Masters Week: The Sebastián Muñoz Media Blackout

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Like largemouth bass, old tales get bigger and more entertaining as time passes. But I’ve heard from PGA Tour old timers that Arnold Palmer was notorious for hacking around all day, and then making birdies on the final three live television holes. The King had a knack for putting on a show when the cameras were rolling. No fault of his own, but Sebastián Muñoz is the exact opposite. Not because he doesn’t like the attention — it’s because he gets less airtime at Augusta National and other PGA Tour events than Gary McCord.

December 2016 in Cartagena, Colombia from left to right: Sebastián Muñoz, Angel Cabrera, Camilo Villegas and Ernie Els

It’s interesting to watch the top of the leaderboard at tournaments, but for me the real grind is near the cutline on late Friday afternoons. Real hustling is done by guys ranked around 125 with the season nearing its end. And real pressure is when a player has to finish in the top 25 or lose his PGA Tour Card and get a job stocking shelves at a supermarket.

WBGD first met Muñoz, a Bogotá native in December 2016 at the inaugural Karibana Cartagena Skins Game at the TPC Cartagena golf resort, a lovely getaway on the Caribbean Sea. At the press conference seated from left to right: Muñoz, Argentinian Angel Cabrera, fellow Colombian Camilo Villegas and South African Ernie Els. Muñoz wasn’t asked any questions and he didn’t win a single skin in the match. He looked and played like a PGA Tour rookie.

Muñoz rolls in a birdie at the 2019 AT&T Byron Nelson

Things have changed since his press conference and skins shutout. He had three top 10’s and made almost $1 million in 2019. In 2020, he made almost $3 million with five top 10’s and won the Sanderson Farms Championship, which is how he’s in Augusta. He finished 8th in last year’s FedEx Cup Season Standings and is 2-under, good for T19 right now in the Masters. But you wouldn’t know unless you scan leaderboards because there’s a Muñoz media blackout. He’s No. 61 in the Official World Golf Rankings — dead last in exposure.

A sixth green jacket for Tiger would be cool, a first for Fowler or Rose would be fine, but these guys have been comfy for a while. The who’s who of the PGA Tour have multi-generational wealth, Tour Cards for years and jet sponsors. I’m for the Nate Lashley underdogs of the PGA Tour — Lashley shot 75 today, but c’mon! Let’s go low tomorrow! I like what I’m seeing from Jazz Janewattananond from Thailand! C’mon Jazz! What a name! Respect to Bernhard Langer and Larry Mize! And while he isn’t an underdog anymore — Muñoz is treated like one. Perhaps the only way he can get some TV-time is by winning the damn thing.

Vamos Muñoz!

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Note: this article was not sponsored by the Colombian Tourist Board, but I’m up for it, Colombia.

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