Shock, disappointment, jubilation and more have been leveled at the final results of the 2014 Masters, but all that truly matters for the players themselves now that the action is complete is how the final leaderboard impacts the 2014 U.S. Open.
While the 2014 iteration is a ways away on June 12 at Pinehurst in North Carolina, momentum gained is something that can translate to success at the sport's next big tournament.
The inverse is also very much a reality.
Here's a look at noteworthy results that may have an impact on the proceedings in North Carolina in less than two months.
Phil Mickelson's Early Exit
What in the world?
Things look bleak for Phil Mickelson, who put together arguably his worst performance to date at Augusta with a 76 and 73 in the first two rounds to bow out beneath the cut line.
The culprit? Two triple bogeys. As ESPNGolf's Justin Ray helps to point out, it was quite the unusual showing for Lefty:
Mickelson has never won the U.S. Open, instead finishing as the runner-up six times. Given his current form, it's hard to see how Mickelson will even reach that threshold.
If the Masters are any indication, he won't be in first place by the time the event in North Carolina concludes.
Jordan Spieth's Second-Place Surprise
It seems like decades ago Jordan Spieth missed the cut at the U.S. Open as a rookie, but it was actually just a year ago.
Spieth's jarring rise to stardom is something to behold. He started the 2013 season ranked outside of the top 800 and now is the youngest player in Masters history to finish as a runner-up. As Sean Jensen astutely illustrates, it's just the beginning:
It takes a special kind of something for a 20-year-old golfer to hit a shot like this while in the hunt at Augusta:
Spieth, armed with the knowledge he can compete with the best in the world on the biggest stage of all, has a big tournament in store at the U.S. Open this year. Let's just say he'll make the cut this time.
Matt Kuchar's Consistency
Matt Kuchar is due.
He finished tied for fifth at two-under at the Masters, but that's business as usual this year. He has a stunning six top-10 finishes and the last three have seen him place in the top five.
It's not just that Kuchar has consistency. To top it all off, he set a personal best at Augusta with his 68 in Round 3.
Kuchar has never finished better than sixth at the U.S. Open, but in a wide-open field lacking star power and a truly dominant player, his consistency and late surge at the Masters is absolutely something that must be taken into account with the next big event on the horizon.
Justin Rose, the Underdog
Last year's U.S. Open champ put it best as he entered the Augusta field, via Danny Kelly:
Indeed, Rose posted a 76 and 70 in the first two rounds before exploding into contention with a 69 in the third round. The good vibes ended quickly, though, as a 74 on Sunday put him in 14th place.
It's easy to overlook Rose as June approaches. He's far from the only former champ who enters the fray in North Carolina, but his boom-or-bust play that was on full display at Augusta makes him the top sleeper to watch.
If he can string together a few rounds of excellent play like his third round Saturday, he may be remembered as a back-to-back champ at the U.S. Open before long.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!