Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Some Golf Stuff


This week is the Wachovia Championship a tournament UFT (usually featuring Tiger) but because of the injury, has "experts" picking Vijay Singh like he's the Patriots in the Super Bowl invincible.

The tournament actually has a pretty solid field, with four of the six winners of the event previously scheduled to tee it up.

Jim Furyk won this thing before and seems due to win something big this year. I don't mind picking Jimmy to take home the U.S. Open over El Tigre either, but for now we'll just focus on his ability to herky-jerky a victory on Sunday.

Also, in case you wanted to know, Phil Mickelson is also in attendance this week, and for all that was said after the Masters, nobody really talked the intense choke job Schmickelson did after those first two rounds. For the other dominant player of our generation, some would expect Mr. Lefty to rise to the occasion a little more.

I think this is worth nothing - since the collapse in the 2006 U.S. Open on 18, Mickelson has one one top-16 finish (this year's Masters) and has missed two cuts. I don't like to dwell on things like that, but if the LiveStrong bracelet fits...

(Picture note: I Googled "Jim Furyk" for pictures and this one came up. Hey, I'm sold.)

Bloggers are terrible, Models Dumb, Presidents Wise, Fast Food Terrible (for you)

Generalizations are a horrible thing. Humans generalize about stuff all the time and it is almost always harmful and ignorant.

People think all Texans are dumb, black people are gangsters and thugs, gay people drink lattes all day and try to fit their 165 pound frame in a youth-large shirt, and bloggers are pieces of shit*.

(* - last comment was from last night's "Costas Now" segment featuring Deadspin's Will Leitch getting torn up by "Friday Night Lights" author Buzz Bissinger)

The crazy thing - not all Texans are dumb (Howard Hughes!), not all blacks are thugs (James Earl Jones!), not all gay people are "gay" (Lance Bass!) and not all bloggers dumb, ignorant, ninny-asses that read worse than refrigerator magnets (Fire Joe Morgan!).

Generalizing about this was Bissinger's downfall last night. He approached it like Martha Burk would an all-male club - all shooting, no loading. I would put a large sum of money (this is theoretical since I blog thus am poor and lonely) on the fact that Bissinger has never checked out "Kissing Suzy Kolber" or "Every Day Should be Saturday." I bet he avoids at all costs "Awful Announcing" and "Sports By Brooks."

That is fine, there isn't anything wrong with not reading stuff you don't enjoy reading. My only complaint is losing complete respect for someone just because you don't agree with what they're doing. Bissinger started the "round-table discussion" with a hearty "i think you're full of shit" to probably the most accomplished and thoughtful sports blogger in the nation (Wouldn't you love to see Babe Zaharias say this to Serena Williams just because Serena wears short skirts and fancy earrings?).

I don't read Perez Hilton, and that is a personal decision. I don't enjoy his writing and drop my jaw at some of the stuff he "reports." That being said, in no way do I disrespect or even dislike a guy that found a wrinkle in online journalism and took complete advantage of it. The guy is a visionary whether you like it or not.

Thanks to Deadspin I started doing this little golf blog site and people tend to read it at times. I have a real job and a real life but I enjoy getting my thoughts down on something, even if my paychecks aren't stamped by the "New York Times" or the "Denver Post." I write because I enjoy it and I think it's fun. If people enjoy reading me, I'm happy to say that puts a smile on my face.

Take it or leave it, Bissinger was the voice for a generation that just doesn't get it (Granted he is the yelling, cursing, red-at-the-face version, but still...)

Monday, April 28, 2008

For Fun, Why Don't we Poke the Entire PGA Tour?!?! :-) ;-)

Honestly, I don't really get it, but now you can be friends with the PGA Tour on Facebook.

I know Facebook decently well, but have no clue what being friends with the PGA Tour means. I can guarantee you one thing - Martha Burk is getting declined.

Adam Scott, Good at Making Really Long Putts


Although I watched as many minutes of golf this weekend as pelican hunting, I was able to catch the highlights this morning of the Adam Scott putt in the playoff and it was rather remarkable.

It is said to be 48-feet (even though my dad told me on the phone last night it might have been 80-feet or even 90), but it was across an extremely tough green on a course that didn't yield a ton of birdies all week. Ryan Moore, a talent just waiting for his first victory, had done exactly what he needed, stuffing his iron shot closer and thinking he was in the driver's seat, up until Mr. Scott slammed the bomb from Shreveport.

Before the week I actually picked Scott to win, which might be the only time in my life I've picked a winner correctly that wasn't Tiger Woods. For some reason, Scott enjoys Texas golf and seems to play well and comfortably well, and it doesn't hurt he was the highest ranked player in a deluded field.

Nonetheless, a win is a win, and two things we know. Scott is still good and Ryan Moore might be better with time. Also, Paula Creamer had a chance to extend her playoff with Annika Sorenstam but left an eight-foot putt short. I'm sorry but I think it's time to abandon the pink ball. That is lame Paula. Lame.

(Side note: The above picture is exactly why me and none of my friends could ever be famous. Sure, we might write a great screenplay or land in the right script for the big-screen, but we'd get the eventual "skeletons in your closet" question and pictures like the above one would circulate around the web faster than two-girls-one-cup. I blame both social networking and the ability to take millions of pictures on a digital camera. Oh, and also because we take a lot of really strange pictures.)

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Ouch!

If you can, remember back to when you graduated college. When you finished that last final, it was pretty much two weeks of not really remembering anything that happened, except at the end of it you had all your shit packed in a U-Haul and most people had left the college town for the summer.

I'm assuming that is the feeling Trevor Immelman felt on the first tee today.

"Wait, after all this, I actually have to play golf today?"

Well, Mr. Immelman went ahead and showed that the Masters hangover, shooting an eight-over 78 that included what I can only expect was a nasty triple-bogey on his sixth hole of the day.

I can guarantee when he finished this round he looked at his golf clubs the same way I was starring at the U-Haul - "Shit, time really doesn't stand still for anyone."

Some notable golfers :

Sergio Garcia is one-under through seven holes, Sean O'Hair is one-over after eight and everyone's favorite pick to win, Justin Leonard, is two-over through seven holes.

Wait, wait, no golf update can be complete without a little splash of John Daly. The Big Miller Lite is four over through ten holes, most of the shots coming from the double-bogey he had on his third hole. Hang in there Johnny boy, people in Hooters all around the world are slamming glasses together in your honor.

Trevor Immelman is Playing Again, Just Not Very Well


Today marks a monumental occasion because Trevor Immelman is back after a long one week rest from the Augusta win.

(I wanted to note that after the Masters I go through about a 2-3 week golf depression where I avoid any golf related and try not to watch very much on TV. Most of it stems from knowing we are another year away from all that is good with the Masters, but mostly I'm just pissed that nothing really happens for almost a month. Anyway, my golf hangover might end this weekend, which is already off to a good start because my friend Maegan fixed my cell phone.)

Immelman will have an uphill climb following Zach Johnson as Masters champion, who won in his fourth start after claiming the Verde Jacket.

So far, our boy isn't necessarily lighting it up. I mean, he's in last place right now of the entire tournament. He is six-over par through ten holes and is getting beat by Jeff Maggert and Carlos Franco. I would say he's gone from the penthouse to the outhouse but I'm pretty sure he could never break 75 again the rest of the year and walk around with the biggest shit-eating grin of all time. Go Trevor!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Just Because....

Tiger, Tiger Woods ya'll.

(Also, NSFW at the 2:16 mark, but I'm sure most people would just avert their eyes and not be mad at you.)

Helen Ross of PGA Tour.com, I'll Answer your question

Helen Ross of PGA Tour.com wrote a rather compelling column about the state of the FedEx Cup halfway through the season.

The headline said, "Who's in good shape?"

She then went on to write like 500 words to answer the question.

Hey Helen, save yourself the carpal tunnel - answer: Tiger Woods.

You are very welcome Helen - see you next week.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Why look, It's John Daly In the Field!!


Nothing gets the casual golfer more excited than the following : Tiger Woods doing something good, Phil Mickelson's constant weight battle or anything dealing with John Daly.

Maybe you won't see the first two this week at the Byron Nelson, but you will see Mr. Daly and his continuous roller coaster (only if the high points weren't that high - like the Judge Roy Scream, yeah that one) of a life season.

