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PGA Tour: HE'S BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The Masters: Notes from the Ballwasher

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PGA Tour: HE'S BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The Masters: Notes from the Ballwasher Empty PGA Tour: HE'S BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The Masters: Notes from the Ballwasher

Post by kwinigolfer Tue Apr 09, 2013 3:34 pm

1).Martin Laird of course; you didn't think I was talking about the guy who's on the cover of every golf magazine and even some others did you? Or even that young Northern Irishman we've heard so much about?

No, Martin Laird's fantastic final round last Sunday in San Antonio not only stuck two fingers through the Ballwasher who doubted his resolve after a dismal nine-month spell. But also earned a ticket to Augusta National and finds himself in the "long shot, stranger things have happened, but not many" category for The Masters. More on that later.

2).The TPC San Antonio, ("Greg Norman designs golf courses to test professional golfers, not to please professional golfers," said Padraig Harrington), certainly looked much easier on the eye than in years past and it seemed that most pros who turned up enjoyed their week; some will hopefully even be back.
But play was dreadfully slow and one young American is just another guilty party who I hadn't spotted before. Daniel Summerhays, good lord, how long does it take you to hit the golf ball? Summerhays seemed to turn to Winterhays during some of his pre-shot routines.

3).And, while our thoughts turn to Magnolia Drive, our annual word in tribute to the Welshman from Bangor, Errie Ball, who played in the first Masters and is still alive today, hopefully to tell the tale, at 102.

4).Billy Payne has two new members this year, one who's just gone up one rung, presumably, on the list of the World's most evil women, the other who got her invite the old-fashioned way, thru' connections. (Have a personal interest in Darla Moore's richly endowed University of South Carolina's Moore School Of Business, so pleased to see her being honoured with a membership.)

5).With McIlroy and Woods striking form, I'd say this Masters, more than most, is almost certain to go to a favourite if, not necessarily, THE favourite. So let's look at some long shots and the owgr Top 25 for a form guide, with all the usual biases of course:

"Long shots, stranger things have happened, but not many":

#269: Angel Cabrera: You may think there's more chance of him attending Thatcher's funeral but, hey, this man hasn't forgotten how to play the game, he's physically fitter, has shown glimpses of form, and knows how to win - and how many can say that?

#56: Well, Martin Laird certainly can! 20th first time around Augusta, 50-something last year, but if he can putt like last week who knows? He hits the ball perfectly for the course, but it will be all about course management and his short game for Martin. The Laird of San Antonio with 22 Sunday putts, or the Laird of Florida when he took eight 3-putts each at Bay Hill and Tampa?

#41: Henrik Stenson: Eccentric as ever but plenty long enough and can putt well. On my e.w. list at 75/1.

#38: Scott Piercy: Thinks he's the best golfer the world has ever seen. Still seething at the perceived injustice of not being interviewed on TV after his demolition of Luke Donald at the MatchPlay. The favourite, in his eyes anyway, and don't you dare discount his chances!

6).21 - 25:
#25: Furyk: Planning to attack Augusta with two drivers but hasn't done better than 4th here and not likely to this week.

#24: Els: Terrible year so far, seems to have lost confidence just when he needs it most.

#23: Watney: Jekyll and Hyde, Would love to see him take the proverbial next step but don't see it this week.

#22: Hanson: 3rd last year but in much better form coming in than this year's version. Wouldn't count him out completely, top ten material.

#21: Mahan: A couple of Masters' top tens under his belt, but something's been missing this past year and I can't see him finding it at Augusta.

7).16 - 20:
#20: Simpson: His US Open win apart, hasn't really had that great a last 18 months. Can't see it improving here.

#19: Dustin Johnson: Augusta National is made for Dustin - no par 5's here for him, but nothing inside the Top 30 here yet, and his dodgy short game will frustrate him again this week.

#18: Dufner: Good start a year ago but faded. If his Dufnering pic's are anything to go by he's still asleep.

#17: McDowell: Top 15 material, doesn't fancy some of the tee shots here and, until he does, can't see him contending.

#16: Garcia: This place frustrates the sh1t out of him. Shame, might get close, but not close enough.

