April 09, 2002

A tradition unlike any other...The Masters. : (yes, on CBS) I think this is going to be a very interesting edition of the spring classic, and I hope something unexpected happens. Here's what is expected, according to CNNSI/GolfOnline's Sal Johnson and ESPN.com's Greg Robertson. (see my take and add yours, inside)

posted by msacheson to golf at 06:54 PM - 16 comments

Everyone is talking about how the lengthening and toughening of Augusta will narrow the potential winners to the longest and best drivers. That means you have to like Tiger Woods, Vijay, Mickelson...the usual big hitting suspects, plus maybe Scott McCarron, Angel Cabrera and John Daly. Longer and tougher also means fewer greens hit in regulation. The shorter hitters who are accurate with their irons and superb with wedges and putter can offset the driving advantage of the longer bombers. These contenders would be Jose Maria Olazabal, Retief Goosen, Jesper Parnevik, David Toms and Brad Faxon. (John Daly has a great, soft-touch short game, and Tiger can make clutch shots when needed, also.) Instead of just saying Tiger or Mickelson will win it (may very well happen), I say watch out for Ernie Els, David Toms and Sergio Garcia. Singh, Olazabal and David Duval cannot be counted out, either, given their past success at the Masters. I pick Ernie.

posted by msacheson at 07:07 PM on April 09, 2002

I like Dimarco to win. It's just a hunch because of his impressive play last year in his first Masters. Aside from the big 4 (Woods, Duval, Mick, Els), everyone seems to be on the Olazabal and Daly bandwagons. This signals to me that these players will be disappointing, even though a disappointing finish for Jose may be tenth place.

posted by gov at 07:43 AM on April 10, 2002

One thing I'm sick of is all the whining about Mickelson. The Golf Channel spent about an hour on commentary from everyone under the sun regarding his lack of a major, and his quest to make this Masters his first. He's probably more sick of hearing it than I am, though. Nevertheless, I'd like to see the Redneck Razorback win. Daly seems to have gotten his shit together lately, is playing good golf, and I wouldn't be surprised at all to see him don the green jacket on Sunday.

posted by gnz2001 at 12:53 PM on April 11, 2002

Of course, the coolest thing would be for 42 year old Mid-Amateur Champ Tim Jackson to pull off a "cinderella story".

posted by gnz2001 at 12:56 PM on April 11, 2002

I'm thinking Retief Goosen/Tiger, but the news here is the booting out of three past winners, Billy Casper, Doug Ford and Gay Brewer due to their non-competitiveness, while Arnold Palmer, who hasn't made a cut since the 1970s is left in. I personally agree with the culling process but only if it's across the board, otherwise it isn't about the level of play, it's a popularity contest. Instead of a lifetime exemption maybe it should be five years or something.

posted by Mack Twain at 01:04 PM on April 11, 2002

Agreed. Imagine if Tim Jackson was a former greenskeeper ("This crowd has gone deadly silent, a Cinderella story outta nowhere. Former greenskeeper and now about to become the masters champion.")

posted by msacheson at 01:06 PM on April 11, 2002

Mack Twain makes a very good point. The lifetime exemption rule prevents many good players from having an opportunity to compete, while clearly non-competitive guys like Palmer still get to tee it up and miss the cut. Then again, it IS a private club, and they get to invite whomever they wish.

posted by gnz2001 at 01:33 PM on April 11, 2002

Well, Verplank fades at the finish of the first round. How about Greg Norman? Could this be the year? Wouldn't that be a story? I cannot wait for Sunday!

posted by jmpeterson at 02:06 PM on April 11, 2002

Yea, Norman. I have to admit, I wasn't disappointed to see him lose in 86 (what with Jack's great charge), nor again in 99 to Olazabal, but damn, it'd be like Elway winning that superbowl: The guy deserves it.

posted by gnz2001 at 02:39 PM on April 11, 2002

BTW, right in the hunt: DiMarco.

posted by gnz2001 at 02:39 PM on April 11, 2002

I pick DiMarco & Harrington. Dark horse: Angel Cabrera. But if it came down on Sunday to Daly and Tiger in the last pair....wow.......that'd be sooooo cool. Funny how some of the "shorter" hitters that were expected to get trounced turned in pretty good first rounds - - Price, Faxon, Leonard.

posted by BitterOldPunk at 07:14 PM on April 11, 2002

I'm late, but I'm boring: Tiger will win.

posted by 86 at 09:54 PM on April 11, 2002

Bitter Punk, Cabrera a dark horse. He is one shot back of Love and had a good Masters last year. He is a world class player, but doesn't get American press because he can't speak English. It would be something though. An Argentinian coming from poverty being associated with those stuffed shirts. The only thing more uncomfortable would be Rosie O'Donnell winning the green jacket.

posted by gov at 09:58 PM on April 11, 2002

I don't know, gov. The Masters has always reached out to foreign players long before most other tournaments. I don't think it would be uncomfortable if Cabrera won at all. I doubt there's any "anti-Argentina" sentiment. I think it would be less revolutionary than Tiger winning in '97.

posted by jmpeterson at 08:04 AM on April 12, 2002

jmpeterson is correct. The Masters has always invited a huge foreign contingent. Remeber when Roberto De Vicenzo carded a 4 instead of a 3, and missed getting into a playoff with Bob Goalby? He remarked "I am a stupid." De Vincenzo is also an Argentinian.

posted by gnz2001 at 01:51 PM on April 12, 2002

Yes, I'll clarify. I didn't mean they were anti-foreigners. I just thought it would be a strange situation if the Masters winner couldn't speak English and was a former caddie. You just have to remember that 90% of the foreign golfers come from privleged backgrounds (compared to 99% of American pros), so there is not a huge class difference. Even if you look at the foreign Masters champions most came from at least comfortable family situations (Olazabal, Vijay, Player, Woosnam). Langer would be an exception.

posted by gov at 08:18 PM on April 12, 2002

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