Sunday, December 4 2016

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TEED OFF

Update: March, 12/2016 - 00:23
 

Robert Bicknell

I really wish I had speech to text software because typing with one hand is becoming a huge pain in the posterior, ie, the back of my front. Yes, the butt.

That’s an interesting saying which I have never been able to truly understand. How can something which doesn’t physically interact with your gluteus maximus actually be a “pain in the butt?” Sometimes English makes no sense at all, yet it is the international language of air traffic control, which is frightening as well.

That said, the Masters is slowly creeping up on us and, as usual, pundits have been picking their favourites based on whatever criteria supports their unspoken, yet obvious, bias.

However, this is also the first Masters where Tiger Woods isn’t even mentioned – except in regards to past winners, broken records and whenever a columnist needs to fill space because they cannot think of anything else.

If you read the magazines, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy are the co-favourites to win (Las Vegas odds: 13/2) a green jacket this year.

Believe it or not, I have trouble seeing Rory as a co-leader, except where the odds-makers want to cover their posteriors (Hmm, again that word pops up) in case he does get hot again.

Over the last eight rounds, Spieth has been the most consistent at Augusta National with a scoring average of 69.13 and tied Tiger Woods scoring record of 18-under par total in 2015, so he’s gotta be the favourite in my book.

Rory, on the other hand, has six rounds of 76 or higher at Augusta over the last six years, including a final round 80 in 2011 where he blew a four stroke lead to finish tied for 15th. Yes, he was the 54-hole leader before the meltdown and his career best at the Masters is fourth place.

Not exactly what I would consider a favourite – despite his obvious talent otherwise.

Phil Mickelson’s odds are 15-1, but his age (45) is against him. Only two players older than him have won majors and one is Jack Nicklaus who did it, coincidentally enough at the 1986 Masters. Besides, he has two green jackets already (one with Krispy Kreme stains on it).

How about Adam Scott?

Well, Vegas puts him at 10-1, which is pretty good and we cannot discount that he won a green jacket in 2013 and was a runner-up in 2011. The question is how he will putt on Augusta’s lightning fast greens now that he’s gone back to conventional style putting now that anchor putting is verboten.

To be fair, Scott has been playing fantastic golf in 2016 with back to back wins on very difficult courses and a runner-up at Riviera before that. Honestly, with his experience and if he stays hot, we could see a hell of a duel between Scott and Spieth come Master’s Sunday.

Bubba Watson is always dangerous at Augusta with two wins (2012, 2014) and has ten Top 10’s in 2015 despite only playing in 19 events. Unfortunately, Bubba is also prone to self-destruct in epic fashion at Augusta as well (T-38 twice, 42nd and a T-50). It will be fun to see what happens.

Rickie Fowler is yet another player who could be great, but puts too much pressure on himself. Either that or he keeps getting blinded by his outfits.

Fowler has a lot of game and is a consistent putter. He’s improved his driving and irons, but he still needs a major under his belt (No, that win at the 2015 Player’s Championship isn’t considered a “major” although many argue it should be).

If he keeps his head on straight, he’s got a legitimate chance to finally break through.

Jason Day is another player who seems to love Augusta with tie for 2nd in 2011 and a solo 3rd place finish in 2013. He already has one major under his belt with the 2015 PGA Championship. Vegas has him at 12-1, but since 2013 he hasn’t placed better than 20th at Augusta and he isn’t displaying the same form as he did in 2015.

Everyone has their favourites and that’s what makes sports fun to argue about. But this year, I’d put my money on Jordan Spieth or Adam Scott. VNS

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