Some fun things to do with John Daly if you're bored.

-Check out his website. It is pretty much a perfect example of an internet layout class I had in college that showed what not to do when creating a website with flash capabilities. (Also, it looks a lot like a bowler's shirt or a Pro Driver's car with all the shit going on.)

-From an interview over at Bunkershot.com -

Q. If you didn't play a practice round here at Southern Hills, how did you prepare for this tournament? What has John Daly been doing the last few days?
JOHN DALY: I've been playing slots over at Cherokee Casino (laughter).

-An entire page devoted to the wonderful world of John Daly Quotes. Actually, after reading over the quotes, they are pretty damn boring.

-To pretty much sum up Daly's career, the Wikipedia.com page on him has more "Off Course Life" tabs than "Pro golf" ones. Yep, your hero. Go Hogs!

This.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Could Ochoa make a Cut on the PGA Tour?


Lorena Ochoa won yesterday. If I wrote a lot about the LPGA (which I don't), that would be the fourth straight week I typed that on a Monday.

Ochoa made three bogeys all week to go with her 5,460 22 birdies.

Here is my question - could Ochoa make the cut on the PGA Tour in a wimpy, weak field?

Her driving average is 277.5 (which, in comparison, would be two yards longer than the field average at the Verizon Heritage this week), and would have her ahead of people like Chris Dimarco, Steve Flesch and Jim Furyk on the driving distance leaderboard for the year.

So, she hits the ball as far, has a scoring average this year that is a shade under 68 (67.87) and is winning at a phenomenal rate right now, notching four of the first five LPGA tournaments of the season.

I know it is stupid to compare boys and girls, but as far as she hits it and as good as she hits it, the argument could be made that she might have a chance to "compete" on the PGA Tour.

It all boils down to her comfortableness with the situation, but if she could approach a PGA Tour tournament the same way she does playing with the skirts, I think making the cut would be well within grasp.

And don't forget the most compelling argument - Ochoa kinda looks like a man.

Boo!


Mr. Boo Weekley, everyone's favorite country-boy golfer won the Verizon Heritage Hilton Head Open presented by Verizon and Hilton, among others, yesterday for the second straight year.

Boo did it with a series of shots that probably shouldn't have gone in, including a pitch from over a bunker that took three hopes and dropped in the cup and a putt that was doing 75 MPH in a 35 when it hit the back of the can.

It wasn't like anyone was putting a ton of pressure on Boo, with playing partner Anthony Kim shooting a 71 and both Aaron Baddeley and Jim Furyk going only low enough for a 69 on Sunday.

All this only means one big thing - Boo will be on the PGA Tour for two more years and will have a realistic shot at doing what he said in this Golf Digest interview:

"The first time I made it to the PGA Tour, in 2002, I had a dollar number in mind: $8 million. Through prize money, investments and whatever else, that's how much I figured I needed to have in the bank before I could make sure my mom and dad, my wife, my son, my sister and my two nieces are taken care of, and to take care of things like a cousin calling and saying he's in jail and needs help. Well, I had a bad year in 2002 and lost my card. I didn't get it back until 2007. Today the number is still $8 million, and I finally put a real dent in it because I won over $2.5 million before taxes. Five more years like this one, and you won't see much more of me. I haven't been out here all that long, but I'm getting worn out."

Friday, April 18, 2008

Boo Weekley, Looking to Defend


Ahhh, Boo Weekley.

The guy is what some would consider a "character" and others might consider "out of touch with anything that comes within miles of knowledge and reality."

Boo won the Verizon Heritage last year and is playing well today, tied for the lead through 15 holes at eight-under. Nobody really cares how he plays, so why don't we get to who Boo really is.

According to Wikipedia Thomas Brent Weekley got his nickname "Boo" from Yogi Bear's sidekick, Boo Boo Bear.

He was quoted at the British Open last year saying, "It's been rough on the food. Ain't no sweet tea, and ain't no fried chicken."

He boxed an Orangutan when he was 16 at a local country fair and lost.

Boo said he doesn't understand the FedEx Cup system (honestly, who does?) because he was "never good at math."

Also, if you missed it last week, Boo didn't know that the Masters were in April and had never heard of Amen Corner. So, yeah, look for his golf book to come out in the summer of 2010.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Davis Love III, meet Roller Coaster, Roller Coaster meet Davis Love III


You remember Davis Love III, don't you?

He used to be relevant, nobody really talked about him for a few years but he came up last week because he missed his first major since 1990 after not qualifying for the Masters. Yeah, that guy.

Anyway, for some reason Davis Love is bringing to the table his inner-1997 PGA Championship this week at Hilton Head, a course he loves more than awkward visors.

DL III has won there five times and is tied for the lead right now at five-under as he concludes his round. Tiger has Torrey Pines, Jack had Augusta and apparently Davis has Hilton Head. Watching this would be like seeing Nolan Ryan, at age 61, throw on a California Angels uniform and pitch a no-hitter to a bunch of 21-year-olds at Anaheim Stadium. Ok, maybe not the same thing, but you get the point.

The Sexy Golfer on Letterman

I have to say, the Wimbledon one was pretty solid.

Is Trevor Immelman Sexy?


I'm not much into analyzing the sexiness of professional male athletes, mostly because they are male and could look like Jabba the Hut and would still get laid 15 times a week.

What has me a touch perplexed, however, is the fact that numerous lady friends have mentioned the sex appeal of Masters champion Trevor Immelman. Most of the emails I receive go something like this - "Ohhh, dat Treva ImmelMAN is sooo hotzzzz." (Note, most of my girlfriends are stupid.)

Anyway, has anyone else heard this? Is this an ongoing trend with girl friends around the world? Is being 5'9" the new 6'4"? Just when I started buying taller shoes...

Hilton Head Starts Today, Hooray, Hooray


You know, it really is sad that the Verizon Heritage at Hilton Head is played the week after Augusta. It is one of the most beautiful venues the PGA Tour plays on one of the best golf courses with some of the best amenities players and wives receive all year.

Boo Weekley won last year at Hilton Head, something I'm sure he wouldn't remember if you asked him. Boo, along with Ernie Els, Stewart Cink and Jim Furyk highlight a field of more names than one would expect after a major, even if Mickelson, Tiger and Vijay took the week off.

So far, a whole bunch of guys are three-under for the day and even more guys are two-under and one-under. DTCC, a place with hard-hitting news.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

For Your Hump Day Enjoyment

You know it's a slow day at both work and life when I'm searching on YouTube for the best golf clip I've never seen. I would like to note that I'm really pissed I can't find the Tiger Woods Nike commercial when he knocks out the windows with three straight shots, so if anyone can find it, please send it along.



And now Barkley actually hitting some golf shots.



Would Tiger Land the Surgery if We Wins at Augusta?

You know what makes sports news over the top? Speculation.

It's when you tune (and as this moment you're going to have to act like you watch "First and 10") in to Skip Bayless and they speculate what would happen or if Magic Johnson and Allen Iverson played one-on-one in their prime, who would win.

Anyway, after I slammed out the boring "Tiger surgery" post a couple of people emailed me to ask if I thought he would have done the surgery if he wins the green jacket on Sunday.

I say it depends on how bad it hurts. If his knee was really hurting he does the surgery and if he could wait he probably postpones it until after the U.S. Open to see if he can go two for two.

My main point about the surgery - it wouldn't matter at Torrey Pines because he could probably win there standing on one leg.

Tiger Knee-ds Some Rest


Not to sound cocky, but if that isn't the best title you've ever seen you obviously hang out a lot with Dane Cook.

According to Tiger's website the Big Swoosh will be out 4-6 weeks because of "arthroscopic surgery on his left knee" that went down in Park City, Utah yesterday.

I'm not a genius, but I'd say we will not see El Tigre until the U.S. Open, eight weeks away. He might try to play a tournament a couple of weeks before just to get back out there, but this might put a little damper on the "inevitable Tiger triumph at Torrey Pines" that everyone is giving him.

Think about it - if Tiger doesn't win one of the first two majors this year people will walking around with umbrellas in hopes of averting the locusts coming from the heavens.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Is Tiger Not the Best Golfer Anymore?

I know, I know, you probably read that headline and thought I was going to say something really stupid when I'm really only going to say something kinda stupid.

