(EDITED-Awesome change to the rules of golf by The R&A and USGA. It’s about time. More tomorrow)
…the second greatest line in TV sports history…
“The Bear…has come out of hibernation.”
I get the chills and teary eyed just thinking about it.
Today is the first round of my favorite golf tournament. Jack Nicklaus winning the 1986 Masters was the event that made me want to play golf for a living…so I blame Tom Kite, Seve Ballesteros and Greg Norman for ruining my life. Had they not gaged it away, I might have a real job and would be happy to be a long hitting club champion somewhere.
If Phil can avoid a “Phil round,” he will win. What I mean by that is one of those rounds where he drives it off line, takes too many chances trying to recover and has a long back stoke on his putter and misses a bunch of 4 footers and shoots himself out of the tournament. (AKA a “Monte round”)
As for Tiger, I see one of two scenarios. If you are “working” on your chipping, you can pretty much remove yourself from contention at Augusta. A well hit chip with a little too much spin will take a big first hop and end up 60 feet from the hole. I won’t even get started on a new putter and his swing issues.
Like I said, one of two scenarios.
Scenario #1-On Thursday or Friday he has one hot 9 that keeps him within striking distance and everyone will expect the patented Tiger Saturday where he shoots really low, takes the lead and wins going away on Sunday.
To those of you hoping for this, I am sorry, this is not the same Tiger. He shoots between 73-76 Saturday, then fires a low round Sunday that gets everyone saying, “Tiger is back” and he then becomes the favorite to win the US Open even though he finished 18th at Augusta.
Scenario #2-With his swing, chipping and putting issues, he shows a few flashes, but is basically a non factor, barely makes the cut and finishes in the second half of the field.
As far as other players are concerned, I have no feel for anyone else to talk about other than Bubba. IMO, the first day is huge for him. If he doesn’t blow up, I believe he will have a great chance to win.
There are always one or two unexpected names at the top. I’ll throw Gary Woodland out there. Once the field sorts itself out on Thursday and Friday, I will have more thoughts on more players.
Here is something to get you ready and fired up. Especially at the 2:20 mark.