I’m not going to write too much today. As you probably know, much of your time on the internet today should be devoted to the Masters website. There isn’t a whole lot to do on Monday, except reflect on past tournaments, scan the field and watch videos. The pairings will come out on Tuesday. Wednesday is the par-3 tournament, and then the fun starts. I’ve got to do my scouting for the most exclusive Masters Pool in the World. But, in the spirit of community, here are a few things to think about for the tournament this week…
1. Guan Tianlang (pronounced Tin Long) will become the youngest competitor in the history of the Masters when he tees it up this week at age 14. Tianlang won the Asian amateur (out of nowhere) and if I had to guess is headed toward a tee time with one of Augusta’s elder statesman–perhaps Ben Crenshaw? Crenshaw would be a good fit, because Tianlang ropes his tee shots about 250 yds, aka Crenshaw Long. His deadly short game will be tested this week, but I can barely wrap my head around a 14-year old playing the Masters. When I was fourteen I was fairly impressed with myself when I made my high school golf team and occasionally shot in the low 50s–for 12 holes (and in NES OPEN).
2. Tiger Woods returns to Augusta this week as the #1 player in the world for the first time in a couple of years. The ranking feels significant. Tiger looks to be on even better form than he was last year and is putting better as well, which has held him back in the majors in the post-scandal era. The odds for the event reflect Tiger nearly getting back his lock status with the bettors. In the heyday, Tiger would be about even money to win any event he played. This year’s top choices according to Ladbrokes:
- Tiger Woods, 4:1
- Rory McIlroy, 8:1
- Phil Mickelson, 10:1
- Justin Rose, 16:1
- Charl Schwartzel, 20:1
3. This is the first Masters since Augusta National admitted two female members last summer. Darla Moore and Condoleezza Rice joined the green jacket ranks in August and will likely be a story on the periphery early in the week. Rice has already made news by playing a practice round alongside Phil Mickelson last week. Classic Mickelson move.
4. The weather can play a big role at The Masters. From delays, to course conditions, rain can always be a factor. The consensus is, Augusta is at its most difficult but is also anyone’s tournament when the course is hard and fast. There is a threat of rain for the early rounds this week and a chance of windy conditions on Friday afternoon. If you are trying to pick a winner, listen to the early reports of the course conditions and maybe favor the late/early tee times.
5. A preview of what’s coming up for the rest of this Masters week…
- A Masters Flavor (?) Mailbag on Tuesday
- Pairings and Predictions on Wednesday
- A look at the Final rounds on Friday, with the appropriate level of glee/panic depending on leaderboard
All right, that’s it for today. Everyone enjoy the NCAA final tonight, if you can still muster any interest, or you can watch Roy Halladay try to relocate his career against Mets’ strikeout machine Matt Harvey. Phils in dire need of some quality starts. And you thought that statistic was idiotic…