I’ve had so many close calls this year that I no longer think about how I might celebrate in this space if an outright pick wins. I did, though, until pretty recently. When Bob Estes had a great chance to win a few weeks ago I’d started to write in my mind: Bob (T)Estes, you are the man! And so on. There would have been a lot of Bob Estes and exclamation points.
Estes was long odds and would have gotten me back on track in a big way, so you can understand how stoked I would have been if he won. If you’ve been following this space or following golf, you know he didn’t win. He finished in the top-10, which is kissing your sister in golf handicapping.
Estes finished T6 last week, his third top-10 this year, which was six spots behind Zach Johnson, who won the AT&T Classic in a playoff with Ryuji Imada. I picked ZJ in the head-to-head and outright.
It wasn’t an easy win. Beaf stew in the undies (sorry, but it’s tough to get away from the toilet humor and testicle talk once you start) when I watched Imada get up and down from the sand for birdie on No. 18 to tie Johnson, who’d made his birdie in the group before for the outright lead. Then on the playoff hole, also 18, Imada went slightly left, just in the rough, and after an inconclusive session on the therapist’s couch in his head, chose the ballsy approach and realized the Mickelsonian consequences of such a move. Splash.
Johnson, way down in the fairway from Imada, saw this but stuck with his game plan---going for the green in two after his perfect drive. He didn’t let Imada’s misfortunes change his approach after the great drive. That’s why the dude won the Masters: he makes up his mind and hits the ball. It’s strategic, never about big brass balls for the sake of it, but he’s going to be a poster boy nonetheless for those who don’t have brain size to match ball size. The difference is,Johnson has a plan. We saw that at Augusta. We saw it in Liverpool last year with Tiger. We see it a lot, in fact, in sports and life. Tiger and Johnson won conservatively, not bombastically. They won because they had smart plans and executed them.