8).11 - 15:
#15: Schwartzel: 2011 winner and no reason to think he can't win another one. Except none of the five South African Major (and Players) winners these past eight years have won since on the PGA Tour. Top three candidate.

#14: Bubba Watson: It's all about his emotions - I fancy a left-hander but perhaps not this one.

#13: Westwood: Nope, not this year, Lee, not until your short game and your long game are on the same page. But, if he can somehow be -10 on the par fives, he'll be right there. Nah.

#12: Poulter: Would love to see Poults win a Biggie but reckon Augusta National is too long for him, too much pressure on his mid and long irons. Top 15 though.

#11: Bradley: Lots of top tens this year and may score another one. Plenty long enough but can't see that short game winning a Green Jacket.

9).6 - 10:
#10: Kuchar: 3rd last year, plods along with that inane-looking, sh1t-eating grin of his and, hey presto, he's right there. Top 5 perhaps, but Green Jacket? Perhaps not, e.w. value though at 33/1 or 40's.

#9: Mickelson: My choice last year and should've, would've and certainly could've . . . . Those triple bogeys did him in. My idea of the man to beat, not scared to win and probably doesn't want it so manically much as Number One.

#8: Stricker: Says he's "still trying to figure out Augusta". I bracket him with Poults, his long game puts too much pressure on his world-class short game; top 20 probable but can't see him in the shake-up.

#7: Scott: No form to speak of this season; plays a bizarre schedule and who knows if he's up for this? Not worth the risk.

#6: Oosthuizen: Difficult for me to separate the two South African Kings: He was devastated by last year's play-off defeat, but can he bounce back? Sh1t or bust I'd think - at his best a sure-fire contender.

10).1 - 5:
#5: Snedeker: Has been out injured for most of the past two months, no cuts made since his early season super form. Certainly has the game, but feel he's still slightly under-cooked for this week. The Sneds of the past year a certain Major winner - just not this week.

#4: Donald: No form for ages. The 2011 model Luke would be a contender anywhere, but not the short-and-crooked version of years ago which has made an unwelcome return - might get away with it at Hilton Head but not 150 miles up the road at Augusta.

#3: Rose: Which Justin will we see? The winner at such top courses as Aronomink and Muirfield Village, or the strutter who flatters only to deceive, but then burns up the final nine holes for a back-door podium finish? Until he can prove that he won't wilt when the heat turns up, I'd have him down as a likely top tenner, not a winner.

#2: And then there's Rory. If his confidence right now was as high as Scott Piercy's I'd ink him in to his first Green Jacket, but his driver left him a bit last Sunday and he won't be "back" until he's back. Not many would be surprised to see him win; me neither, but perhaps not this year.

#1: Tiger: The only person who can beat Tiger is Tiger, and his ambition and anxiety to earn his next Major. Until he does it, I'd bet against him and gamble that Tiger will beat Tiger. As we saw at Bay Hill, though, the old intimidation factor is back and, if he putts like he did in Orlando and hits 60% of the fairways, he'll win this. For me, I'd bet the field against him.


Can't wait though, although we'll have to put up with the unctuous, over-reverential tones of CBS - would be nice to think they'll have a commentator under the age of 50, a breath of fresh air so sorely needed, but no chance of that. The weather should have the course in perfect condition, but there's a chance of severe storms Thursday p.m. into Friday, after which the sun will shine.

I fancy Phil to win, but Bones (perhaps the only born-in-Britain winner this year?) has to keep him focussed. Reckon Louis and Charl will be right there and fancy Kuchar as best outsider, Stenson best complete long-shot.



Last edited by kwinigolfer on Tue Apr 09, 2013 7:11 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by NedB-H Tue Apr 09, 2013 4:15 pm

Fanastic as always Kwini. "Stuck two fingers through the ballwasher" Laugh Not sure whether that's supposed painful or enjoyable...

One question though - where did you get Stenson at 75s e/w? Makes me look daft for the couple of quid I put down on him e/w last night at 40s. Also got BVP at 5/1 for a top-10, steadier than anyone else the past two years and plays well round Augusta. And F-Castano e/w at 200s, for no other reason than a top 30 player in decent form shouldn't be at those odds.
But who's gonna win? I don't want him to, but I expect Tiger to.

