Previewing The Masters
April 7, 2014
By Dan Daly
Editor's Note: Be sure to follow @_DanDaly on Twitter this golf season for his off-the-cuff remarks and entertaining commentary!
Hello friends, and welcome to the greatest week of the calendar year. The azaleas are in full bloom, the pine needles are in place, the magnolias are spectacular, JD is set up in the Hooter's parking lot on Washington Ave. and we have a perfect week of weather on tap at Augusta National Golf Club. And as always, with the help of their sponsors, Augusta National and CBS will continue to bring us 56 minutes of every hour of golf coverage.
The major story from this past week is who won't be playing in the Masters. In my 2014 PGA preview I said Tiger and Rory would battle it out come the weekend with Tiger beating Rory in one of the more memorable Masters of all-time. I would obviously like to take "back" that statement. (Did you see what I did there? Very clever.) Keep in mind, Tiger won a US Open with a fuc*ing broken leg, so if he can't even tee it up using the Bud Kilmer approach this week, his back is much worse than anyone thought. I honestly didn't think I would see the day Tiger missed a Masters before his 65th Birthday. I think his chase of Jack's record was the most interesting record chase in sports; to see it basically come to an end like this is really sad for the game of golf.
Just so I'm clear, Tiger now misses the Masters for the first time in 20 years on the heels of Lindsay Vonn missing the Olympics? Is it just me or is anyone else thinking Elin really knows her way around voodoo dolls?
As for the guys actually teeing it up this week, the million dollar question is…who wins? Lucky for you I have that covered. Dustin Johnson (15/1) - I'm rooting for DJ this week just so my fantasy of pictures of Paulina in nothing but the green jacket might come true! He has definitely been playing good enough this year to win this week but his poor performance in Houston leaves me a little bit concerned that his fiancé's recent publicity may have gotten in his head at the wrong time.
Jason Day (15/1): Day will be the cliché pick this week. He will contend but he won't win.
Phil FIGJAM Mickelson (15/1): You remember when you were under age and came home drunk, but the second you saw your parents your adrenaline kicked in and you instantly sobered up for a brief moment to be able to speak to them. Well, that's Mickelson at Augusta. The second he drives down Magnolia lane his adrenaline will kick in and his back pain will briefly go away. Problem was, you were still drunk and I think Mickelson will be fine the first round or even two but come the weekend his back pain will keep him from winning in 2014.
Bubba Watson (25/1): I think it's pretty obvious that his allergies are a major concern this week after the WD at Bay Hill. Or was it the 83 that was concerning? I'm confused, but either way Bubba isn't winning again in 2014.
Adam Scott (10/1): Tee to green and life in general, there is no one in the field better than Adam Scott this week. However watching his putter meltdown at Bay Hill a few weeks ago, I just don't think it will hold up for four days.
Luke Donald (50/1): As long as they make Luke Donald play the back tees during the Masters this is one tournament he will never win.
Brandt Snedeker (25/1): There is no one in the field that wants the green jacket more than Sneds. Problem is it keeps working against him. The second he gets into contention here he starts thinking too much and it leads to final round mental meltdowns. I really want him to win sooner than later but it won't happen until he calms down over the weekend.
Jim Furyk (75/1): Look, even if he is in contention come Sunday I think we all know how that story ends.
Matt Kuchar (25/1): Dude, if you can't win in San Antonio when the whole leaderboard collapses or close it out in Houston with a huge lead, I'm not sure Augusta is the best place for you to pick up a win right now. On that note, congrats to Matt Jones on punching his ticket into The Masters…by chipping in…in a playoff…after being down by 7 strokes. I'm guessing that didn't suck.
Lee Westwood (50/1): LOL, just kidding…this is still considered a major right?
Angel Cabrera (60/1): The anti-Lee Westwood. This guy only shows up in majors. As long as they play the Masters the Duck has a chance. He's obviously a long shot at 60/1, but with those odds how can you not take the Duck?
Patrick Reed (50/1): How can you not take a top 5 player in the world at 50/1? Wait, what's that? Reed isn't a top 5 player in the world? But, he said….
Henrik Stenson (22/1): Stenson actually is a top 5 player in the world, but when you are hitting hosel rockets with your wedge, Augusta is not going to treat you kindly.
Sergio Garcia (30/1): Might as well be 3,000,000/1. He certainly has the game right now but Sergio sealed his fate forever at Augusta in 2009 when he said, "I don't like it, to tell you the truth. I don't think it's fair. It's too tricky. Even when it's dry you still get mud balls in the middle of the fairway. It's too much of a guessing game. They can do whatever they want. It's not my problem. I just come here and play and then go home." Yeah, you can't say that at Augusta. Billy Payne, Hootie Johnson and Bobby Jones will never allow him to win a Masters…ever.
Rory McIlroy (8/1): The favorite this week in Vegas and with all the "experts". Lord knows he has the game to do it, and quite frankly should already have a green jacket, but that's the problem. Make no mistake, he will be in the mix come Sunday but the demons that still loom in his head when he makes the turn Sunday afternoon may never go away. I hope they do, but just ask Greg Norman about that.
Jordan Spieth (20/1): Someone soon enough is going to win in their first trip around Augusta. Nothing would surprise me less or make me happier than if it was Jordan this week. His problem continues to be the one blow up round each tournament…he can't have one at Augusta and still win the Green Jacket.
And your 2014 Masters Champion is…
Harris English (50/1): As I just said, a first timer will win here sooner than later. I think Harris English is the man to break the 35 year old streak. He's a long shot yes, but we have a #7 seed playing an #8 seed in the NCAA Championship, so why not. He grew up in Georgia, went to UGA, would make for an incredible story, hits it a mile, is extremely patient and above all else I have a gut feeling about him this week and I have a big gut. I've hit one long shot each of the last two years, Els in the 2012 British and Dufner in 2013 PGA, English is my golden ticket this year. You can thank me later.
As always, for the annual 'Twas the Night before the Masters Poem.
A quick non Masters related note; it appears Golf Digest has caught on to what I have been selling on the Weekly Waggle for a while now and put Paulina Gretzky on the cover. Well done Golf Digest, well done. The PC shit storm that has come with it has been amazing to me. If it wasn't Masters week I would be all over that, but The Masters trumps all so I am saving that article for a couple of weeks.
Finally, regarding the Drive, Chip and Putt competition at Augusta. I wanted to call out a certain 11-year old on one of the cockier comments I have heard since Patrick Reed's last interview, but my wife wouldn't let me. So let's just say the D, C & P competition officially has its version of FIGJAM.
With that said, what a cool event, I really hope they keep it around long enough for my 10-month old to enter in 7 years. I had her hitting high draws with a driver and flop shots with a lob wedge in the back yard as soon it was over. It's never too early to practice.
Happy Masters Week to Everyone!
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