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.

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Sorry Phil, Duval was a Better Story

June 23, 2009

Another US Open ended Monday with the expected result for Phil Mickelson.  NBC, ESPN, and Golf Channel commentators alike praised him for his fifth career runner-up finish in the biggest tournament in golf’s calendar year.  I just wonder how long it is going to take everyone to realize that Phil is a massive choker.

I almost feel as if I am breaking some rule by writing negative things about the guy right now.  I commend Phil for his play in the tournament.  He said all the right things this week, and did not let what must be a very stressful and scary situation in his home life affect his game.

For a while, I thought Amy’s situation may actually help Mickelson in this tournament.  That may sound naive and emotionally unattached to the situation, but think about it for a second.  Towards the end of the final round Phil was playing against a lot of amateurs when it came to major championship pressure.  Tiger was lingering, but failed to make a big charge.  David Duval is a different golfer than he was when he dealt with his major pressure, and Retief Goosen took himself out of contention before the turn.

Phil has not only dealt with Major Championship pressure before, but honestly, he has bigger issues than golf pressure right now.  These guys are all seizing up worrying about making a putt and Phil is worried about someone across the country.  Maybe it worked against him, but a lot of athletes can thrive when their mind is off the task at hand.

From a Disney standpoint, though, David Duval was the big story.  Duval winning wouldn’t have been as big a deal in the media as Phil, (because they all have crushes on him for some reason) but it would have been a much bigger story in the grand scheme of golf.  Duval was ranked somewhere in the high 800’s before the tournament and among the worst on the tour in driving accuracy and GIR.  These are not the makings of a US Open champ.

But David took his new confidence and new athletic physique to Farmingdale knowing he had a shot.  If Duval doesn’t get stuck under the lip of a bunker on the par 3, 3rd hole there is a good chance he wins the Open.  If he bogeyed that hole he would have finished tied for first.  He also caught other bad breaks, but as he said, “everybody did.”  Whether or not Duval is back is yet to be seen, but it was nice to see a guy who fell off the face of the earth back in contention.  Even if he is wearing a XXL instead of his former medium.

The Phil story is intriguing.  His wife is sick with breast cancer.  She is doing okay, but there is such an unknown future when it comes to cancer.  Did we catch it early enough?  If we get rid of it will it come back?, and any light shined on cancer in the public eye is important because it is such an epidemic these days.  Cancer really affects everybody.  So I really do commend Phil for playing and just bringing attention to it.  The Pga does more charity work than any other sport, and hopefully cancer research benefits from the Mickelson’s situation.  Does this make me want to root for Phil, though?  A little more than usual, but not really.

David Duval’s story is inspiring.  This is a man who also knows the perils of cancer.  David lost his brother to Leukemia when they were teenagers.  A bone marrow transplant from David to his brother failed.  He gained success through college and early amateur years and rose all the way to number one in the world before losing his ability to make cuts.  Duval came alive with a 67 out of the gate this week, though.  He hit fairways, he has the same great putting stroke, and his formerly aloof behavior with crowds was seemingly gone.  This was a new golfer, a new body, a new man.

You were almost waiting for the trainwreck to happen everytime Duval got close to the top on Monday.  After the bad bunker break most thought he was out of the hunt, but in a charge that was in line with his “never quit” message for the week Duval almost pulled it off.

Don’t get me wrong.  I give Phil a ton of credit even for coming out and playing, but his second place finish at an Open is expected, and it is overshadowing a performance that should not be overlooked.  Duval fought against golf demons to fight back to the top of a Major leaderboard, Phil was fighting against something else.  I am much more impressed by a runner up finish from the world’s 882nd ranked player than from the world’s number 2.


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.


Players Preview

May 7, 2009

Because my Masters preview article was dead on, I feel it necessary to write one for the next big tournament on the PGA tour.  So without further ado, here’s my Players Championship Preview.

This is a sick field, and should make for a good tourney. In the past few years the Players has been a ball strikers course, and winners have been near the top in GIR for the week.  Winners have also been accurate off the tee, but Sergio Garcia proved last year that you can win here even if you putt like a blind man getting a blowjob.

My Four Horsemen

Tiger Woods:
I can’t not pick him.  He can’t hit his driver and his long irons haven’t been working of late, but he is still better than everyone out there.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see him pull a Roy “Tin Cup” McAvoy and just bring a seven-iron this week.  He would still make the cut, and scare Phil’s ever shrinking tits on sunday.

Camilo Villegas:

Always seems to find a way to flex

Always seems to find a way to flex

My favorite Colombian since… well, he’s my favorite Colombian, and he draws the right kind of fans to the game.  Seriously though, he is a ball striker and leads the PGA in Greens in Regulation hit this season.  Driving accuracy has been an issue, but he’s getting it on the dance floor.

Sean O’Hair:
He is another ball striker, and coming off a win last week, no one is hitting the ball better.  They mentioned the fact that he didn’t hit a putt over 10ft about 45 times during the final hour of coverage last sunday, but he didn’t have to hit a putt over ten feet because he was pure.  He seems like a huge tool, and he choked hard at Bay Hill and blamed cool weather.  We could see a replay of the choking at 17 here if he’s in the hunt sunday.

Stud

Boo = Stud

Boo Weekley:
I just love Boo, and Boo is due.

My Longshot
DJ Trahan:
Second in the PGA in GIR, and hitting fairways 68% of the time.  14 top-10’s in his career and 2 wins.  If he doesn’t fold on the intimidating 17th he’s got a shot.

And watch out for Ryuji Imada.  Still got a good feeling about him.


Don’t be Surprised if:

Sergio does it again:
I would never pick him because I hate him, but Sergio’s game is built for this course, and in Sergio’s mind, he won a major last year here.  No one has ever repeated in the Players, and I hope to god this little prick isn’t the first, but we shall see.  There is one thing to be sure of, if he doesn’t win, it wasn’t his fault.

Kenny Perry repeats his Master’s performance:
I think Kenny is hoping for a nice tenth place finish.  He would get his nice paycheck without the last pairing pressure.  The thought of Perry on the 17th tee looking across the vast 120yds of water at that bullshit little green with a lead on Sunday makes the old man reach for his Flomax.  I love the guy, and would love to see him ace one there, but my Nostradamus-like instincts tell me otherwise.

We Witness The KJ Choi Show:
Yeah, that’s right.  I said it.

Who Won’t Make the Cut?:
Paddy’s been struggling of late, but I think he will stay in the mix.  I’m gonna go with Bubba Watson.  He has the game, but I just don’t think he can play well two weeks in a row.  He will probably win the tourney now.

Best Finish Scenario:
Tiger and Kenny tied going into 17 on Sunday.  Kenny sticks it close and Tiger aces it.  Kenny birdies 18, Tiger pars, and Tiger beats him in a playoff.  Everyone goes home happy, and we get a lot of video of Kenny’s daughter in the crowd.

Still got game, but does he have the balls?

Still got game, but does he have the balls?

In Closing, this is a tournament that favors great players.   Players have no choice but to feel the pressure.  The guys with Major Championship experience under their belt have a huge advantage.  The TPC at Sawgrass always makes for a great Sunday, though.  So grab a 6 pack, switch on CBS, and rot on the couch, you deserve it.

Can i possibly be wronger (is that a word?) than I was last time?  We shall see.