The Masters Arrives In Full Bloom
The azaleas and dogwoods are in full bloom. The temperatures are rising. The tour season is in full gear. It’s that time of the year again. The time when The Masters explodes onto center stage and into our consciousness. It’s always lurking in the weeks leading up to its playing. Things like who is playing well leading up to the year’s first major? What are Tiger’s prospects? How is Phil playing? Rory? Dustin? Justin? Jordan? Well, folks, it’s April 8th. The Masters is here.
I know many of you live and die by the oddsmakers. Who is the odds-on favorite to win? And stuff like that. But, if history is any guide, the small things, the Sunday freak gifts from the golf gods, are what wins the green jacket. Couples and the blade of grass at the 12th on Sunday. Sergio’s 5 from Rae’s creek on 13. Sandy Lyle’s bunker shot on 18. Larry Mize’s playoff hole out. Tiger’s chip in from an impossible spot on 16. Schwartzel’s double eagle in 2011. Bubba’s hook from the trees in 2012. Jordan’s water balls on 12.
Learn how to play Sandy Lyle's bunker shot here
Learn how to play Tiger's chip shot here
Learn how to hook it like Bubba did here
Who will the gods bless this year? Will Rory break through and capture his first Masters title and win the career slam? Will Kuchar win his first major? Can Phil win his fourth? Will Jordan regain his 2015 form? Can Reed repeat? Will Molinari add The Masters to his Open crown? Will Dustin regain world number 1 with a win? How about Justin Rose? Is it his time to shine on the back nine Sunday?
All you need to know about Augusta National
And then of course there is the 1000-pound Tiger factor lurking. No one drives the excite-o-meter like he does. No one means so much to the success of the game. He’s back. Seems healthy. His driving is now a strength. Without much loss of distance. (witness the match against Rory). His iron play is getting better. He has been just about the best ever iron-wise for so long. The only concern, and it’s no small potatoes, is his putting. Can he win putting like he did on 18 against Bjerregaard? Probably not. But The Masters seems to inspire Tiger to outperform his form. He knows the course like the back of his hand. And, outside of Jack, he is probably the best tactician ever to compete. He can and does, as he says so often, grind it out. Win without his A-game. Is number 15 in the cards.
Tune in Sunday at 5 on CBS to find out.