⛳Hey Mr. DJ, put a record on
The GIST: COVID-19 may have put a damper on 2020 for most of us, but it couldn’t stop Dustin Johnson (DJ) from capping off his career-best year with a green jacket. When it rains, it pours.
Give me the details: Johnson, who tested positive for COVID-19 in October, won the Masters yesterday, his fourth PGA Tour win since June. As the current No. 1 golfer in the world, DJ has spent over 100 weeks in the top spot over his career and has clinched 27 professional wins since his first in 2008 — but yesterday’s win was only his second career major.
- His cumulative 20-under par score was a Masters record, and he also recorded the fewest bogeys (just four) in Masters history. Known for his stoic, reserved demeanor, DJ stayed calm all weekend to finish five strokes ahead of the runners-up...and then let it all out during his post-round interview. We’re not crying, you’re crying.
So sweet. How did the rest of the field do?: DJ wasn’t the only record-setter this weekend. Cameron Smith, the runner-up from Australia, became the first golfer in Masters history to shoot all four rounds in the 60s. Smith’s fellow runner-up at 15-under par, Sungjae Im of South Korea, also set the record for best-ever Masters debut.
- Last year’s winner Tiger Woods recorded the worst hole of his entire career when he shot 10 on a par three (ouch!), and at 63, two-time champ Bernhard Langer became the oldest player to make the cut at the Masters. You get a record, he gets a record, everybody gets a record!
How did our Canadians do?: Aside from DJ (who we consider an honorary Canadian by virtue of being engaged to Wayne Gretzky’s daughter), our Canadians did pretty well. Three of the four made the cut, including 2003 Masters champ Mike Weir, and Corey Connors, who shot the lowest Masters round by a Canadian ever.
What’s up next?: The men’s majors are done for the year, but the LPGA has one left: the U.S. Women’s Open from December 10–13th in Houston, TX. If all goes according to plan, the 2021 LPGA and PGA golf majors will kick off in April. Don’t touch our 2021 golf season, COVID-19.
We’re all about supporting and amplifying women’s sports. That’s why we couldn’t be more excited to celebrate ’s $1 million (!!!) commitment to the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association () to help advocate for a new equitable professional women’s hockey league.
Just like us, Spooner’s initial reaction to the news of Secret’s commitment was pure excitement.
“The most amazing feeling was to know that they believed in our sport and all the work that we’ve been doing and trying to push for,” she said. “People are now realizing that women’s hockey is worth investing in and that people want to watch it.” If you air it, they will come.
Secret’s investment also signals a potential ground-breaking moment for the game. These women have already been fighting a hard-fought equal pay battle, and this incredible commitment could spark a culminating moment of change.
“Hopefully this is showing other sponsors that wow, they’re getting a lot of returns from their investment...and supporting so many amazing players and people that hopefully we can get some more on board...and keep fighting to eventually get a sustainable women’s league.” Yes, please!
While a handful of early sponsors helped the PWHPA past, Secret’s massive commitment will set the tone for even more sponsors to step up to the
“Last year we had some pretty amazing sponsors,” Spooner noted. “And now with Secret really stepping up big, I think it does kind of set that precedent.”
At the heart of Secret’s funding commitment is a 2021 Dream Gap Tour that will feature your favourite stars competing in six showcase events across North America with cash prizes and the coveted Secret Cup up for grabs.
Unsurprisingly, Spooner is just as pumped about the tour as we are. “We’re going on this amazing tour where we’re going to be able to hit some amazing places and inspire lots of young girls,” she said. We’re so ready.
Source: PWHPA x Secret
Spooner also discussed how Secret’s investment could help to alleviate the complicated dynamics between the PWHPA, NHL, Hockey Canada and USA Hockey.
“The ultimate goal for me would be for them all to be on board and we would have kind of that WNBA model,” she said. “I think the fact that we’re able to get a million dollar sponsorship from Secret is going to make them open their eyes a little bit wider and say ‘Wow, it’s happening now and people are interested.”
The Secret Dream Gap tour will also satisfy our hockey cravings as we wait for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics and inspire a new crop of fans heading into the games.
“It’s not that people are just going to be watching us every four years at the Olympics,” Spooner said of how Secret’s investment will change the game. “They’re going to be able to watch us the other three years that are in between. And with the marketing and getting us out there, hopefully people become fans before the Olympics.”
And on the topic of attracting more fans, we also asked Spooner about the recent increases in viewership for women’s sports and how that will translate to increased broadcasts of women’s ice hockey.