Tiger Woods has not been the most dominant golfer of 2008. That title has landed with Lorena Ochoa (U of A!), who after this weekend, is four of five this year with wins. She isn't just dominating the LPGA, she is crushing ladies.

You don't have to tell me there is a huge different between women's sports and men's stuff, but it is worth noting that when Annika Sorenstam (also a Wildcat) was doing the same thing, "Sportscenter" was all over this rivalry, even telling us of all the text messages sent between the two.

Ochoa leads in the following categories on the LPGA tour - birdies, rounds under par, rounds in the 60s, top ten finishes, greens hit, scoring average, driving average, and, obviously the money list.

I don't know a lot about the LPGA Tour, I just know that it is worth noting of Ochoa's start this year.

Ok, I promise, no more girl sports for at least two weeks (unless Natalie Gulbis wants to play 18 holes, then I'll tell you).

When Some Columnists Just Don't Get It

I know what most people think of Jay Mariotti and I don't blame them - he is loud, uniformed and usually wrong, but he does have a column in one of the largest newspaper in the nation and gets to talk on ESPN, most journalists early childhood dream.

What he doesn't have is sense - especially when talking about Tiger's comments on the potential for a "Grand Slam" earlier this year.

Tiger Woods said it was within reach, and anyone that knows golf and knows Tiger Woods shrugged and agreed. The guy had won four majors in a row before, he was on a streak unknown to any living golfer and was just being honest. Seriously, as a guy that follows Tiger fairly closely, when does he just spat out random predictions? He knows how hard it is to win one major but he also knows how damn good he is. If anyone in the world could do something like that in sports, it would be El Tigre.

Anyway, I pretty much disagree with everything Mariotti says in this column and I'd bet Phil Mickelson money that I know more about golf than he does. First, he calls it the "Grand Sham" which would be funny if readers didn't have eyes or ears. Second, he claims that "legends" never make claims, even though Joe Namath made one of the most famous ones ever, and I think he was pretty good at football. Third, TIGER FINISHED IN SECOND PLACE!!!! Why is everyone forgetting this? Out of all the best golfers in the entire world, Tiger Woods finished in second place. To put this in perspective, if he wins two more majors this season and even missed the cut at the other one, it would be one of the top four best major championship seasons in professional golf history.

Anyway, I hate to be one of those guys that harp on other journalists because I'm jealous, but I thought what Mariotti wrote was pretty far off and a childish, weak attempt at slamming someone for something he really thought could happen. Isn't Tiger the best athlete we have right now? Can't Mariotti go back to taking cheap shots at some of the Chicago teams?

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.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Immelman, Best and Worst of the Week


Trevor Immelman obviously did a ton of good stuff over the course of four days to win the green jacket by three shots over Mr. Tiger Woods. Here are his best and worst moments of Masters week, a damn impressive performance by a rather unknown golfer.

BEST

Par 4s - Immelman broke a Masters record by going 10-under par on the par-4s. He only bogeyed one (ONE!) par-4 all week, the first hole on Sunday.

First three rounds - Two bogeys in the first three rounds at Augusta National? Tough to beat that.

Par putt on 11 - In my opinion, his best shot of the week and second most important shot on Sunday. If he misses that a few things happen. First, he has to stand on 12 tee knowing he just gave one away, not what you want on one of the toughest par-3s in major championship history to figure out. Second, Tiger Woods is back in the hunt for real. Third, he isn't ridding the wave of confidence from that save.

Bunker shot on 17 - This is one of those exhale heavily type golf shots when you know you might have wrapped it up. I think he believed he hit a great shot from the fairway, so to get that up and down was so important. The Masters were over with that save.

WORST

Tee shot on One - Talk about nerves. I'm pretty sure Trevor was excited to walk away from that hole with just a bogey.

Birdie putt on seven - He sticks an iron so close he has a chance to take a five shot lead into the eighth hole, and he doesn't even touch the hole. If this was one of those NBA commercials, you'd say "Masters Sunday...where yips happen." I'm also convinced it led to a bogey on 8.

Tee shot on 16 - I'm pretty sure this is Stage Three on those Bob Rotella choke jobs. He has all the world to make bogey to the right and double crosses the hell out of the iron shot. The best part - the announcers were talking after his shot on 15 that he didn't have anymore water to contend with on the course because the water on 16 doesn't come into play.

The bottom line is you have to accept the fact that a first time potential major winner is going to have some slip-ups in the home holes. Like I said earlier, that is the benefit in building such a large lead. Congrats again to Trevor.

Photo Credit: Fred Vuich/SI

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Trevor Immelman, Your 2008 Masters Champion


First, congratulations to Trevor Immelman this week, a perfect example of how on any week any golfer in the field can take home the trophy (or jacket in this case).

So many people talk about how only 15-20 people can really win major championships, but I think Trevor joins the likes of Zach Johnson in calling bullshit on this theory. Immelman did exactly what he needed to do, hanging long enough while everyone else around him fell apart. Speaking of everyone else, lets go ahead and pick our winners and losers of Masters week.

Winners

Trevor Immelman - They say you can't win a golf tournament in the first round, but he sure didn't lose it then. 68-68-69 in the first three rounds got him to a position where he could have a few mistakes (like 16) and still get away with them. It also didn't hurt that Tiger's putter was as hot as a popsicle on Pluto.

Tiger Woods - I'm sure everyone is going, "WHAATTTTT" when they read his name under "Winners," but Tiger brought his B- or C game to Augusta and still finished second. He's the only golfer to ever touch a wedge that could have posted four rounds of par or better (72-71-68-72) with that putting performance.

Paul Casey - I know he shot a 79 on Sunday, but you have to give credit where credit is due - he played superb up until Sunday and did one of the most difficult things to do in golf, call a penalty on yourself. I know it is part of the game, but it makes you respect people that you previously had little respect for.

Miguel Angel Jimenez - I hate having to give Mr. Poneytail props, but his 68 on Sunday was best in blustery (first time I've ever typed that word) conditions, a round that included just one bogey.

Brandt Snedeker - Hockey sticks on Sunday aside, he played well and gave the galleries a personality to cheer for. I'm sure Immelman is a nice guy, but you couldn't tell the difference in his expression if he flagged a shot (like 13) or dunked one in the pond (like 16). At some point in his career Snedeker will be able to fall back on this as experience.

Padraig Harrington - Another great major championship showing that went without ANY talk. The British Open champion finished in a tie for fifth (bet you didn't know that).

Zach Johnson - His Friday-Sunday were bad (76 and a 77) but the Masters champion was great with the title and played well enough this week to get people off his back about a one-hit wonder. I think he could contend at Augusta for a really long time.

Irony - Did anyone else chuckle a touch when they noticed Immelman was wearing a Tiger Woods Collection Nike polo shirt? Wouldn't that be like Chris Paul breaking MJ's ankles on a nasty crossover in the new Jordan 23s?

Losers

Phil Mickelson - Schmickey had it in perfect position after two days but a 75 in the third round during wet conditions? It was the highest round on Saturday (by two shots) of anyone in the top-20. Answer me this - if Tiger is in the position Mickelson was on Saturday morning, does he go out and shoot 75? I know it isn't fair, I'm just asking.

Tiger's Putter - I was told by a buddy someone was sticking "Missing : Tiger's Putter" posters all over the trees at Augusta National. It was honestly like someone else was hitting a lot of those putts.

Retief Goosen - I'll let my pals Fort Minor say it - "Where'd you go, I missed you so, seems like it's been forever that you've been gone." The Goose (GOOSE!) vanished faster than Tracy McGrady in the playoffs after two solid rounds of 71 to open. The best part - he was so out of the talk so fast I actually had to look up where he finished (T-17).

CBS Sports - Memo to CBS - we get it, Nick Faldo has played and won at Augusta National. Most golf fans probably know this fact. Also, him telling us what to do would be like the Rat Pack explaining how to pick up women in the 21st century. Things have changed, the course is different, give it up. Also, they played the "Tiger Tube" (whenever someone drops out of contention they completely drop them from the telecast unless that golfer is Tiger) to everyone, even Phil!

Steve Flesch - The Lefty shot even on the front and made the turn at eight-under, before going double bogey-par-bogey-bogey-bogey-bogey on holes 12-17. One birdie in the final round probably won't sit well with the occasional hot head.

