Saturday, April 8, 2017

The intrigue of the Masters

After three rounds of play at the fabled Augusta National golf course, the leader board is as follows:

Sergio Garcia at 6 under par.
Justin Rose, also at 6 under.
Rickie Fowler checking in a shot back at minus 5.
Charley Hoffman, Ryan Moore, and Jordan Spieth one more back at minus 4.
Adam Scott at minus 3.

That's seven players and one need look no further as to who will don the green jacket this year.

A Spaniard, a Brit, and an America in the top 3, all world-class golfers, would seem to have a slight edge. They're not likely to choke under the pressure of final round play.

Charley Hoffman and Ryan Moore are maybes, but their collars will likely get a bit tight on the back nine on Sunday.

The Aussie Adam Scott can hardly be overlooked. He is absolutely capable of going low on Sunday to win this thing.

Jordan Spieth, at only 23 years old, is certainly well known and already among the best in the world.

Thing is, as mentioned in this space a couple days ago, dear Jordan somehow managed to absolutely butcher the par five 15th hole in his opening round into a whopping quadruple bogey 9.

Most every top professional considers par fives birdie holes. Par is something they settle for but usually aren't happy with.

Had Spieth only made a par on that one hole, instead of being two shots back at -4, he'd be two shots clear of the field at -8. This is not to count him out by any means, but like the 12th hold did him in last year in the final round, another quadruple bogey (and he still finished second), if he comes up one or two strokes short this year, he'll know exactly how, when, and why.

Given the above mentioned players and their scores, chances are slim to none anybody else in the field can pass them all by. True, somebody might go crazy and shoot a 63, but given the typical pin positions on a Sunday at Augusta, plus the pressure -- nah -- ain't gonna happen.

At least one of these guys, and maybe two or three, are going to shoot 3 or 4 under on Sunday. Especially given the weather conditions are supposed to be ideal.

Anybody more than 4 shots back to start the day is merely playing for a paycheck, not a championship.

It's a total crap shoot trying to figure out which of these players will rise to the occasion in the final round.

And wouldn't it be something if Jordan Spieth was able to overcome that quadruple on Thursday to win it after all? Could happen.

The best thing about this Masters so far? No Tiger Woods and the bazillion former highlight reels the public is force fed that typically come along with him anytime he shows up to play a tournament.

Very refreshing indeed.

There were those that said golf NEEDED Eldrick.

They were wrong. Given the world class players that keep popping up from all over the globe, the game has never been better and more exciting.

There's certainly something to be said regarding the current lack of profanity, club pounding/throwing, and on-course arrogance once exhibited by yon Eldrick and his former caddie Steve. "Out of our ways, peasants. Don't you know how to act when in the presence of royalty?"

Once again, it has become a gentlemen's game, with a touch of humility thrown in as well.

And it probably doesn't hurt that we haven't heard a peep about serial wife-cheaters on tour either in the last few years.

Imagine that.....

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