“You can’t deny those numbers,” Spooner said of the increased viewership for the WNBA and NWSL. “I think if we can get our games on TV, more people are going to become fans and realize how good the game has gotten and how fast and how skilled the players are.” We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: .
“We’ve just come so far,” Spooner said. “I know from here it’s only going to go up.”
⛳Just an old sweet song
The GIST: First we watched Georgia count election ballots for 96 straight hours, and now we get to watch them host the Masters for 96 hours. Anyone up for a Real Housewives of Atlanta marathon next?
Tell me about the Masters!: This tournament is one of the world’s most prestigious sporting events. Usually held in April at the legendary Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia, the major that usually kicks off the men’s professional golf season was pushed back to November to close out the shortened season.
- Becoming a Masters champion is men’s golf’s greatest achievement. Not only does the champ take home a trophy and a sweet $2.07 million paycheck, but they also earn a green jacket, a lifetime invitation to the tournament, and honorary membership at the ultra-exclusive golf course.
- It’s not all sunshine and
rosesazaleas though. The history of the Masters is steeped in racism and sexism. For more on Augusta National’s dark past (and TBH, present) listen to this week’s episode of our podcast The GIST of It.
Who’s going to win?: The Masters can be pretty predictable, except for when they’re not. Tiger Woods won his fifth green jacket last year, and past champions include top golfers like Phil Mickelson, Jordan Speith and Sergio Garcia (who won’t be playing this year after his COVID-19 diagnosis on Monday).
- But sometimes, it just takes one good weekend of golf for a dark horse to emerge. In 2016, Theon Greyjoy look-alike Danny Willett came out of nowhere to win in only his second Masters appearance. And in 2008, Trevor Immelman became the Masters’ biggest underdog champion when he landed his first major victory just four months after having a benign tumor removed from his stomach.
- All that to say, stay on your toes! While we could see Tiger or Phil repeat or top players like Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson or Bryson DeChambeau win their first, it’s just as possible this year’s winner will be an unknown.
⛳Red and white...and green
The GIST: We’re usually watching hockey this time of year, but we’re trading in our sticks for golf clubs this weekend to give you #thegist on the four golfers looking to bring the green jacket home to Canada this weekend.
The winner: In 2003, Mike Weir became the first Canadian and first left-handed golfer to win the Masters, and because of his lifelong free pass into the tournament, Weir will be back in contention today.
- At 50, “Weirsy” now plays on the Champions Tour (aka the seniors’ tour), has posted three top ten finishes this year and is feeling pretty good about his chances this weekend. He’ll tee off at 8:17 a.m. ET today.
The contenders: Corey Connors (tee time 7 a.m. ET) and Adam Hadwin (7:22 a.m. ET) are both making their third Masters appearances, and while neither has come close to winning it before, they both made it to the season-ending FedEx Cup playoffs this year. The fourth Canadian, Nick Taylor (11:05 a.m. ET), is making his Masters debut.
- Weir’s 2003 win had a huge impact on an entire generation of Canadian golfers. Conners, Hadwin and Taylor all name Weir as their golf idol, making Tuesday’s all-Canadian practice foursome (pictured above) extra special. Grab some maple syrup and watch the Canadian action all weekend on TSN.
Bop to the top
⚽️Soccer: It’s Draft Day! With Racing Louisville FC joining the NWSL next season, the 2020 NWSL Expansion Draft is taking place today. This draft is a bit different from normal entry drafts in that the new team gets to build its roster by drafting players from other teams in the league.
- Louisville’s roster already features Yūki Nagasato and Savannah McCaskill, who were traded from the Chicago Red Stars in October, so tonight, they’ll select 16 additional players, two from each of the remaining teams. Learn more about the format here, and follow the action here.
🏈Football: As the NFL’s COVID-19 reserve list — which now includes undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger — grows longer and the possibility of more canceled games continues, the NFL team owners have approved a contingency plan.
- In the case that some teams aren’t able to play all 16 scheduled games in 17 weeks, the league will expand the playoff field from 14 to 16 teams to help those who may have missed a meaningful game.
- The owners also approved a new diversity plan that rewards teams with draft picks for developing minority hires into coaching and executive positions. We can definitely get behind this plan if it means more women and BIPOC in the league.
🧗🏻♀️Climbing: Let’s end on a high...literally. Free-climber Emily Harrington made herstory last week when she became the first woman to free climb (without a protective harness) the Golden Gate route of El Capitan in a day. Emily climbed 3,000 feet in just over 21 hours to conquer El Cap, a rock formation in Yosemite National Park featured in the documentary Free Solo. High five!