From Tiger to Boom-Boom, Lefty and the Shark, storylines in 2009 Masters at Augusta National abound
More than any year I can remember in recent memory, the 2009 Masters has a slew of story lines to watch for as they tee it up tomorrow morning at Augusta National.
Why it feels like a bigger deal than normal to this year, and why I’m going to be on the couch all weekend watching the action:
Phil Mickelson is coming off a big win at the World Golf Championships at Doral, giving him two wins already this season. I have a gut feeling like he’ll either win or miss the cut. We all know Lefty has no middle ground.
Tiger Woods has had this tournament circled on the calendar since hanging it up after the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines. Last year at The Masters, he couldn’t make a charge from behind on Sunday to catch Trevor Immelman, missing a few bunny putts along the way. But we know he’ll be in the Top 10 this Sunday…
Throwbacks from the early 1990s, Greg Norman and Fred Couples are back and playing well. Both were in the mix on Sunday in Houston this past week.
On the flip side, Rory McIlroy is making his first appearance, and I get the feeling he could do some damage. In fact, he’s one three teens in the field this week. History tells us that first-timers to Augusta generally don’t make the cut, but McIlroy is no ordinary player.
The Paddy Slam? Doubt it, but I’d like to see him be a factor at some point during the week to get some serious buzz going.
But one of the angles I’m most curious about this year is the golf course itself. Last week, it was announced that Golf Digest named it the No. 1 course in America, dethroning Pine Valley. The announcement has drawn a lot of criticism in a lot of golf circles, and I don’t blame them. First off, in an age of environmental sensitivity, Augusta National isn’t exactly a great role model, given it’s tremendous conditioning efforts. Also, thanks to course Tiger-proofing over the years, it has seemingly taken a few years off on Sunday and the back nine seems like it just can’t be torn up like it used anymore. Everyone wants the roars restored on the backside. We’ll see if the weather cooperates and the course set up is just a touch easier.
That said, who’s my prediction to win? Well, since I said last year that Sergio Garcia would win a major before he turns 30, and he turns 30 at the end of the year, I am thus picking him to win every single major this season. In fact, I’m going to pick Sergio to win every single major for the rest of his career until he wins one.
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