AUGUSTA, Ga. — In 11: 27 Thursday morning, as though he didn’ t belong with all the two-footed players, Tony Finau discovered a spot on the practice range method down at the right end. Generally there he experimented. Could he strike a shot standing on his right feet only? If he made the move to his left side— virtually the definition of the golf swing— may that ankle bone come unfastened from the foot bone once more plus nobody could put it together once again?
With an inquisitive, even perverse, fascination, a couple number of people sat in the bleachers viewing Finau work. These clearly had been people with nothing else to do. The last they’ d heard, Finau was going for an MRI to determine if things was broken in there or turned beyond immediate repair. To see your pet running through wedge shots as much as drivers was to know, OK, he’ s gonna play and we may as well follow him around to see precisely when he steps sideways on the tree root or slips lower a hillside on Augusta National’ s devilish pine straw.
Who would want to view Tony Finau, 28 years old, lengthy and lean, 6-foot-4 with khakis sliding off his hips, the renowned bomber but only an one time winner on the PGA Tour? Hey, Tiger was back again! The only story, Gambling. Tiger this, Tiger that. Problem all around the place was, what’ s i9000 Tiger doing? The answer came silently, for Tiger did a 73, and so did most everybody else along with two feet. And while Tiger has been still being mortal, what was Tony a2z Finau doing?
He was doing a freakin’ wonder.
Started the day not sure he ought to get up. You wouldn’ t have strolled five or six miles upon hilly ground in Georgia temperature. I wouldn’ t have strolled five or six feet towards the john. Tony Finau walked the particular walk and shot a four-under-par 68 in his first round in the first Masters.
“ Embarrassing and frightening, ” he called the pratfall. He previously sprinted away from the tee plus turned back, waving in first-Masters giddiness, when his left ankle joint not only gave way, it provided way so badly— torn ligaments— that his foot set with 90 degrees to its previous anchor. More grotesquely, even as he or she sprawled on the ground, he reached right down to his ankle and shoved it in return in place.
“ I saw where it was, ” he or she said, “ and I knew exactly where it needed to be. ”
Yikes! Grown-up people viewed the video through their fingers.
However by 3: 21 this afternoon Tony a2z Finau’ s name had gone on the leader board. He drove this killer distances, he got it down and up from everywhere, he made 6 birdies, he one-putted nine situations, and even a guy who grew up along with him— his brother, Gipper, every pro golfer himself— saw Finau enjoying the stroll.
“ He never limped once all day, ” the Gipper said. “ And he didn’ capital t change his game. You don’ t shoot those numbers whilst you’ re making adjustments. This individual was Tony all day. ”
Tony’ s viewpoint: “ It was nothing short of magic … ”
Fluffy Zoeller, a Masters champion, a new recipe for back pain: “ Vodka and Valium. ” Simply no such juices for Finau, who have said he played without medication, without injections, “ just some function and tape, quite a bit of tape” that will mostly immobilized the ankle.
He was one-under when he came to the 8th tee. He’ d birdied the particular par-5 second and the par-3 4th, making short putts each time. Sometimes he walked like a man not every that eager to put a painful foot on the ground. Occasionally he lagged behind his playing partners. Occasionally he was cautious walking down hill.
That finished on the eighth tee.
“ KILLED FIRST TEE SHOT! ” The note of that moment. Then: “ 2d to rt front, short. (No prob walkng so far. ) Pitch to 3’. Birdie. -2. ”
The ninth had been proof certain that we were watching Lazarus take a stroll.
“ KILLED IT AWAY FROM TEE. Langer putt shows collection. Makes. 35’, 12 steps to opening. No pain now. Floating at this point. Brk the other one, he is victorious. ”
At the 10th, again on Langer’ s line, Finau made an additional 30-footer, this time saving par out from the woods along the fairway’ s correct side.
In 4: 45 p. m., 5 hours since he came to the product range to see if he could play whatsoever, Finau was tied for the first-round lead. Then he put his 2nd over the 15th green, pitched to a foot, and as he strolled to the 16th tee, at five o’ clock this afternoon, he directed the Masters by a shot. (Jordan Spieth came along later, six below, two in front of Finau and Shiny Kuchar. )
Wednesday night, he iced the particular foot and slept with it raised.
Tonight, many same.
“ And hopefully feel better tomorrow, ” he said.