Sunday at the Masters excitement - Was I the only one checking my watch, wondering what outdoor activity I could be doing instead of watching that? Between Tiger's missed putts, and the huge lead by Immelman it was pretty boring television. Honestly, the most exciting thing all day was the water-ball on 16, and the tournament was already over at that point.

Sergio Garcia, Ernie Els, Luke Donald, Aaron Baddeley, Rory Sabbatini - You fellas have a good weekend? Bed, Bath and Beyond on Saturday? Lunch at the Ivy on Sunday? Let me know what you guys were up to.

Tall-ness - Immelman is listed at 5'9" and won, while the other "short" golfer that got a ton of attention was none other than...

Gary Player - He would have been in winners if he hadn't announced he was coming back next year. His 78 in the second round was damn impressive, but he did what he came to do (break Palmers consecutive Masters streak) so I think he should turn it in. Why not join Arnie as an honorary starter and be done with it, especially after the torch was passed to another South African?

Credit: Robert Beck/SI

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Is your glass half full or half empty?

You can look at Tiger Woods last couple of holes in two ways - either he is starting to putt the ball well and they just aren't falling or he is hitting good putts it just isn't his week.

I'm thinking the former. His putt on nine was perfect line, just a little short, and after the birdie on 10, he hit another great one on 12 that just didn't go. I'm not going to predict anything, but I could see a couple birdie putts that haven't gone in yet this week for him find the cup before this day is done.

If Tiger could birdie 13 and 15, he'd need to grab one more to really get people rattled.

Phil Mickelson just made a bogey on six to drop back for even on the day, and has hit some rather suspect golf shots.

This wind they keep talking about needs to pick up or eight or nine under will be leading by days end.

Team Nike Playing Well

Phil Knight and company have to be happy with their little 'ol Nike golf team this week.

Trever Immelman, Paul Casey and Tiger Woods are all in the top-10 and all look to be in form suited for a green jacket (how good was that sentence? Seriously, that sentence was pretty damn solid.)

I'm not completely sure on this stat, but I'm almost positive Nike Golf is still looking for their first major winner. I sure hope it comes tomorrow.

Thanks Jim Nantz, I really Appreciate that

Jim Nantz just said in his opening to the CBS coverage "I hope you're enjoying this coverage with someone special."

Oh, thanks Jim. Actually I'm sitting in my apartment with two computers open, watching golf alone and writing about it. I'm also not as smart as I wish I was, kinda weird looking and don't always smell that great. Wanna talk about that as well?

Also, while we're on it, I'm not your friend, so stop calling me that. You don't hear me telling the lady at Quiznos that gave me my Traditional with no onions, "Thanks Friend for the preparation."

Blogging it Up

Just FYI, Jason Sobel's blog is back up and is going pretty well so far. Check it out if you haven't already.

What Some of These Golfers Need to Do

Ironically, the Golf Channel's "Live at the Masters" show just did some actual Masters updates. Crazy!

Tiger made par on one. That is all they told us. Take it from me, it was as boring to hear as it was to write and for you to read.

Before everyone else gets going, I thought we could throw together a few things some of these golfers need to do on Moving Day.

Zach Johnson - Umm, birdie three of the first six holes? Oh, right, he did that. I'd say the former Masters champion needs three more birdies to post four-under for the day. With the conditions soft, that isn't out of the question.

Tiger Woods - I honestly think he has to shoot 68 or below to give himself a chance. I thought six-under would be leading at the end of the day today, but if it is as soft as they say, eight or nine might be more realistic. A 68 gets Tiger at five-under and a punchers chance of posting another 68 or so on Sunday to put some heat on the leaders. (Oh, and Tiger just made birdie on number 2.)

Retief Goosen - I think 70 is what he'd like. Four-under after Saturday isn't a horrible position for Mr. Exciting.

Steve Flesch - You know, another bogey-free 67 wouldn't be horrible. I agree with Phil Mickelson about the course suiting a lefty (go SOUTHPAWS!), but it will be playing a little longer for Flesch. Anything under par for him would be great.

Phil Mickelson - Damnit Schmickey, I want a 70 out of you. Two-under today would have him leading I think.

Brandt Snedeker - Just don't throw up on yourself. This is my pick for "guy that is always at the top of the leader board but fades into something like 18th place by Sunday night." Nothing against him, he's just young and it's the Masters. He has only made two bogeys the first two days, so maybe I'm just an idiot.

Trevor Immelman - Again, just don't pull out the wrong Jenga piece. Immelman has only made one bogey (Take that Brandt!) this week and would be in a great position if Tiger or Phil didn't put a lot of pressure on the leaders.

So, my in depth analysis - play well. That will be $65 dollars, thank you.

Here We Go Zach Johnson, Here We Go

I'm still pretty mad about the Masters not being on right now, but luckily we have "updates" on The Golf Channel that aren't annoying at all. There is nothing like tunning in to "Live at the Masters" and having to endure a studio game called "Beat Brandel." That is what I want, a show that is titled "Live at the Masters" coming from some studio that is probably in Florida. I'm thinking of starting a show called "Cooking tips from Shane" and just have me eating Subway and drinking Miller Lite while watching "Flight of the Conchords."

Sorry - what were we talking about? Oh, Zach Johnson has made three birdies so far and is one-under for the tournament. I guess this could be one of those tips that tells us the golf course could be playing a little easier today.

The one thing I don't Love about the Masters


As you can probably see, the Masters gets me more excited than a personal fluffer.

You have tradition, beauty, history and potential legacy on hand at the same venue at the same time every year. What's not to love?

The one thing that's always irked me is the television schedule. Golf doesn't come on today until 3:30 Eastern which would be great if I lived on the east coast and could actually do something this morning. Instead, I'm going to hack away on my computer and complain about it. Yep, that sounds more productive.

Tiger Woods tees off at 1:10 Eastern, Phil Mickelson at 2:30 and the leaders at 2:40.

Weather.com has a hour-by-hour forecast of Augusta and it looks like it could be a wet one, with the potential of scattered storms and rain up until 4 PM. They also are still expecting wind tomorrow which could really make the leader board turn upside down (like that Jack Johnson song).

In unrelated news I went to Maloney's in Denver last night for about the 50th time in three months. If anyone knows of any bars that would give me a little more definition in my weekend schedule I'd truly appreciate it.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Talking Tiger, Schmickey, Wedge Play on 15 and your Leaders


The Masters are over, so if you're watching ESPN right now thinking it's live coverage, you're either stupid or South African (or both).

Tiger finished the day one-under for the tournament, seven shots back of Trevor Immelman, who shot consecutive 68s. EL Tigre has really battled the flat-stick, nearly carding consecutive three-putts on 10 and 11 (he made a slippery eight-footer on 11 to save par).

Last year Tiger struggled on 17 and 18, getting himself in similar position as this year but he couldn't finish the rounds. His birdie on 17 and insane par-save on 18 maybe showed more focus or maybe he drinks a ton of that Gatorade Tiger stuff or something different. I don't know, every time they showed him all I could think about was how nice the color of his pants were (sharp Nike golf).

Phil Mickelson had one of the most solid rounds of the day, carding a bogey-free 68 that had some amazing par saves. Phils round showed that there are still 65s at Augusta National to be had, because he had a few close-range birdie putts that he couldn't convert.

I would have to say, Justin "Ugly Jeans" Rose pulled a Vijay Singh on 15, knocking a couple in the drink and eventually making a cute little snowman. Rose went 68-78 to find himself nowhere near the leaderboard, but he has led the Masters three different times after the first round so that is something special! I hate to say it didn't hurt my heart to see him fall out of contention.

Of all the leaders I have my eye on (obviously) Schmickelson and Retief Goosen. The Goose has posted consecutive 71s and just looks good. I mean, he looks good. The guy looks good.

Sad day for Freddie Couples, who missed the cut by a shot, but has to be pretty happy about 23 straight Masters he made the weekend before this year. Like he said, he's 48 years old, he's supposed to miss some cuts. He at least gave himself a chance on 18 with a short birdie putt, but couldn't knock the thing in.

Moving day at Augusta is like Christmas to me, so I'll be around tomorrow posting and blogging. Yep, I blog, but only in my parents basement.

