Here are a few thoughts on The Masters in no particular order:
Fred! A Couples victory at The Masters would be the biggest story in golf in many years. Unfortunately, it is not realistic. Couples’ back is his Achilles Heel and I think it unlikely he can hold it together for two more rounds. On the other hand, Couples look as though he’s enjoying himself thoroughly, and from outward appearances is pain free.
Fred can win by playing old man golf. Hit it safely in the fairway, then hit it safely to the green. Let the other guys play out of the woods.
I’m going to quote Nick Faldo: “Tiger has lost his game and his mind.” I understand that Tiger’s frustrated with his game, but punting a club is not good. Not even the people who regularly accuse me of being a Tiger “hater” can defend him there.
Tiger’s still not out of it mathematically—a couple of 65 rounds could win it for him, assuming that no one else matches the feat.
Hope for Tiger and his fans: In 1956, Jack Burke, Jr. came from eight strokes back to edge amateur Ken Venturi for the Green Jacket. But eight shots back is not his problem. He could overcome that. The problem is that he needs 40 other guys to not match his efforts.
Interesting thought. The 1956 Masters was the last without a cut.
Tiger should go back to Hank Haney, hat in hand and beg to become his student once again. I think that when Tiger’s golfing epitaph is written, people will wonder just how much greater he could have been (even if he break’s Jack’s record) but for his quixotic obsession with perfecting the golf swing at the expense of winning. He won big under Harmon, then lost a couple of years readjusting to Haney. He won big under Haney ,then he lost a couple of years to the personal issues and now the readjustment to Foley. I think he ultimately will abandon Foley and move on again, perhaps coaching himself for a while before setting on yet another teacher. But enough of Tiger.
I said it after the first round, and it is also true after the second: This Masters is living up to the billing. Within six shots of leaders Couples and Jason Duffner is an impressive list: Bubba Watson, Sergio Garcia, Rory McIlroy, Louis Oosthuizen, Lee Westwood, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Matt Kuchar, Paul Lawrie, Nick Watney, Henrick Stenson, Aaron Baddeley, Peter Hanson, Phil Mickelson, Vijay Singh, Ben Crane, Charles Howell, Gary Woodland, Jim Furyk, YE Yang, Jonathan Byrd, Sean O’hair, Francesco Molinari, Justin Rose, Padraig Harrington, Hunter Majan, Frederik Jacobson, Ian Poulter and Zach Johnson. There’s not a single “who?” on the list. Each and every one of these guys can win the tournament.
As much as I like Phil, I don’t get the sense that this is his year. But I think he’ll make it interesting. He’s certainly trending in the right direction.
I don’t think Dufner is going to win, either.
The scoring is not as low as Phil predicted. Not even close.
I can’t wait for Saturdays’ coverage to begin.