-- AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Sunday is the day checks are handed out like final grades. Some are left with memories of what could have been, some are elated with their performance, still others are simply content with the results of the work they put in. Regardless, they will be judged and graded. This Masters had all the drama we had hoped for -- even if some of the characters were not who we expected. Enjoy the Masters final grades.
The world's No. 1 golfer started in the same position as the eventual winner, Danny Willett, but instead of playing like a champion, Day played like an uncomfortable golfer just trying to get to the clubhouse as fast as he could.
World ranking: No. 2
Score: 66-74-73-73 (-2)
One hole, two bad swings, and the unbeatable one at the Masters beat himself. I feel for the guy, because this lesson was taught on the grandest stage in golf directly in the spotlight.
Holy roller coaster, Batman! Five pars in 18 holes and McIlroy shot only 1-under for the day? How many green jackets would Rory have if he didn't have to play the 10th and 11th holes on the weekends?
In the wildest statistic I've ever seen department, Watson shot 1-under yet hit only eight greens in regulation. Having only 25 putts will create a score like that.
Fowler's failing grade is for missing out on one of the wildest back nines in Masters history.
Finally the putter worked. Twenty-five putts on Sunday and a closing stretch of eagle-birdie-birdie-par gives me hope for Stenson in the future. This Sunday, it was much too late.
Scott finished off as bad as he started this Masters. How someone with perfect posture and setup can miss half the fairways at this place would take two geniuses with their doctorate in some applied physics field to figure out. But it's easier to give Scott a failing grade instead.
While I realize people will not understand this grade because he blew a chance to win, the fact that he put himself in that position and was in the mix on the 16th tee is what's important. In the end he still shot under par on the day. Only 20 other players in the field can say that.
I would have loved to give Rose a B+, but ending with back-to-back bogeys just didn't feel like a positive grade to me. Starting at the par-3 sixth hole, Rose went on an 11-hole stretch of six birdies and no bogeys. His final-round 70 gave him a backdoor top-10 finish. That's respectable considering his world ranking.
I want Reed to be exactly what he feels: one of the top five players in the world. Dropping a 76 on a Sunday when he had little stress on his shoulders is not how to get there. Reed has been around this track enough that he shouldn't have a 33-putt day, yet there it was and here's his failing grade.
If you're all-in on this year's U.S. Ryder Cup team, you better slow your roll. Casey's bogey-free 67 catapulted him to a tie for fourth and should send shivers down the spine of U.S. captain Davis Love III. He had only 25 putts, and was three-for-three in sand saves, with only 11 greens in regulation. That will make Casey a force to deal with the rest of this year and potentially at the Ryder Cup, if he decides to join the European Tour.
With a tip of the cap to Mother Nature for the assist, we got it all this week. From perfect, warm weather to cold, windy conditions, the course never got out of control. Sure, wind gusts blew two balls off greens, and Billy Horschel might be still bitter about it. But from the egg salad sandwiches to the Par-3 Contest to the honorary first tee on Thursday, this Masters was everything we were hoping for, and that gets an A+.
Those back-nine roars we love to hear late in the afternoon on Sunday of the Masters were mostly for Willett. He shot a bogey-free 67 with a 33 on the back nine, and that's exactly the kind of thing I love a champion to accomplish. Do you think it was just a coincidence that Willett's caddie had the same number jumpsuit as Jackie Nicklaus did 30 years ago in 1986? It may have been destiny.