Blue Duck Masters Preview

April 8, 2010

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.

Only one person has this wallpaper on their desktop, Brian Gay.

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.

What the fuck is a Yonex? Even if its the worst club on earth, its better than Wilson Staff.

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.

Advertisements

Carebear’s Traveler’s Championship Preview/ Predictions

June 25, 2009
Connecticut has Womens Basketball and this

Connecticut has Women's Basketball and this

I don’t usually do previews of the smaller tournaments on tour.  To this point, I have reserved myself to cover only tournaments that Tiger participated in, and that were of major or near-major status.  I will make an exception, though for the big red umbrella.  Since this tournament takes place in my backyard, and I used Traveler’s employee’s passes to get into the Pro Am on Wednesday, I will do a preview.

First off, I have to say that they actually have a really talented field.  Despite the fact that the biggest name in the game isn’t present, Travelers managed to draw most of the other big guns to the dreary old Hartford area.  Partly because the US Open was very nearby and partly because Travelers and The TPC have done a great job developing the course’s practice facilities in the last few years.

But much to the players delight, this is not Bethpage.  For much of the day Wednesday, the weather was Bethpage-esque, though.  As heavy rain fell throughout the 6,800 yd layout to the point where when Sergio got to the 17th tee, he joked to the surrounding audience, “It’s sunny in Spain today.”  Yes, I said 6,800 yds.  This is not a monster.  It is a straightforward layout with a few holes down the stretch that could make for an exciting finish, but you do not have to be Alvaro Quiros or Bubba Watson(they hit the ball 8 miles each) to take down the Travelers.

With that in mind, here are my contenders:

My Four Horsemen: 

Brian Gay:

Though I feel bad for his caddie for having to take the constant snickering from the crowd as they walk by and see the back of his smock, I don’t feel bad because he’s making ten percent.   Thats about $274 grand this year.  Not too shabby.  But honestly, Brian Gay is playing remarkably well this season even though he is sixth to last in driving distance on tour.  His length was evident in missing the cut at the 7,426 yd US Open course last week, but The River Highlands does not present the same obstacles.  Look for him to be close to the top.

Zach Johnson:

I pick Zach in almost every tournament, but in the same regard as Gay, Johnson is accurate and purposeful with each shot.  He also missed the cut last week, and played pretty poorly at Muirfield as well, but look for him to bounce back in Cromwell.

Hunter Mahan:

Create a caption

 

This guy can hit it long, but he also won the Travelers in 2007.  The 27yr old Californian has been in the mix a lot this year with three top 10’s including two in majors and one last week.  He was robbed on Sunday at Bethpage when he hit the pin on the par-4  16th, and his ball ended up off the green.  The ball would have ended up close, and a birdie would have put Mahan at 3 under.  Instead he bogeyed, and was put out of contention.

He hits greens at a stellar rate, and the greens at the Travelers are a bit on the small side.  Mahan should be a factor by week’s end.

Corey Pavin:

Circa 1995

Circa 1995

Now.  He better not shave during the Ryder Cup.

Now. He better not shave during the Ryder Cup.

 

If the Ryder Cup Captain is gonna win anywhere this year, it is here.  He is last on the tour in driving distance, and is hitting greens less than half the time, but I’m rooting for him because he looks sort of like Billy Bob Thornton.  One year off the senior circuit, it would be nice to see Corey beat up on some young guns.

It would also be nice to see: Anthony Kim win a tournament.  Kim has struggled a bit this year, but showed signs of life last week at the Open.  He seemed to be in good spirits at the Pro Am, and has apparently lost 4 inches off his waist (if you see the guy in person, you realize, him losing 4 inches off his waist means he’s now shopping for slacks at Gap Kids.), but he would outdrive me by thirty yards so I will shut up.

With the course’s proximity to two of the largest casinos in the world, though, I think Kim’s chances are slim.  If I see him out I will buy him a beer.  If I see Sergio out I will gloat about the terrible US soccer team beating his Spaniards in a hideous game (yesterday’s news, sorry.)

My Final Thought:

This is hard for me to say, but at the Pro Am today the players were accessible as ever.  It was a Wednesday in rainy Cromwell, CT so needless to say, few were at the 17th tee to see Sergio tee off at 9:30am, but he treated everyone well, signed autographs until all were pleased, and he didn’t bitch once in the few minutes I was within earshot of him.  Though, I still will never root for the guy, maybe he’s not as big a douchebag as I thought, but he probably is.

My Bold Prediction:

Justin Rose will win it because he was the only golfer I didn’t have to say, “Hey man, nice drive” to, for him to say hello.  Other than Boo’s caddie, who chewed more tabacco than Lenny Dykstra in a hitting slump.

Hes Gotta Win Eventually

He's Gotta Win Eventually

I do have a good feeling about Ryuji Imada as well.