Photo Credit: Al Tielemans/SI

Time for Something to Happen

So, I picked Geoff Ogilvy to win in my Deadspin Masters Preview and like I said, I pick winners about as often as Ian Poulter looks normal.

The announcers on ESPN just mentioned that Ogilvy has not made a birdie all week. Yeah, awesome.

Also, the announcers are doing my favorite thing possible in golf to Tiger Woods on his last two tee shots - questioning his complaining after the shot "didn't look so bad." Can I tell all golfers out there something just to keep in the back of your head from here on? When you're playing with a golfer better than you, and he hits a shot that he isn't happy with, it doesn't matter if you'd be happy with the result, they aren't. Just because you've never hit a wedge from 120 yards to 20 feet doesn't make it alright to say, "Why are you bitching about that, it wasn't that bad?" It gets REALLY annoying.

Ok, sorry for the mini-rant, I just hate that so much. Tiger hits two drives right, his miss off the tee, and isn't very happy about that.

Speaking of El Tigre, it is about that time for him to nap or get off of my couch. He is in that "hanging around" mode when it looks like everyone else is taking advantage of decent Augusta conditions. I guess you could argue that Tiger is probably trying to make as many birdies as possible, so I'm sure blogging about it won't boost his motivation. If it does, you're welcome Mr. Woods.

Also, if you want to know how fast the greens are at Augusta, check this - one of the amateurs just had the ball move as he was attempting to ground his putter and Phil Mickelson had to hover his putter on 18 because he said it was so fast the ball might move. Tough course.

Eeeekkkk, Tiger makes bogey and probably gets fined

Tiger just made a bogey on the par-3 sixth and after the par putt lipped dropped a much needed f-bomb.

I hate to break your hearts, but I promise you if I had missed that putt I would have dropped an f-bomb similar to that one.

Damn, I'm a GENIUS

I talked to my buddy Kevin the other day about this theory I had about Tiger this week. I obviously never count Tiger Woods out of a tournament until it's all said and done (Note: Pebble Beach, 2000), but I thought this could be a problem for him this week.

The committee, obviously knowing that Tiger Woods can draw television crowds alone, had him as the only big name going early Thursday and late Friday. Phil Mickelson, Vijay Singh, Jim Furyk, Ernie Els, Adam Scott, Retief Goosen - all of these guys went late Thursday and early today. I didn't know that the weather could get bad late Friday, but if it did, Tiger would be the only big name that had to endure it.

Turns out, as I'm tuning in online, they are expecting the winds to pick up this afternoon. El Tigre might have to deal with this alone if that's the case.

Mickelson on 15

I don't know if anybody is watching this AT&T thing online, but one of the best player-caddy exchanges just went down between Phil Mickelson and his caddy, Bones.

They were in the middle of the fairway on 15, one minute thinking six-iron and the next thinking four-iron wasn't enough, because of the wind. They chatted about it, trying to pick the perfect time to hit the five-iron they went with.

He made contact and told Bones, "That's as good as I got, let's see if we guessed right."

The ball smoked over the green on 15, which will lead to a tough up-and-down and had Phil give us a good 'ol "God-dangit."

Mickelson has yet to make a bogey today and is four-under for the tournament.

UPDATE: Mickelson hit a wonderful chip to about eight feet but missed the birdie putt. Tiger is even through three holes today, making birdie on one and bogey on the par-5 second. El Tigre is even par so far this week on the par-5s.

The Cut Man Cometh

I don't think a ton of people are going to be fans of Trevor Immelman after that finish.

Dude shot 68-68 to post eight-under in the clubhouse after making birdies on both 17 and 18.

A lot of folks thought the cut would be four or five over, but after that, the highest it can be is three-over. Immelman is two shots ahead of the field at this point as he enjoys a nice afternoon.

Well Hello Mr. Mickelson, Good to See You Again

Two things that surprised me about Phil Mickelson yesterday.

One - When did Phil start getting so lucky? That putt-thingy on the first hole had bogey or double written all over it and the damn things smacks the flag stick and drops in for a three. Also, his ball not going into the creek on 13 is one of those things that don't happen for your average golfer.

Two - He looked good. I hate all this "Phil has been working out" stuff that announcers have used for two years, but he really is starting to look fit. Also, that is the first time I've ever typed "fit."

Anyway, Scmickey is three-under today and is currently tied for fourth at four-under. He has yet to make a bogey and obviously has birdie opportunities on 13 and 15. We might just see this guy at the top by the end of the day. Or he could make a ton of bogeys and miss the cut. That's a possibility as well.

Boo Weekley Really Can't be this Stupid

I'm sorry, I've never jumped on the Boo Weekley bandwagon.

Everyone is always like, "Oh, he's so funny and country and hunts and likes to eat meat and isn't really sure of anything and he dips, oh so much fun." Yeah, I grew up in East Texas and I learned one thing that I've always kept with me - stupid country people aren't fun. At All. Zero fun. They are stupid and country and they aren't ever sure of anything that goes on and they ask questions like, "Is that Baracka guy even from America?" and stuff like that.

If you haven't been keeping up with Jason Sobel's blog over at ESPN, you should because he's pretty funny and cusses and stuff.

Anyway, he had these "cute" gems from Boo that make me want to eat an Asbestos sandwich and wash it down with Paint Thinner.

"[Just missing an eagle putt at par-5 No. 15] didn't frustrate me. I actually just pushed that putt a little bit. I thought it was a par-4, to tell you the truth. I didn't know it was a par-5.

"What's Amen Corner? Why is that a corner? It should be 12, 13 and 14, shouldn't it? There you go. You got me."


I mean, can this guy be serious? This is the same guy that didn't know the Masters were this week and was planning on taking some vacation time right now. I'm pretty sure this would be like KPMG having a "calculator addition" course for all their new workers or a judge learning what a gavel was.

If you're hoping for More Exciting Shots Today, You Got 'em...

Some people complained that yesterday at Augusta was about as much fun as watching golfers struggle with Bethpage Black. Not a lot of exciting shots, not many "loud" roars, nothing too crazy happening.

Today looks to be playing a little different with already two REALLY good shots on 13 from Craig Stadler and Steve Flesch who both kicked them in for eagle (and were playing in the same group coincidentally). Just a few seconds ago Stephen Ames continued his jump up the leader board with a chip-in birdie on 12. If he makes a four on 13 he will do his best Mark O'Meara impression with an Amen birdie call.

Why You Can't Ever Trust a Damn Australian

I've never been to Australia. Nope, never done it. The flight is long, it isn't connected to anything and everyone speaks English.

I also don't go because I don't really trust Australians. None of them have ever won the Masters and it appears that trend could continue. Luckily, I left my distrust of Australians at home when I was picking my Masters champion this year (Geoff Ogilvy) and it has gone ahead and taken a big 'ol chunk out of my butt.

Only two Australians, Peter Lonard and Robert Allenby, are in the top-30 at Augusta and damn Geoff Ogilvy shot 75 on Thursday.

In unrelated news, I also hate kangaroos. I've never been a huge fan of pockets.

Also, It's Back Online

Hey everyone, it's Friday. You know, "casual Friday" where all you're thinking about is what to do over the weekend.

I'm pretty sure it's work appropriate to watch the Masters online. Seriously, this AT&T thing saved my sanity.

A Little Bit of a Masters Update....

So round one was pretty ho-hum, maybe just because Tiger Woods approached it ho-hum. The chip-in was a bonus, but he did hit some good putts that didn't fall and I'm still convinced his shot on 13 was really good, just landed about two feet too far. Also, I've never played Augusta, so my claim on "where the good place to land it" is about as accurate as Bush instructing speech therapy.

Anyway, Trevor Immelman is now leading the Masters, with a birdie-bogey-birdie run on 5,6 and 7 to find himself at five-under heading into the par-5 eighth.

Like my dad always says (and Zach Johnson might have changed this last year), "None of these guys will be sniffing the leader board come Saturday night."

I partially agree with him, even though Justin Rose being at the top of the leader board after today (banking on the fact that he doesn't trip over the wire) scares me a little. He is the only guy besides Tiger last year to finish in the top-12 of all four majors.

Retief Goosen is continuing his solid play and for some reason looks like he did at those U.S. Opens, making an early birdie to stand at two-under. The guy made two bogeys yesterday (on 7 and 11, arguably the two toughest holes at Augusta) but played solid otherwise and is a front-runner that could just keep pounding away at the field.

