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Gallagher's Five Parting Thoughts From the 2024 Masters

I was sitting watching the back nine on Sunday afternoon, thinking it must be nice to be Tedd Scott. Formerly the caddie for Bubba Watson, he was on the bag for the left-hander's two victories at the Masters in 2012 and 2014. Now, with Scottie Scheffler, since the start of the 2022 season, Scott has been with the 27-year-old for each of his green jacket wins. The duo has also won three times in the past five weeks, including triumphs at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP. Who covers the dinner bill on the road? Following a virtuoso performance from the number one player in the world, here are my five parting thoughts from another historic week at Augusta National Golf Club.

Low Point for LIV

Players on the LIV Golf tour proved they could still compete at the Masters last season. Highlighted by a T2 finish from Brooks Koepka and Phil Mickelson, three more golfers also finished inside the top 30. However, the 2024 Masters once again cast major question marks on whether these competitors could keep up with the top stars on the PGA Tour going forward. Unable to find the same success as a year ago, five of the 13 LIV members in the field saw their tournaments end early after missing the cut. Meanwhile, defending champion John Rahm and Brooks Koepka each had a quiet week. After sneaking inside the cut line to play the weekend, they both faltered to a T45 finish.

Rough Week for Rory

Rory McIlroy's quest for a green jacket and to complete the career grand slam will have to wait another year. Appearing to have gained momentum over the last few weeks, coming off a third-place finish at the Valero Texas Open, the 34-year-old struggled in the harsh conditions at Augusta National on Thursday and Friday. Following an opening 71, he posted a second-round 77, including a double bogey on the 11th hole after his approach shot overcooked the green and found the water. Now turning his attention to next month's PGA Championship at Valhalla, the current world number two won his last major at the Louisville, Kentucky course a decade ago in 2014.

Wobbling Woods

Were there some positives for the 15-time major champion this weekend? For the 24th consecutive Masters, Woods played himself into the weekend after battling windy conditions on Friday afternoon to shoot a 36-hole score of 1-over par. However, the 48-year-old carded the worst round of his legendary career on Saturday, a 10-over 82 that left him at 11 over for the tournament and out of contention for his sixth green jacket. Ultimately, walking off the green on Sunday after finishing at 16 over, this was the highest 72-hole score that Woods has ever posted. Furthermore, it was the first time he had finished last among the players who had cut the 2020 Genesis Invitational. With finishes of T38 and 47 at the Masters since his magical win in 2019, you have to wonder if his days competing at major championships are all but over going forward.

Laudable Ludvig

I think the question now for Ludvig Aberg is not if he will collect many major championship trophies throughout his career, but how many. Making his Masters debut, the 24-year-old finished second behind Scheffler at seven under par. Once in a four-way tie for the lead on the 11th hole on Sunday afternoon, the former number one amateur in the world sent his approach shot into the water, leading to a double bogey. However, the Swedish native was able to bounce back and birdie holes 13 and 14 to pull within two shots of Scheffler briefly. Overall, the Texas Tech product carded three straight rounds under par after opening with a 73 on Thursday.

Scheffler Shines

My favorite stat that describes this remarkable run of golf that Scheffler is on is when looking at Strokes Gained: Total, the gap between him and the number two player in that category, Xander Schauffele, is the same gap between the 20th ranked golfer and the 110th golfer in the world. Capturing the green jacket for the second time in three years, the Texan pulled away on the back nine on Sunday afternoon while firing dart after dart into the Augusta greens en route to a final round 68. While his challengers wilted away and faltered after making crucial mistakes, the usually cool, calm, and collected demeanor of the 27-year-old allowed him to navigate the always-difficult Amen corner easily.

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