AUGUSTA, Ga. — They roamed with purpose, Jon Rahm and Brooks Koepka, big and powerful and inevitable, like water buffalos on the hunt. Hunt, that’s what we saw. The Masters is usually more romantic and less pugilistic. But romance went out the window after Friday’s 30-degree temperature drop and Saturday’s second coming of Noah’s Ark washed away the meek. And though there were others after the same prize, from the start of Sunday’s marathon, the field of 51 was really down to two, Rahm and Koepka, together in isolation, both knowing there was enough for just one to eat.
It wasn’t pretty, because hunts rarely are. It wasn’t dramatic, because hunts are only dramatic on Animal Planet. The thing about hunts is they are not won by the quickest or most ferocious. Those are assets, but the true arbiter of a hunt is a refusal to surrender. As his opponent lost his breath and succumbed to fatigue, Rahm stayed steady, remained patient and struck with precision. And for that he captured the 87th Masters Tournament.
“Hard to put it into words. Obviously we all dream of things like this as players, and you try to visualize what it’s going to be like and what it’s going to feel like,” Rahm said after authoring a final-round 69 for a four-shot win at 12 under over Koepka, who closed with a 75, and Phil Mickelson (65). “And when I hit that third shot on the green [at the 18th], and I could tell it was close by the crowd’s reaction, just the wave of emotion of so many things just overtook me. Never thought I was going to cry by winning a golf tournament, but I got very close on that 18th hole.”