the future.