-- AUGUSTA, Ga. -- It's that magical time of year again when the flowers bloom, the pollen flies in the air, your allergies explode and I start the major grading process. I've found that some of the pros get even more annoyed at my grades than most of you golf fans, so I'll recommend the players inside the top 10 in the Official Golf World Rankings not read this. But for the rest of you, enjoy the Round 1 grades at the Masters from one of golf's most hallowed grounds.
This is a Jekyll and Hyde grade. A-plus for the 30 on the front nine. F for the 41 on the back. Even though I understand it and have been there as a caddie, it's still strange to watch a player look unbeatable, then lose it in the same round.
World ranking: No. 2
Score: 66 (-6)
Six birdies and zero bogeys. Spieth did what he hasn't been doing all year, and that's making big putts to save par. He missed six greens but never suffered for it. If Spieth's putter gets going like last year, this could be an easy defense of his first major title.
There were flashes of greatness, but some sloppiness as well. I believe this was his "bad" round, and that it was only a 70 means to me he's still in contention. The finish was frustrating (two bogeys in the last three holes) but it could be a good kick in the pants for the rest of this major.
It was all sunshine and rainbows until the ninth hole. From then on, it was crash, burn and repeat. But that's something Watson has admitted he needs to work on. He's close to learning how to grind, but this 75 ruined his chances of winning a third green jacket.
Three double-bogeys is just unacceptable in a major championship. And to do it in one round is not good. They say you can't win a tournament on the first day but you can lose one. Fowler just lost, that's what an 80 gets you on Day 1.
Even par is never a bad round at Augusta National, like a C-minus grade isn't necessarily a bad thing. But there's plenty of room for improvement. The double-bogey on 12 was the big mistake, but hitting 11 of 14 fairways means his tee game is on point. Only half the marks on his scorecard were pars, and that's troubling.
It would be easy to see six bogeys on a scorecard and assume it was the putter, but you know what they say when you assume. Scott was atrocious off the tee, finding only six of 14 fairways, which then translated to hitting only half of his greens. His putter never had a chance.
A nice charge on the front nine was ruined by a very inconsistent back. Johnson made five birdies overall, but threw in four bogeys and a double-bogey for good measure. On a course that has very generous fairways, DJ could hit only four.
Yes, 3 under is a good score, but one of Rose's bogeys came on the relatively easy par-5 second hole, hence the minus. Rose is still playing pretty good golf and is in the perfect position to make a nice move Friday. He has a U.S. Open title under his belt, so fast fairways and greens shouldn't faze him.
"D" is for Disappointment. Reed came into the week off a great showing a the WGC-Match Play, where he was hitting the ball great. In Round 1 of the Masters, he could manage only 50 percent greens in regulation and hit only 57 percent of the fairways. By the time he made his lone birdie on the 13th hole, the damage had been done.
How do I give a guy who shot 80 that kind of grade? Because he taught kids watching what to do and how to act after making a 9 on his very first hole with a six-putt. I want my kids to see that so I can say, "See, even when things don't go right for the best players in the world they don't quit." He justifiably isn't getting a trophy after this round but for a guy giving out grades every night, it's a lesson that should be applauded.
Steady. That's one of the keys around Augusta National. Even though he had only one birdie and one bogey, he scrambled well, missing only five greens on the day. He played exceptional for a guy who's not turning pro until next week. The "mad scientist" did the golf nerds proud in Round 1. Not bad for a guy playing alongside the defending champion, either.
Speaking of demons and putting ... how can I not put Sergio in here? After bogeys on the third and fourth holes, Garcia looked doomed for another ho-hum Masters on Thursday. But a great birdie (almost an eagle) on the ninth along with a four birdies in a row (on 13-16) on the back nine put the Spaniard in a tie for fourth going into Friday.