Monday, April 12
13 Things We Still Know After the Masters
1. Augusta National produces the most excitement in golf. The risk-reward holes and resulting roars keep people tuning in to the Masters year after year to see who will win the Green Jacket. Often it’s in doubt until the 72nd hole.
2. Phil is going for it. That shot (above) off the pine straw through the trees over the water on 13? A Phil special. Bones was against it. Butch was against it. Millions of fans were probably trying to talk some sense to Phil through their TVs. “Lay up, Phil. Just lay up.” Phil’s NOT laying up. The 207-yard 6-iron was a gutsy and brilliant play that turned things in his favor.
3. Tiger will contend no matter what. Five months off, bailing-wire swing, Buddha bracelet—it does not matter. Tiger will find a way to be in contention, especially at Augusta. No one scores better on an off day than Tiger.
4. Lee Westwood is ready to win his first major. Unfortunately, for Lee, still ready.
5. Jack has more Green Jackets. Arnie has more fans. The dynamic duo of ceremonial starters, Arnie is still the beloved. Jack is the respected one. During the eight years from 1958 to 1966, Arnie and Jack won six Masters.
6. Some old-guy champion is going to climb onto the leaderboard. Tom Watson and Fred Couples, for example. Before them, Ben Crenshaw and Jack Nicklaus.
7. Billy Payne and Masters brass will say and do what they want. Leave it to Payne to make harsh comments about Tiger that others have thought but been reluctant to say. Don’t like it? Too bad. The Masters men speak their minds and run their club and golf tournament as they see fit.
8. The patrons will behave themselves. Or they will have their passes rescinded. Don’t even think about heckling Tiger or another player. You are in “church.”
9. CBS will use Masters vocabulary and reverent tones. At times their Masters-restrained commentary will sound just plain goofy.
10. Bobby Jones will be quoted ad nauseam. Bobby Jones this. Bobby Jones that. The five-and-a-half inch course quote will appear everywhere. I’ll be guilty of it.
11. Augusta is the Fountain of Youth for Fred Couples. Freddie will make the cut (he almost always does) and shoot a good score or two. He might even trick you, me and most of the golf world into thinking he can win it again.
12. Tiger is not a gracious loser. If he fails to win, he will not dress up and put lipstick on his bitter disappointment. He hates it, pure and simple. He will not smile. He will not congratulate the winner. It’s not in his DNA—or part of his therapy.
13. John Daly will be at the Masters. Outside the gates on Washington Road.
−The Armchair Golfer