A Tradition Unlike Any Other, Augusta brings out the best golf in everyone (well in most cases at least). With a lot of story lines at play, which ones do you need to be concentrating on going forward after Thursday at the Masters.

Jordan Spieth

Spieth took home the Green Jacket in last year’s tournament, being the second youngest player to ever do so, though that doesn’t mean Spieth is a sure fire bet for this year’s Masters. If Spieth plays well enough to retain the Green Jacket, he would be the first player to do so since Woods in 2001-02. In fact, Spieth will first have to overcome the fact that no Masters champion of the past nine years has cracked the top 10 golfers at Augusta the following year. That being said, Spieth is still a force to be reckoned with in 2016, as Spieth has finished within the top 25 in every event this season outside of the Northern Trust Open. What happened at the Northern Trust Open you may ask? He missed the cut. But Spieth is on the right track, having shot tied the lowest opening round at the Masters by a defending champion. Most of the golf world will look to see if Spieth can keep this up through the weekend.

Rounding Out the Leaderboard

Tied for second are Danny Lee and Shane Lowry, both sitting 2 back from Spieth. Sergio Garcia and Justin Rose are tied with others for fourth at three under par, while McIlroy holds a share of ninth place at two under. Other notable scores include Brandt Snedeker and Lee Westwood (-1), Phil Mickelson, Louis Oosthuizen, Zach Johnson (Even), Dustin Johnson (+1), Bubba Watson (+3), Adam Scott (+), and Ricky Fowler (+8).

Sextuple Bogey?

Two time Masters champion Ernie Els didn’t start his weekend on the strongest note. On the first hole, Els was on the green lying three and sitting within a yard of the hole. What happened next made Masters history, and not in the good way. Els proceeded to miss not one, not two, but six putts within five feet of the hole, finishing with a solid 10 on a par four, a whooping sextuple bogey. On hole two, Els didn’t fare much better, three putting for an bogey after being setup for an eagle. Els could use a little time on the putting green before his tee time tomorrow, to say the least.

Groups to Watch

9:59 – Jason Day, Matt Kuchar, Ernie Els

11:05 – Martin Kaymer, Bill Haas, Rory McIlroy

12:33 – Zach Johnson, Rickie Fowler, Cheng Jin

12:55 – Jordan Spieth, Paul Casey, Bryson DeChambeau

1:50 – Justin Rose, Jamie Donaldson, Daniel Berger


Shawn Valdrighi

Sparks Sports Analyst