I'm also loving Johnson right now. The guy just hits the ball really well in these here parts of Georgia. His comfort level looks about as high as anybody in the field.

One interesting note on Mr. Tiger - I've always said that Tiger, even if he isn't convinced it's the smartest or highest percentage shot out there, can convince himself to commit to certain golf shots. When he decides on a golf shot, he's the best in the world at being comfortable with his shot selection. On 13 yesterday, when he duffed the chip, you could tell even through his body language that he wasn't sold on what to do. The post-round interview when he said Stevie and him talked about just putting it to 30 feet and making par was interesting. Not to get all Johnny Miller here, but if he had been one or two under par, he putts that ball to the middle of the green for a long look at birdie.

That right there is why it seems more and more appealing to play the Zach Johnson way around the par-5s. From 60 or 100 yards, those guys can keep the ball below the hole with a respectable look at birdie. From 200 yards or more, they could hit it just past where they want, and make five or six. Augusta National is a damn tough test of golf around those green things.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Zach Johnson, One Down Three To Go


I've been a huge fan of Zach Johnson since last year, even if his little religious rants after winning at Augusta were a little overboard.

Nonetheless, he seems to be a great guy that carries himself well and hits the ball damn well. I also think he is one of the few golfers that never tries something he can't pull off, something none of us writing or reading this could ever say.

He finished the first round with a two-under 70, a score that will have him at the top of the leader board and just a solid start to the tournament. I don't know why, but the guy seems to get Augusta National in every sense of the word. (He didn't go for a par-5 in two at all today, pretty smart if you ask me.)

Tiger Woods is finishing up his round, and unless he can really pencil-whip these guys in his group, he will continue his streak of first rounds in the 70s. After his second shot on 18 it looks like he will end up at even par today.

Photo credit John Biever/SI

Is He Seriously Wearing Jeans?

"Oh man, I sure am excited about playing at Augusta this year in the Masters. You know, it's such a traditional place, a beautiful golf course with so much history and prestige. You know what would really fit the place - wearing jeans in the first round of the Masters."

I'm not totally certain this is how the conversation went with Justin Rose and whoever dresses/buys him ugly black jeans, but I can promise you that it came to fruition.

I really, REALLY hate Justin Rose (and I'm not just saying that for you, J), and wearing some ugly ass black jeansy-things on Thursday probably doesn't help. The good news is his shirt was borrowed from Phil Mickelson's son yesterday who caddied. I bet you didn't know Justin Rose wore a child's small, but here at DTCC, you learn something new every day.

Oh yeah, and Ugly Jeans is leading the damn Masters. I'd rather Paris Hilton win the Powerball.

Ian Poulter Is Better At Hole-In-Ones Today Than Tiger Woods

Pshhhh, Tiger Woods. That guy is good, but how good? Can he make hole-in-ones on 16? Can he dunk a shot for a 1 on one of the best holes at Augusta? Tiger Woods - hack.

Ian Poulter just did it on 16 to jump to three-under a tie for the lead.

Hey Tiger, Ian is coming for you, wake up!

Mark O'Meara Just Told Amen Corner He Isn't Religious


I'm not sure of Mark O'Meara's affiliation with the church, but I can promise you this - the dude never says Amen after praying.

That is probably why the 1998 champion just went birdie-birdie-birdie through Amen Corner and is currently one-under for the tournament.

Also, Tiger Woods is off to his typical Masters start, making a lot of pars and not doing anything crazy. He is even par through three holes today.

Yep, I Might as Well Go Home

Ok, this AT&T live feed of the Masters on this Blue Room thing is awesome.

Honestly, I might as well just tell these people I came down with a sudden case of gangrene or something (Get it, green - like Augusta...the humor never stops here).

Masters on Your Cell Phone?

Do you ever read stuff and think as your scanning the print, "My grandmother couldn't comprehend any of this if I explained it to her in depth for thirty hours straight?"

Oh, just me then? Fair enough.

Anyway, AT&T is doing this Blue Room thing that gives you live video and highlights during the day, which is a bonus if you're at work like me WITHOUT A TELEVISION. Anyway, it gives you an opportunity to waste more time in the office, which is good because luckily CBS doesn't offer something like this during March Madness or anything.

Along with that, they also offer a text message mechanism that texts you trivia and alerts and stuff if you text GOLF (4884) from your AT&T phone. Sometimes, just for fun, I'll text stuff like this just to get instant texts back to make me feel like someone really, really likes me.

If you have Verizon like me, you're pretty screwed, but it's been that way since the iPhone came out and I'm still really bitter about that, so don't get me started.

Anyway, check the Blue Room if you want to watch some Masters coverage instead of working, which is probably everyone in the country.

Fog Delay? Come to Denver, Wimps


I took this photo when I woke up this morning outside my apartment window in Denver.

Go ahead, soak it in your jackass losers that live in Miami and LA. Officially, and just for today, I hate you.

Anyway, as you can see, it's pretty tough for me to comprehend the "fog delay" that delayed the Masters by 40 minutes this morning.

So far Mark O'Meara, Heath Slocum, Ian Poulter, Peter Lonard, Hunter Mahan and Miguel Angel Jimenez are the only golfers under par, all just one shot in red.

In unrelated news, it's snowing in Denver. If you haven't heard. Just in case you cared. Snowing. Denver. No golf today at all for me. Thanks Mother Nature. Sigh.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

(And Finally) Why Tiger Woods Will Win the Masters


All week I've been previewing golfers that I think have a good shot at winning the Masters. We've knocked out Vijay Singh, K.J. Choi, Geoff Ogilvy, Zach Johnson, Retief Goosen, Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els and Jim Furyk. It is pretty pointless to even mention this, but here we go - it is Tiger Woods time.

Numbers - I think this saves a lot of reading time. El Tigre's finishes at Augusta from 1997 on.

First, t8, t18, 5, First. First, t15, t22, First, t3 and t2.

That is all. Enjoy the first round tomorrow and check in throughout the day for what some really stupid people would call "insight."

Why Retief Goosen Will Win the Masters


For the rest of the day I will be randomly presenting different top-notch golfers and explaining why these guys have a chance to win the Masters over anyone else in the field. Mostly, this will just be stupid "stats" that really don't matter once the golfers tee it up Thursday morning. To recap, skip everything I'm about to write. This afternoon we're looking at Retief Goosen.

Talk about picking your poison - Retief Goosen has won six times on Tour, twice being U.S. Opens. He burst onto the golf scene with the Southern Hills three-putt into the playoff, but kept it together and won the thing. Now he's got those South African eyes on the Masters. Should the field be worried?

Come Close Much? - Goosen has been straight skizlow at the Masters the last three years (Did I just sound like Stuart Scott?). Retief's last three years have been a tie for third, tie for third, tie for second. Only Tiger Woods has knocked out a better stretch the last three tournaments.

What Goes Down Must Come Up...Ehh, or something like that - It's true, Retief hasn't won a tournament since 2005. The good news, he finished in second place at the World Golf Championships at the end of March, which has to bode well for Retief camp.

Cool, Calm, Collected, Cool - The bunker play at Southern Hills is the best example for how this guy can handle a day he didn't bring the A-Game. He never seems to get rattled and is pretty much "major-made." I don't know another golfer I'd take in the final group with Tiger, having to climb a ladder against the world's best closer (Note: Still think Tiger would win if this was the case).

Maxx Wolfson, THE Man, Getty Images

Thursday Tee Times - Most Intriguing, Least Intriguing


The Thursday tee times are all set and here are a few of the best and worst groups to keep your eyes on.

Most Intriguing

10:45 a.m. Tiger Woods, Angel Cabrera, Stuart Appleby - These guys are going to BOMB it off the tee.

1:08 p.m. Bubba Watson, Sergio Garcia, Mark Calcavecchia - I'm almost positive you couldn't pair three guys together with less in common than these three. "Nice yellow pants Sergio."

1:19 p.m. Adam Scott, Paul Casey, Retief Goosen
1:30 p.m. Vijay Singh, Steve Stricker, Stewart Cink
1:41 p.m. Phil Mickelson, Andres Romero, K.J. Choi
1:52 p.m. Ernie Els, Shingo Katayama, Jim Furyk
2:03 p.m. Aaron Baddeley, Camilo Villegas, Lee Westwood
- Wow, weigh the tee sheet much?

