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.


Carebear’s Masters Preview

April 9, 2009

I realize that half the field has already teed off, but I woke up late so, without knowing who is doing well to this point, here are some predictions.

My Four Horsemen:

Tiger Woods:

Not a stretch here.  I really do not think Tiger has the precision in his game back enough to win this tournament.  Sure he won at Bay hill, but he won ugly.  Plus he made Sean O’Hair shit his pants on sunday and took Arnie’s tournament right out of his hands.  Tiger hasn’t been doing much right off the tee, which is not far from the norm, but he also hasn’t been sticking it as close as usual after those errant tee shots since his return.  Augusta is a course that requires great approach shots. I include Tiger, though because he finds a way to win.  He is the best putter on tour, the best clutch player, and the scariest player to compete against.  His putting may make up for weak approaches at Bobby Jones’ course.

Ryuji Imada:

I really just have a feeling about this guy this week.  So he probably won’t make the cut.  Imada has been playing well this year.  He has the complete game to compete at Augusta.  It is Ryuji’s first Masters, but he hits fairways, greens, and putts well.  Look for him to stick around in this tourney.

Geoff Ogilvy:

Its hard to feel pressure when you're high as a kite all the time

Its hard to feel pressure when you're high as a kite all the time

Another no brainer.  Ogilvy leads the tour statistically in putting this year when he hits the green.  He is fifth in putts per round.  He is also way about tour average in driving accuracy, distance, and GIR.  These are not surprising numbers, but the keys at Augusta are keeping the ball in the fairway, and hitting putts on some of the most slippery greens in the world.  Ogilvy has the ability to do this.  Also, he has the psychological stability of a man playing golf on loads of painkillers.  He is unflappable.  It would be cool to see if he folded against Tiger, but I really think his Aussie “no worries” attitude is above nervousness.  He also wears argyle puma sweaters.  solid.

Zach Johnson:

You always have to favor past champs at this event.  Zach is another tough competitor who is hard to rattle.  He held off Tiger in a Masters win a couple of years back.  So he hits the ball like Michelle Wie at 12 years old, lays up on every par 5, and looks like the guy that makes your sandwich at Subway.  This guy can straight up play golf.  He is 7th in scoring average this year coming in under 70, hitting 70% of fairways (13th) and 70% of greens (10th).  The dude is extremely consistent.

5th Horse (Honorable Mention):

Trevor Immelman:

Trying to defend crown.  He will compete in this tourney.  Not playing great this year, but will put up a fight.

Don’t be surprised if:

Bernhard Langer and Greg Norman put on a clinic. These guys are old as dirt, but both are in good shape.  Langer looks like he’s thirty.  He also looks like one of the guys trying to take over Nakatomi Plaza in Die Hard, but he’s so consistent.  Norman has been playing well of late, and is fresh off his wedding to Chrissy Evert.  Maybe she taught him how not to choke in the last round at Augusta.

Sergio doesn’t make the cut:

Its never your fault Sergio

Its never your fault Sergio

We all know Sergio is a little bitch, but he also is a bad putter.  He strikes the ball great, but has no confidence on the greens.  That is not a good thing at Augusta.  177th on tour in putts per round doesn’t translate well here.  He is also a mental midget (pc? mental little person), and has tendencies to carry bad shots through rounds.

Phil doesn’t make cut: I don’t root against Phil like I do Sergio, but he is just so damn inconsistent.  He wins a tourney then doesn’t make the cut the next week.  Ever since the US open last year and his driverless bag debacle Phil has been a mess.  His short game has never looked better, but don’t count on his putter in big situations.  Phil is 179th in driving accuracy this year barely hitting half the fairways.  If Butch and him had a breakthrough he may stick around, but he may be a trainwreck from the start.

Webb Simpson does something: Webb has 2 top 10 finishes this year, and is poised to make a splash here.  He is a good putter and basically at the tour average for most of his stats.  This kid is going to make a name for himself at some point.  Maybe this week is the week.

Best potential storyline:

Even better than Tiger winning or Paddy continuing his slam run would be Greg Norman staring down the demons and Tiger to finally grab a green jacket.  Norman seems to be playing carefree golf now, and claims he is, but that is easy to say when you’re not really competing.  He got close at the British Open, but this would be a great story.  Him and Tiger tied at the start Sunday and the shark matching Tiger shot for shot.  Lets hope his yips and block don’t come back to haunt him.  Luckily he won’t be playing against Faldo, unfortunately, we have to listen to Faldo.

The Masters is one of the more fun tournaments of the year to watch, and hopefully this one will provide some memorable shots and a good sunday finish.

My final prediction: Ogilvy beats Zach Johnson in a playoff.  Tiger finishes third after a strong sunday.  Watch now.  All three won’t make the cut.