It’s Masters Week!

Once again, it’s Masters Week, the unofficial beginning of the year for golfers.  The tournament begins tomorrow and several of the top players are in good form.  Anything at all can happen, however, in this very unpredictable first major of 2013.

Phil Mickelson was on his way to winning it last year when a triple bogey on the par-3 fourth hole derailed him.  Will he redeem himself this year?  I like his chances, especially because the newer technology favors left-handers at Augusta.  Righties need to draw the ball on several key holes, but the newer technology makes it more difficult to do that, whereas lefties can hit power-fades more easily.  Is it any wonder that lefties have won five Masters in the last decade?

Tiger Woods has returned to the top of the world rankings, but hasn’t won a major since the U.S. Open in 2008 (nor the Masters since 2005).  He always plays well here, but his putting has let him down in recent years.  He seems to have it figured out, but we’ll see if he can add to his majors total and further his pursuit of Jack Nicklaus’s record of 18 professional titles.  I’ve argued here and here that he won’t get there, though it’s hard to believe he won’t win some more before he’s done.

At the end of last year, Rory McIlroy seemed poised to dominate golf for the foreseeable future, but then he switched his clubs and hasn’t been the same since.  He nearly won last week, so he, too, seems set for a good run at yet another major championship title.

Of course, there are plenty of other players who’ll have a say in how things go, and we just may end up with a completely unpredictable champion.  I’ve got loads to catch up on after several very busy weeks, but I’ll be keeping a close eye on things beginning tomorrow.

12 thoughts on “It’s Masters Week!

  1. Laurence Angell

    Please don’t forget that BASEBALL season has also started. Play Ball! For a 79 year old who grew up with baseball (my parents listened on the radio to most Chicago White Sox games and many others – no TV then in the 1940’s) I really enjoy watching as many games as my TV will show me. I can’t afford the pay stations. And there are many devout baseball players. Some put their testimonies on Facebook and other media.

    But swing away, Tim, with your funny looking clubs! Give me a bat any day! But I do watch some golf on TV if I can stay awake! Ha!

    I grew up in Rockford, Illinois where the ladies team “the Peaches” played. I saw many of their games. The stadium they played in is now being restored thanks to the movie about them.

    1. timgombis

      Wow, that’s quite a history, Laurence! The start of the season was indeed cause for great rejoicing around here, too. I grew up watching the Cubs and hating the Sox (sorry!). Baseball was my favorite sport until high school when I took up golf. They’re both passions for me now, though I can still play golf! Though I must add that one of my proudest moments was being on the championship intramural softball team a few years ago–a team of older faculty beat all the undergrads!

  2. John Duffy

    Finally a serious post.

    I have to go with Tiger. I saw an article recently that revealed something that I had unconsciously sensed: his putting at the Masters has been horrible since 2005, over 30 putts per round. Even so, he was in the top ten every year since then until last year. It’s fun to contemplate what kind of tournament he can have if he takes his recent putting success to Augusta this weekend.

      1. John Duffy

        I didn’t know that he played “chump tournaments”. Your point is taken, however. There’s a world of difference between a major and any other tournament, especially in Tiger’s eyes.

      2. timgombis

        It may be unfair to call them that, but over the last few years, he’s had little problem with nerves at non-majors. The weekends at majors, however, have been a problem. He’s had trouble hitting fairways (his driver has always been his bane), and his putting hasn’t showed up. If there’s a slight flaw in his driving, he’ll be fine at Augusta, where it’s all about recovery. A slight flaw in his putting, though, will definitely show up, though. It’s going to be fun!

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