Least Intriguing

8:00 a.m. Ben Curtis, Shaun Micheel -
Grandpa: Now, which one of these guys did you say won the Masters?
Grandson: Neither Grandpa, Curtis won a British Open and Micheel won a PGA Championship.
Grandpa: Where is Nicklaus?
Grandson: No Grandpa, Curtis. C-U-R-T-I-S.
Grandpa: They caddy for Nicklaus?
Grandson: (Sigh)

12:02 p.m. Soren Hansen, Daniel Chopra, Richard Sterne - No worries, I'll do it for you. "Who?"

12:57 p.m. Bernhard Langer, Prayad Marksaeng, Woody Austin - I don't know a ton about the PGA golfers, but I think Woody's brother is named Prayad.

Rory Sabbatini doesn't believe in no stupid Curse


Of all the golfers in the world, wouldn't Rory Sabbatini be the perfect candidate to win the par-3 contest at Augusta with this smug "I'll be the first to take it all at Augusta" look on his face?

Well, after hearing him say on "Sportscenter" this morning that he thinks somebody will eventually win both the Par-3 Tourney and the Masters, it's an interesting position he's in - ehhh, winning the Par-3 Tournament.

Sabbatini shot a five-under 31 22 that included a BOMB on the ninth green from about 50 feet. I'm almost positive he was hoping that putt would miss the hole and keep rolling, no matter if he admits it or not.

Also, there have been four hole-in-ones today - Paul Azinger on two, Charles Coody on three, Fred Couples on seven and Wayne Grady on the always entertaining ninth.

Deadspin Masters Preview for Golfers

Yep, it's that time of year, Deadspin runs my poor attempt for a Masters preview and I only had to pay the website $200 and a box of those Nike golf balls Tiger plays.

What a steal.

Why Phil Mickelson Will Win the Masters


For the rest of the day I will be randomly presenting different top-notch golfers and explaining why these guys have a chance to win the Masters over anyone else in the field. Mostly, this will just be stupid "stats" that really don't matter once the golfers tee it up Thursday morning. To recap, skip everything I'm about to write. This afternoon we're looking at two-time winner Phil Mickelson.

For all the hype coming with Masters week, Phil Mickelson has done a pretty decent job of flying under the radar. All this "Tiger Will Win Screw Everyone Else" talk that is coming from Magnolia Lane, we need to remember - since 2003 Lefty has won twice to El Tigre's uno. I wonder why Phil Mickelson will win this year (Fades into "Saved by the Bell" type dream scene)....

He's Obviously a Fan of the Course - You know, Phil has played Augusta pretty damn well over the years. Ok, maybe better than well - the guy had as stretch from 1999-2006 where he never finished out of the top ten at the Masters. During that stretch he went third-third-third-win-10th-win. Yeah, I think he knows the greens.

I've heard Putting is Key - He might not be the best putter on tour (honestly, not close - 72nd this season), but it seems when these major things come around, his putting clicks a touch better. If there is ever an advantage Phil has over everyone, it's his chutzpah around the greens.

Even Years? - For sure the dumbest thing I've typed in a while (and that's saying a lot), but he won in '04 and '06, so who knows? The only problem with this theory would be that in '02, '00 or any other year in the history of this earth that the Masters were played on an even year and he didn't win. Yeah, maybe the percentages are actually against us.

I like Schmickelson this week actually, like you care.

Tiger Is a Huge Fan of the "Easy" Augusta


One extremely interested wrinkle in how Augusta National plays each year is this - Tiger Woods has never won on a "hard" Augusta year.

Actually, Tiger has never won at Augusta when the winning score is just single digits under par.

His victories looked like this : 18-under, 16-under, 12-under, and 12-under. Actually, in the Tiger ear era, only one golfer has shot double-digits under par (Vijay Singh in 2000) to win the Masters.

I guess you could say the field (you know, those guys that have no chance of winning) can only hope for the hardest conditions possible. The easier the better for Mr. Woods.

Why Zach Johnson Will Win the Masters


For the rest of the day I will be randomly presenting different top-notch golfers and explaining why these guys have a chance to win the Masters over anyone else in the field. Mostly, this will just be stupid "stats" that really don't matter once the golfers tee it up Thursday morning. To recap, skip everything I'm about to write. This noon-time we're looking at defending champion Zach Johnson.

Sure, defending your Masters title isn't that easy. I know only Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, and Nick Faldo have done it since 1934, but that just goes to show that it can be done. With Zach Johnson winning three times last year, you have to believe he isn't just a flash in the pan. How can Zach pull off that awkward situation where he has to actually give the green jacket to himself and then fake handshake with himself?

Wedge it Like it's Hottt - How did he win last year? He hit his damn wedges close all week long. I mean, close close. Like, hit them really close to the pin.

See-MORE - I'm pretty sure See More putters should just send Zach Johnson frozen steaks once a week for the rest of his life. The guy broke out the Payne Stewart putter and rolled the ball better than anyone else in the field. He will have to bring that same feel, which he almost always does.

Hope for Hard Conditions - Last year, the course played hard as hell and he won. If Augusta plays tough again, it will only help guys like Zach who make a ton of pars, not many bogeys and not a lot of eagles.

I was thinking about what I wrote earlier that Zach would have to finagle some weird "help yourself put the green jacket on as the previous winner" and I found a solution for Zach. Just see if Jesus can put it on you.

Updating the Augusta National Weather Watch


I have never understood the art of weather predictions. Like a good girl friend of mine said, most weather people (DTCC - always politically correct) are just journalist trying to get their face on the local TV. Point taken.

Anyway, as was reported yesterday, Augusta, Georgia was expected to get some rain both Friday and Saturday, but Weather.com has revoked that statement, saying only expect thunder showers, whatever the hell that is, on Saturday.

The new update that has to excite people - they are projected it to be WINNNDDDYYY on Sunday, which will probably make picking a club on 12 that much easier. Also, the "Windy" icon has to be circa 1985 or earlier. No way a company has created that cheesy of a depiction in the last 20 years.

Why Jim Furyk Will Win The Masters


For the rest of the day I will be randomly presenting different top-notch golfers and explaining why these guys have a chance to win the Masters over anyone else in the field. Mostly, this will just be stupid "stats" that really don't matter once the golfers tee it up Thursday morning. To recap, skip everything I'm about to write. This morning is fellow Wildcat Jim Furyk.

To be honest, Jim Furyk has never really scorched Augusta National. I mean, his best finish is a fourth place showing in 1998 and 2003 (what a hack!). Anyway, a "model of consistency," Furyk has battled some injuries that has removed him from the elite golfer conversation but that could all change with a pretty green jacket.

Arizona alumni - Look at Arizona Wildcat sports the last few years and you'll know exactly what I'm talking about. The basketball team wins big games, the football team makes bowl game after bowl game, and the softball team is awesome (ok, so that one is true). What all this means, is if one school can create a champion at Augusta, it's Pima Community Collegethe University of Arizona.

Have it your Way - Furyk always does things a little different around the golf course. His swing is like a guy with no bone structure trying to flag down a cab, his putting stroke has more hesitations than a Kobe pump-fake and even his grin is a little Scrooge-esque. The good thing about this is to win at Augusta, sometimes you have to do things a little different. Zach Johnson took this approach last year and it seemed to work out pretty well for him.

Experience - I know this is boring, but it is probably as as important as anything that comes with major championship. Three top-10s and only one missed cut since 1996.

(Also, if your caddy wears a Jerry Jeff Walker t-shirt under his Augusta caddy bib, you get extra kudos points in my book.)

Don't Expect to See Tiger Today


If you were excited about going home early today to watch Tiger Woods goof around at the Masters Par-3 Tournament, I'm going to be that guy to snuff out your fire.

El Tigre said he isn't joining the festivities this year, citing the hoopla as his main reason.

"It's changed over the years," Woods said. "It's a little bit distracting to (play the Par 3 and) try to get ready for the tournament."

Even without him, it should be interesting to watch a little fun on the tube. The Par-3 is live on ESPN from 3-5 PM eastern today.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

What are the Masters Without some Fun Weather Delays?


Nothing, and I mean nothing, screams fun like playing golf in the rain.

