Tuesday, April 15, 2008

What the Masters Told Us of 2008 So Far....

It's the Tuesday after the Masters which means the media members that were lucky enough to win in the "Play Augusta Day" have already hacked around the beautiful Augusta National and all that is left are the members and the caddies (hey Joe!).

What did the 2008 Masters tell us about this year in golf so far? Here are a few things...

Tiger Woods, Still Very Dominant - El Tigre has played in five tournaments so far this year and has finished out of the top two once. (Also, that one was a fifth place finish which might as well be a missed cut to Tiger's critics.) Tiger had a balky putter at Augusta and still finished second, so from the wonderful voice of Hugh Grant, "Don't write me off just yet."

Should We Expect a New Major Winner Every Year? - It appears that years like 2000 are long gone, when Vijay Singh and Tiger Woods were the ones winning all the majors (Well, Vijay once and Tiger three times). With the ever growing depth on the PGA Tour, I truly believe that nobody should expect a year to by without a "Who Won It" winner of a major. Since 2000, we've had David Toms ('01), Rich Beem ('02), Ben Curtis and Shaun Micheel ('03), Todd Hamilton ('04), Michael Campbell ('05), Geoff Ogilvy ('06) and Zach Johnson ('07). Maybe a few on that list could win another major, but the odds would be pretty even for most going their career without another major title. Expect more of this in the years to come.

Could Trevor win Again? - Honestly, I don't see Immelman being a guy like Johnson who wins three times in one year. The difference is simple - Immelman's talent rests with ball-striking, Johnson's with the putter. You can shoot low numbers hitting the ball decent, you can't when you're missing putts (unless you're Tiger, but that goes without saying).

Should We Just Give Up This "Next Person to Challenge Tiger" Search? - Think of the names people associate with the "Tom Watson to Jack Nicklaus" of this generation. Sergio Garcia? Missed the cut. Adam Scott? T-25. Vijay Singh? T-14. The only golfer that was even close to the top was Phil Mickelson, who couldn't be happy with his performance after being in control of his destiny going into the third round. We need to be honest with ourselves - Tiger is the only golfer talented enough to always be near the top of the leader board week in and week out.

Speaking of Tiger, Was the Grand Slam talk too cocky? - I heard a lot of people bashing Tiger for saying the Grand Slam was "within reach" but I don't think it was cocky, I think it was honest. You think talk like that doesn't do something in the heads of his competitors? He knows what he's doing, and this was one of those things. Tiger outsmarts most of the people on tour, and this was another move. Also, are you willing to bet he doesn't pull it off at some point in his career? Yeah, me either.

The Favorite at Torrey Pines? - It has to be Tiger, no question about it. He dominates Torrey Pines, winning six times there and the last four Buick Invitationals. I wouldn't rule out Angel Cabrera to defend his title because big hitters succeed at the Pines.

Anyway, that is my wrap from the Masters. It's been a great week at Augusta and I wanted to thank all the lovely folks here at the golf course that kept me in silks and furs. Also, I wanted to thank Trevor for allowing me to try on the green jacket. Thanks buddy, and good playing.


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