Otago Daily Times
Hole in one heroics a quiet affair
AUGUSTA, Georgia: Jon Rahm yesterday had a holeinone at Augusta National for the second day in a row, and this time there was a camera to record the feat for posterity, even if there were no fans to celebrate the feat.
There is no record of Rahm’s Tuesday ace at the 206m fourth hole, except for a short grainy video of him extracting the ball from the cup.
But the TV cameras were running yesterday when the Spaniard stepped up to the tee box at the par3 16th on his 26th birthday, and attempted a trick shot that is part of the Masters practice round tradition.
Eschewing a tee, he hit his ball off the turf and skipped it across the pond, his ball skimming the water three times before bouncing up on to the putting surface.
From there it rolled and rolled, taking the contour of the green perfectly and curling up and around to the left and then down into the cup, which was cut in the back left corner of the green.
His ball was on the move for 20 seconds, the excitement only building as it got closer and closer to the hole.
In normal times there would have been thousands of spectators milling about the hole, but in the absence of fans — banned this year due to Covid19 concerns, only a handful of people witnessed the feat and screamed in delight.
Rahm could barely contain his joy, while practice round partner Rickie Fowler almost keeled over in laughter at the improbability of it all.
The episode offered a timely reminder of how this year’s Masters will be so very different.
Although players have quickly adjusted to playing without fans since returning to competition after a threemonth professional golf shutdown, the Masters and its ‘‘patrons’’, as they are known, are inextricably linked.
‘‘Just imagine the roars that would have created in a normal year,’’ Rory McIlroy said, speaking at a news conference shortly after learning of Rahm’s ace.
Imagine also if there had been nobody there when Tiger Woods chipped in famously at the same 16th hole and celebrated with a primal scream in the final round on the way to victory in 2005.
Or if all had been quiet when Jack Nicklaus almost aced the hole as he charged to victory in 1986. — Reuters