Carebear’s 2009 US Open Preview

June 18, 2009
Enough Said

Enough Said

The US Open is by far, the best tournament on the golf calendar.  It showcases the strongest and toughest golfers on a course that brings Fed Ex Cup hopefuls to their knees.  This year should be no exception.

There is plenty of drama leading up to the event.  Tiger won a couple weeks ago, and is playing some of his best golf since getting his bionic knee repaired;   Phil is trying to keep his mind out of his way with his wife battling a tougher fight than Bethpage; Sergio returns to the course where fans opened up to him so much that he saluted them…with his middle finger in 2002(I love New York), and Brian Gay tries to keep his dream season going with another win.

The elements will be a factor again at Bethpage as Thursday’s round will be plagued with heavy rain, and the outlook is gloomy the rest of the weekend as well.  So who will rise above the rain, the 7,445 yard course, the NY fans, and  the overall pressure of the biggest championship in golf to take the trophy?

Well, here’s my Nostradamus-like shot at picking the contenders:
My Four Horsemen:

Tiger Woods

I will never not pick Tiger.  In any golf event he is the favorite.  He drove the ball better than he has in years (maybe ever) at the Memorial.  He has switched to a 10 degree driver and it has paid off.  Woods also showed that he still has the balls to take a tournament with his precise approach shot on 18 two sundays ago.  If Tiger is still on, then no one else has a chance…  He could run away with this.

Camilo Villegas

Camilo is a strange little Colombian dude with a strange little Colombian swing, and a strange giant Red Bull buckle, but he keeps on putting up good scores and reminding Anthony Kim of what he could be if he didn’t drink Busch Light all day instead of practicing.
Camilo hits it long and hits greens.  He tends to run out of energy by Saturday, though, because he exerts himself by flexing every time a camera walks by.  It may be his time for a major victory.

Alvaro Quiros

Watch out Sergio.  This guy will replace you as Americas favorite Spanish golfer if he is even a little bit less of a bitch than you

Watch out Sergio. This guy will replace you as America's favorite Spanish golfer if he is even a little bit less of a bitch than you.

It is Quiros’s first US Open, and nobody knows who the hell he is, but he is basically a Bubba Watson, Sergio, Camilo Villegas hybrid.  Sergio because he’s Spanish, Camilo because he’s a prettyboy, and Bubba because he hits it 8 miles and wears big hats.
This guy averages over 315 yds off the tee.  If he hits it straight, he has a chance.  He has one win on the European tour this year (3 career), but has yet to be a factor on tour here in the States.  Watch out for the straw hat.

Nick Watney

Keeping with my theme of long hitters, Watney is a big lanky American with a great swing having a breakout season.  He almost took down Phil earlier in ’09.  He has 3 top 10’s this year and has only missed 2 cuts.  His tee time (1:14pm 1st hole) will be a fun one to watch, with all three guys JB Holmes, Watney, and Quiros capable of quarter mile drives.

Others names I wanna Drop:
David Toms, John Merrick, and Paul Casey.
ESPN is talking a lot about Ian Poulter.  That would be a victory for hair gel and visor-wearers everywhere.

Is there a potential Francis Ouimet in the field?

No.
Well, there never will be again, but if you want me to pick an amateur I have to go with Rickie Fowler.  He definitely has the game, but I doubt he has the mental ability to make the cut at Bethpage.  He dropped a 66 at the FBR earlier this year proving he can play with the tour guys and made the cut last year at the open, but this is not sunny California.

Best Potential Storylines:

There are a lot of them.   Kenny Perry coming back after his miraculous choke at the Masters to become the oldest major champion would be nice, Tiger winning is always good, Rocco beating Tiger will never happen but it would be pretty damn cool, but I think the outcome most are rooting for (other than Sergio running out of golf balls by the third hole Thursday) is for a Phil Mickelson victory.

Good Old Phil

Good Old Phil

Phil is going through a whole lot right now, and handling everything really well.  Mickelson will be the favorite among the New York fans, and is even turning people who are usually not big Phil guys into fans.  A Mickelson vistory would be a great storyline.  I still hate Bones, though.
My 1,000 to 1 shot:
Adam Scott pulls his head out of his ass (Or Kate Hudson’s) and takes the Open.


But Anyways:

The Masters is great early in the season, and Augusta is beautiful.  The Open Championship often gives golfers hell, and makes them play a game they’re not used to.  No one really cares about the PGA Championship, but the US Open is the most grueling, physically and mentally demanding challenge in golf year in and year out.

I almost made a pilgrimmage down to Long Island this weekend, but seeing as I’m broke and have HD I will do what we all should do.  Put some Pabst in a cooler, find a nice chair and prepare the mute button for Jim Nantz.  Count the mentions of Johnny Miller’s 63 in 1973 and enjoy Faldo talking about Poulter’s hair.  Lets hope for bad weather and pure irons, and this should be a fun weekend.