Anticipation for this year’s Masters is about as high as it gets. It’s been awhile since Augusta has produced an epic battle between/among the world’s best golfers, but this year certainly looks like it might. Let’s look at the handicapping sheet:
Tiger’s back! Only his biggest detractors would say otherwise. If the Achilles holds out, he might even be the favorite.
Then there’s Phil being Phil. Augusta has become HIS house in recent years. At Pebble Beach this spring he looked like a world beater, then he all but disappeared. It’s impossible to know if he has it or not, but Augusta seems to bring out the very best in him. With Phil you never know until the first tee!
The biggest obstacle between Tiger and Jack’s record 18 majors might not be his health, but Rory McIlroy. Most everyone thinks Rory has ‘IT’, but he needs to win a Masters and a British Open to prove it. If it happens, could Tiger be reduced to Rory’s Phil?
Luke Donald is not going to repeat last year’s performance, but….he’s got plenty of game. He’s already won this year, which is more than most can say. He may be the best pure iron player today, which is critical for finding the safe places on Augusta’s treacherous greens. And he can putt, a must at the Masters. I like Luke’s chances to win a major this year, but Augusta takes lots of seasoning to understand how to play it.
And then there’s Hunter Mahan who looks to be finally playing up to his potential. He’s got the curse of having won last week, but that’s more about the odds of anyone not named Tiger winning two weeks in a row. Or we could have a relative newcomer like Keegan Bradley win and become the ‘next great thing to happen to pro golf’.
Has often happens, there’s always the non-favorite who can come out of the pack at Augusta and manage to win. Golfers never know when their best 4 rounds are going to show up. There are plenty of players in the field who have proven their mettle and even though they haven’t done anything spectacular this year, this could be their week, even a graybeard like Freddie Couples. Whoever wins, I hope it will be one of those sporting events that takes on a life of it’s own and allows us to reminisce for decades!