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.