O THE AZALEAS
A tradition unlike any other…. Georgia Pines, Pimento Cheese, Undulating Greens, Magnolia Lane, yellow flagsticks, tight lies, and rich middle-aged white men in khakis and gay hats… did we mention the Azaleas.
There is nothing better than tuning into the Masters and listening to Mike Tirico and/or Jim Nantz’ opening monologues that make Shakespeare sound like a cold-hearted prick. If there is a time for “over the top”, the Masters is the event.
Contenders– Westwood, Els, Paddy, Furyk- We hope he doesn’t contend bc its so damn boring, Goosen- great “fast green” putter, Poulter, Cabrera, Mickelson, Allenby- Augusta is known as a “second-shot” golf course and nobody hits mid irons better, Kenny Perry- I still cry thinking about last year, and- speaking of crying, Steve Stricker has to be a favorite. Also, Ross Fisher- who collectively, played better than anyone last year in the Majors.
Luke Donald has put on about 20 lbs in the last year and quietly become relevant again. 3 top 10’s in 8 events this year for the Brit who hasn’t 3 putted since 7th grade, literally.
Staying with the British theme, Ian Poulter’s loud pants and eye makeup should contend.
Sleeper Picks—Couples, Schwartzel/Oosthuizen, Duval, Ryan Moore, Jason Dufner…
I love Freddy, and the dirtbag has been lights out on the senior circuit shooting nothing above 68, and winning 3 of 4 events, but there will be one major element missing at Augusta that has been present for all his victories this year. A golf cart. I don’t see him contending for four days.
Brian Gay has had a pretty quiet season following up a breakout year in ’09, but has made 8 of 9 cuts and rarely misses a fairway. On a second shot course, I always favor Mizunos hitting into slick greens.
Its hard to call Sergio a sleeper, but, with his history in Majors, Ray Romano may be more of a favorite than the pouty Spaniard. I just have a bad feeling that he will have a good week.
Tiger Returns– After many weeks of in-patient therapy, aka A Build-Your-Own-Fleshlight-Kit and a Hooters Calendar, Tiger Woods is returning to professional golf at the Masters. The Masters is THE week for golfers and golf fans. There are roars for great shots, ovations for great men, and more fast food joints than you can shake your dick at (If you shake your dick at fast food joints like we do).
Tiger has to be the favorite. He plays his best when everything is on the line. While most of us can barely even get the club back if more than 4 people are watching us tee off, Tiger will tee off on Thursday knowing everyone will be watching. ESPN is showing his tee shot live more than two hours before their coverage even starts at 4pm.
Best Threesome of the Thursday/Friday lineups other than Tiger, Elin, and Jamie Jungers of course-
9:51am and 12:03pm are both open tee times. I tried like hell to hook that up on golfnow.com, but that bastard Michael Breed was wrong about how easy it is to book. I ended up calling Augusta direct, and getting a foursome on at 9:51 under the name ‘Donohue.’ I hope Chad Campbell, Francesco Molinari, and Paul Casey don’t mind slow play.
The Ernie Els, Anthony Kim, Ryo Ishikawa is one of about 3 good tee times. Kim and Els are coming off recent victories, and Ryo has a press following that rivals Tiger’s.
What to Expect. Augusta is a monster now (7,400 yards) and is not the wide open course that could really be played multiple different ways like it once was. Don’t get me wrong, it is still the most beautiful, best put together course in the country, but it has lost some of what made it unique.
Tiger coming back is the biggest thing to happen to golf since Jesse Ortiz unveiled the Orlimar Trimetal. And the return will take much of the attention off what could be the best event on tour. No doubt, if you weren’t sick of the Tiger scandal already, you will be by Sunday.
Luke Donald wins after Sergio double bogeys on the first playoff hole. Quiros third.