TEE TIMES

 

Well that time of the year has come again.  Maybe not as it has in years past.  Not exactly the same feel but still an amazing time in the golf world.  What I mean is… there used to be a time when the Masters signified the start of the golf season both for the Tour as well as for amatuer golfers.  As managers of golf facilities you knew the season was underway. Golfers were on the way to your golf course. Golfers got the clubs out of storage to hit the range in preparation of the upcoming season just waiting for the weather to catch up.  The Masters has lost a bit of that “official kickoff” feeling of the season because of the lack of “missing” golf on television.  O well change is for the best?

This week is still the standard for golf on the tour and for the world.  Augusta National, the membership and the patrons that visit have no comparison during any other week of the season.  Purchasing a ticket to The Masters is a privilege not a right to express “any” feelings toward the contestants. There is no heckling while an impressive display of courtesy is extended to the golfers as they work for the title of Masters Champion, not to mention an accompanying check of nearly two million dollars.  This is all in thanks to Mr. Woods with what he has done for the sport during his career. The Masters in 1997 changed the sport by what Tiger did that weekend more than any single event in recent history. Tiger has done more for his sport than any other athlete has in any sport period.

Tiger makes his return this weekend after several years of injury.  He is one of the favorites, some say the favorite, to win his 5th green jacket.  The talk this week on the grounds of Augusta National, is all about Tiger. He is back!  He has club speeds similar to what he had in his prime, this after a fused back! He is putting well, chipping and pitching is spectacular he is poised to win.  But where is his MIND?  As I wrote in 2010 in the post {The Mind of a Golfer} after Tiger had his mishap in florida late one night, “Tiger will not win again in 2010”.  Not only did he not win in 2010 he has not won since 2013. On the exterior, the experts say Tiger looks ready to win again but has his mind comeback as well and as far as his game has?  I do not believe Tiger can win this week, I would not be surprised if he missed the cut.  As for who may win, let us take a look at a few more favorites.

Rory McIlroy has a chance to be the 6th person to win the career grand slam.  He won two weeks ago but more importantly his putter is alive again.  He has the game to do it but the pressure of golf historic immortality is to much, he finishes top 10.

Dustin Johnson is world number one.  Pressure? Probably not as he has been at the top of the rankings since the Genesis Open in 2017 so he is accustomed to playing as number one.  His position is in jeopardy as Justin Thomas is in position to take over with a good showing this week. This may drive Dustin to win but he has stated that he does not need motivation to win not from Tiger or anybody.  Dustin has had his share of life experiences to overcome and seems settled in his position in the golf world. Top 5 finish but not a win.

Justin Thomas has won 3 times in his last 15 starts.  He won at the Honda Classic, was second in the WGC Mexico Championship and fourth in the WGC Dell Technologies Match Play, his last 3 events.  Pressure? Justin mentioned that he could not get the thought of becoming world #1 out of his head at the WGC Dell Technologies Match Play. He is playing better than anybody and if the thought is gone he will win!

Experienced golfers seem to always make a showing each year! Bernard, Jose and Freddie have the knowledge of how to win.  I have to say the winner will not that experienced.

Jordan Spieth is another golfer that has the chance to achieve the career grand slam this year if he wins the PGA Championship.  Jordan has not won since the British Open last year as the pressure of a calendar grand slam was thrust upon him.  He seems to have alot of “mental clutter” in his game right now and is not playing well enough to win this week.

Sergio Garcia is the defending champion which put him in a situation that few have been able to accomplish, defending the green jacket, which has not been done since 2002 and only 3 times since 1934.  Only 5 have done it which will remain this time around again.  The demand of being the defending champion this week is more than most can handle, too many “duties” that Sergio has not experienced at the Masters before.  No top 10 finish this year.

Phil Mickelson won in Mexico and stated that the other 3 times he won the Masters he had won an event prior to going to Augusta.  Phil had not won for quite some time so the mental challenge of dealing with the emotions coming down the stretch are corralled. Phil finished top 10 but no win.

Bubba Watson has won twice in his last 4 starts.  This course fits his crazy eye as he sees the course differently than others.  Bubba can win his 3rd! He will be in the hunt on sunday.

Matt Kuchar has not won a major yet!  He is a fan favorite probably wanting the win more than anybody except maybe Rickie Fowler.  Both play well and finish top 10 or 15 but no win.

Ian Poulter is the last man to be entered into the tournament with his win last week in Houston.  Only 5 times has the winner of the event the week before gone on to wear the green jacket.  He has the most momentum going in but has stated he is tired.  No win.

The Winner is… JUSTIN THOMAS or BUBBA or Phil or Ian!!!!  Enjoy the 2018 Masters Golf Tournament! 

Thank you Mr. Robert Tyre Jones III for the greatest event in golf at the greatest golf course in the world.  Thank you for preserving the integrity of golf with your foresight so many years ago.  May your wish come true with an amatuer winner in 2018!

Good Golfing!

JB

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