Monday, April 8, 2013

Masters Predictions

It's that time of year again to make my Masters predictions.  This is never easy, especially when Tiger Woods is playing so well.  Tiger already has won three times this year, and it's pretty hard to put your money on someone else.

However, I don't have a problem with it.

Years ago, when Tiger was at Stanford and competing in what was then the PAC 10, he declined to come to my home course at Meadow Springs Country Club in Richland, Washington for the PAC 10 Tournament because of a so called injury.

To this day I don't buy that he was hurt.  I think he was scared of our deep rough and hard, fast greens.

I also don't get too excited with the way he treats his fellow competitors, and the media.  In his press conference following his most recent win he was the same old Tiger.  The world's number one player was short, condescending, arrogant, pompous, you name it. The timing and coming out party regarding his relationship with Lindsey Vonn was very calculated.  Expect to see her at the Masters in the gallery and touring the course as part of her rehabilitation.

What a dog and pony show.  You just know the media focus will be solely on him, like nobody else is even playing in the tournament.  What a sad affair, no pun intended.

Enough about the cuddly Tiger, let's get to what really matters.  My sentimental pick is England's Lee Westwood.  He is definitely right up there on the list of players too good to have not won a major.  His game is coming back into shape after a strong performance at the Shell Houston Open.  He had a strong performance at the Masters last year.  His putter is coming to life.  Augusta marks the beginning of spring, the azaleas are in full bloom, and driving down Magnolia Lane seems to be a coming out party for many.

Another favorite of mine comes as no surprise to anyone who knows me, former O'Dea star  Fred Couples.  He's always in the hunt at Augusta and I have a sneaking hunch that this year will be no exception.  "Boom Boom" still hits it as long as anyone, and his high ball flight is perfect for Augusta.  Hopefully his putter shows up too.  As Johnny Miller once said, "When you get into your late 40's and 50's the three footers just stop going in".

Isn't that the truth.

Rory McElroy is coming off a stellar 66 in the final round of the Valero Texas Open, but I don't think his putter is up to par, yet.   But who knows, he made 8 birdies on Sunday.  When I was at the Masters in 2009 he looked like a goofy kid stumbling his way around the course.  Since then he has climbed to number two in the World Golf Rankings.

 One of the more memorable nights of the week is the annual Champions Dinner, where everyone who's won a Green Jacket gathers over a meal chosen by the current Masters Champion.What has Bubba Watson chosen for his menu? "There's gonna be food," he said, tight-lipped. He admitted that it took him "about 30 seconds" to come up with the menu. "I went with what I wanted. I couldn't care less about the other people."

Sounds a lot like Tiger doesn't he?

Regardless of what kind of food there's gonna be,  I can just see Bubba presenting the green jacket to a fellow Taurus of mine from Worksop, England.

Break out the Guinness baby, It's Lee Westwood's time.