'Rahmbo' win's 87th Masters Tournanment

Amid the signature azaleas in full bloom, Jon Rahm swung his way to Masters victory this month at Augusta National Golf Club. Rahm outlasted numerous past victors and some of the best golfers active today. He gave a stellar performance on a challenging course made trickier by downpours and headwinds.

The famed Georgia course holds the first major golf championship of the year each spring. After four rounds of 18 holes, Rahm came out on top with a final score of 12 shots under par. He hails from northern Spain, and is currently ranked as the number one golfer in the world by the Official World Golf Ranking organization.

This year’s tournament prize fund was the largest in its history, doling out a whopping $18 million to the top players. Rahm earned a record-high purse of $3.24 million. To solidify the victory, Rahm outlasted his main challenger for the weekend, Brooks Koepka, who tied for second alongside the stalwart Phil Mickelson. Mickelson surged ahead late in the fourth round after starting out the weekend in a rough spot.

Koepka looked strong all weekend long, finishing the first three rounds in the number one spot. He didn’t slip until Sunday, when he dropped behind by four strokes, finishing +3 on the day to place second overall. (All told, he still earned a handsome share of the purse at $1.58 million, as did Mickelson).

The Norwegian Viktor Hovland jumped out in front during the first round, flamboyantly dressed in a shirt compared to an exploded watermelon. His strong start waned through the weekend, however, losing ground after a seven-under tied lead.

The amateur Sam Bennett looked good this year, far and away the best non-pro to play. At one point he was third among a field of 87. The Masters is an amateaur-friendly championship, and is the proving ground for many up and coming players. Bennett’s golf game is one to watch in the future.

And who can forget Tiger Woods, titan of golf in the 21st century. Woods snuck in with +3 to “make the cut” after a number of players faltered in the second round. The course grew more difficult as the weekend progressed, bogged down with rain and whipped with high winds. This Masters was twice delayed by weather, but the golfers got their fair share of rainy play, sloshing through a very soggy Saturday on the green.

Woods is now tied for most consecutive cuts ever made at the Masters — 23 in a row — after winning in 1997 with a record-setting 12 stroke lead. This year, he withdrew from play after making the cut. Was Woods trying to keep his legacy intact while maintaining his pride, by bowing out after two rounds while others slogged on? Quite possibly — but his significance in the game, although lesser in recent years, can’t be denied.

This year’s Masters was exciting to watch, kickstarting an entertaining season of golf. The next Major is the PGA championship in May, which Jon Rahm is currently favored to win. This could be the year for the Spaniard known affectionately as “Rahmbo.”