Umbrellas fumbling around, towels hanging in the undercarriage, falling out onto the sopping ground, wet grips, wet gloves, rain gear - it is all FUN FUN FUN.

The Masters have done a good job of allowing others to experience this fun over the last few years and it looks like we could be in for another exciting week of rain delays.

According to Weather.com there is a good chance of isolated thunderstorms both Friday and Saturday.

One of my favorite things about rain delays and extended golf days in professional golf is the obligatory "golfers in the best shape can really take advantage of this" line the announcers throw around on air a few times. Those things never get old. Never.

Anyway, expect rain at the Masters on moving day, where the only good thing that could come from it is a soft Sunday with lots of birdies.

Why K.J. Choi Will Win The Masters


For the next two days I will be randomly presenting different top-notch golfers and explaining why these guys have a chance to win the Masters over anyone else in the field. Mostly, this will just be stupid "stats" that really don't matter once the golfers tee it up Thursday morning. To recap, skip everything I'm about to write. Here we go with K.J. Choi!

Did you know that K.J. Choi is the first Korean to ever earn a PGA Tour card? Also, he used to power lift competitively, squatting 350 pounds as a 13-year-old? Along with those things, Choi plays some pretty good golf, breaking through in 2007 with two victories, a second and 17 top-25s. What stars have to align for Choi to notch his first major championship this week at Augusta?

Solid - He isn't one of those guys that misses a lot of cuts - he's only missed five in two years - and he tends to be in contention more than he isn't. With his consistent ball-striking (second in greens in regulation this season), it wouldn't be the craziest thing for him to be at the top of the leader board late Sunday afternoon.

Stoic - I don't know what is going on in his head, but the dude looks more calm that a casket occupier. Nerves don't seem to be that big of a deal to K.J.

Knows a Little of Augusta - Augusta hardly ever has winners that haven't been there before, and Choi has been there. He finished third in 2004 at the Masters and has only missed the cut once. Also, by sporting the Swoosh, his chances exponentially increase (Nike loves the Masters).

He has won some important tournaments, been in contentions at others, and would be an interesting interview in Butler Cabin. Could the Zach Johnson-K.J. Choi green jacket ceremony be the first time in Masters history the chairman had to ask who these guys were before introducing them?

Get Your Popcorn Tivo Ready


This is your friendly reminder that the Par-3 Tournament will be televised for the first time tomorrow on ESPN.

They will show the fun little event from 3-5 PM Eastern on Wednesday, and since most people work (losers), don't forget to set up a reminder to tape record it.

Also, Jack Nicklaus, who has had some success at Augusta, is playing in it, which will be nice if just to see the Golden Bear swinging a club again.

Why Geoff Ogilvy Will Win the Masters


For the next two days I will be randomly presenting different top-notch golfers and explaining why these guys have a chance to win the Masters over anyone else in the field. Mostly, this will just be stupid "stats" that really don't matter once the golfers tee it up Thursday morning. To recap, skip everything I'm about to write. Anyway, it's Geoff Ogilvy's turn.

Wanna know something crazy? The Masters has been going on since 1934 and no Australian has ever left wearing green. Greg Norman is the one to blame for most of this, but nobody else can say they made much of a run either. Geoff Ogilvy, among a few others, is part of a new age Australian run, with more and more dudes coming from down under that can play. Why does he have a good shot at winning the Masters, you ask? Well, let me explain....

Momentum is a four-letter wordimportant - Besides El Tigre, Ogilvy is heading into Augusta playing just about as well as anyone. After missing his first three cuts of the season, Ogilvy started playing, and has finished t-10, t-14, win, t-2 the last four tournaments. As good as he is, you have to expect it to carry over to Augusta.

Maybe the only young guy to have won a major - Ok, I know Schimeckelson handed him the U.S. Open, but Ogilvy still played well enough that week to get himself into position. Maybe he isn't considered a "young gun," but he is one of the guys people are expecting to continue winning over the next few years. Experience in the major championship situation can't help.

I like Him - I know that by capitalizing the "Him" it looks like I'm talking about God or Jesus or whoever, but I did it on accident and kinda liked it. I think Geoff Ogilvy is a good golfer, and has a pretty cool demeanor under pressure. Also, I like the guy. So, start your own golf blog and tell me you hate him and I'll read it with wide eyes.

(Also, added comment about Geoff - doesn't it look like this guy has ENORMOUS Shaq-like feet? His feet looks almost too big for his body. Can someone find out his shoe size?)

Why Ernie Els Will Win The Masters


For the next two days I will be randomly presenting different top-notch golfers and explaining why these guys have a chance to win the Masters over anyone else in the field. Mostly, this will just be stupid "stats" that really don't matter once the golfers tee it up Thursday morning. To recap, skip everything I'm about to write. Anyway, today's golfer is Ernie Els.

So maybe Ernie Els isn't the hottest golfer on the planet. Maybe he's struggled in years past because of that damn injury bug. Maybe he isn't the guy he used to be, someone that everyone thought had a chance to win week in and week out. Whatever the take, he plays well at Augusta and (wait for the generic tag line) should be a force to be reckoned with come Thursday (BAM).

Major Champion Blood - He has won three majors, the same amount as Phil Mickelson and Vijay Singh, which included two U.S. Opens, arguably the toughest tournament to rise victorious. He is one of the few golfers to be competitive in numerous majors, finishing in second place in all four at least once.

Big Easy? - Ok, I've always been on the lame side of this nickname, but I guess you could argue that his golf swing justifies the rather dorky name. Anyway, the point is, that golf swing seems to hold up under pressure, and there are only a couple of golfers you could say that about these days.

At least It Isn't Last Year - Until his victory at the Honda Classic in March, Ernie hadn't won on the PGA Tour since 2004. The thing with Ernie is it seems to pour when that first raindrop hits. I'd say the over/under on victories this year is three, so maybe one could land at Augusta.

Ok, maybe not the most compelling argument for a golfer, but the guy hasn't done much lately. I think an Ernie-Tiger battle would be better than a Phil-Tiger one, but that's just me.

Remember the Masters - 1997

A lot of people don't know this, but in 1997 at the Masters, Tiger Woods played really well.

Tiger started the tournament shooting 40 on the front nine, but followed that up with a tidy little six-under 30 on the back, and pretty much ripped Augusta apart after that.

This was the Old Augusta National, the Short Augusta National, the Rough-less Augusta National and an Augusta National that Tiger Woods was a huge fan of. He went on to win the damn thing by 12 shots over Tom Kite (nope, not a misprint) and make Nike's "Hello World" ads pretty much the most prophetic ads of all time.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Why Vijay SIngh Will Win The Masters


For the next three days I will be randomly presenting different top-notch golfers and explaining why these guys have a chance to win the Masters over anyone else in the field. Mostly, this will just be stupid "stats" that really don't matter once the golfers tee it up Thursday morning. To recap, skip everything I'm about to write. Anyway, today's golfer is Vijay Singh.

Lets be honest, most American golf fans hate Vijay Singh. They hate his demeanor, his awkward lean-and-look-strange-after-swing thingy he's got going and they especially hate his "Tiger Who?" moment from the Presidents Cup a few years back. No matter how much everyone hates him, Vijay has been a top-three golfer in the world the last ten years, notching three majors and a ton of regular PGA events. Here is why Vijay has a good chance to win the Masters in 2008.

Been There, Done That - The thing that is a different in this generation of golf that can't be said in the other majors is that not a ton of guys have been fitted for the green jacket. Looking past guys named Tiger and Phil, Vijay is only one of three guys to win at Augusta since 2000. He beat out Ernie Els in 2000 and since then, has finished in the top-8 five of the last seven years.

Long Ball - As I said earlier I'm not a huge fan of the "big hitters are the only ones with a chance at Augusta" mentality, but they obviously have an advantage because of the length of the course. Vijay bombs it, and is never scared to pull out the driver. This is feast or famine approach, but if he's hitting the driver straight, he's tough to beat.

Vijay is a great putter-Ok, so he can't putt, we know that. As well as he hits the ball, if he isn't rolling the ball well he has never had a chance at any course. The other side of that is if his putter gets a tiny bit warm, he can blow people out of the water, even guys named Tiger. As long as he avoids the long-putter and can wiggle in a few knee-knockers, Vijay is a threat in Georgia.