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Post by kwinigolfer Tue Apr 09, 2013 4:31 pm

Cheers Ned,
I wrote down a bunch of prices across half a dozen sites last week and there was at least one 75/1; best I can see now is 66/1 at William Hill, 60/1 at Paddy Power . . . .

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Post by NedB-H Tue Apr 09, 2013 4:43 pm

I knew my loyalty towards Coral was misplaced. On closer inspection, I'm also only getting 5 places on the e/w, while Paddy Power are offering 6...

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Post by kwinigolfer Tue Apr 09, 2013 5:18 pm

Masters groupings, somewhat illiterately called "pairings" by Billy Payne:

http://www.masters.com/en_US/players/pairings/index.html

Pick your group to "follow"! I'll go for Schwartzel, Hanson and Simpson, then Scott, Garcia and Cabrera.

Terrific to see Ishikawa's got a "marquee" grouping, with Rose and Sneds . . . .

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Post by pedro Tue Apr 09, 2013 5:59 pm

Cheers kwin,
I'd go for Group 1, followed by the Gay Mize.
These days I'm sure the catholic church would label the Crenshaw-Mannessero-Guan group for "inappropriate".

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Post by sirbenson Tue Apr 09, 2013 7:43 pm

Pumped for the years first major. Hoping Padraig can get into contention!!!

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Post by JPX Tue Apr 09, 2013 8:24 pm

Lets hope the golf season actually gets interesting now, been a total borefest lately, when did the European Tour re-invent itself as the South African Tour ? laffable.

Anyway, sirbenson, here's hoping Harrington doesn't get into contention Smile

Oosthuizen is my bet. Get ON!

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Post by navyblueshorts Tue Apr 09, 2013 9:56 pm

Good read as usual Kwini.

Saw an interesting comment re. Mickleson on Beeb (http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/golf/22079395) about him using a small-headed driver with 3-wood technology - a "Phrankenwood" believe it or not.
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Post by sirbenson Tue Apr 09, 2013 10:33 pm

Btw Kwini super article as ever.

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Post by kwinigolfer Wed Apr 10, 2013 12:34 am

Cheers chaps,
Yup, Phrankenwood is right!
Also Stockton has fixed him up with an oversized grip on his putter.
Reckon all that makes Phil a banker!

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Post by ralphjohn69 Wed Apr 10, 2013 12:39 am

If you swap the b with a w in the last word then I reckon you're right kwini! Wink

Oosty or Jason Day are my picks incidentally...

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Post by kwinigolfer Wed Apr 10, 2013 1:27 am

ralph,
Others will use even more derogatory terms! thumbsup

Not sure what to make of Jason Day; was a big admirer when he was very young but whether it's believing his own publicity or what, he just doesn't seem quite the player he promised to be. Still only one Tour win over here. (One more than Louis, I suppose, but he seems to carry the big threat whenever he gets in to contention. Hope this week is no exception.)

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Post by WillyGilly Wed Apr 10, 2013 5:31 am

Bubba an emotional wreck in his news conference there. I'd fear for his safety is he actually retains the green jacket. FYI I'm liking Uncle Phil for Sunday evening also, there I said it.
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Post by Sheldo25 Wed Apr 10, 2013 8:53 am

If Tiger's in the lead on Sunday I think all others will wilt away, possibly Phil the Mick can stand up to him, but I'm not sure anyone else can.

However, if Tiger is in the mix but not leading into the back nine I'd not expect him to win; unless he's second and Westwood's the leader...........that's just my pessimism talking, come on Lee!

Great read as ever Kwini

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Post by gaelgowfer Wed Apr 10, 2013 9:29 am

WillyGilly wrote:Bubba an emotional wreck in his news conference there. I'd fear for his safety is he actually retains the green jacket. FYI I'm liking Uncle Phil for Sunday evening also, there I said it.

Never mind Blubba; wot about Monty's catty reaction. Not only did he think it inappropriate to be blubbing one year after the event but he even said he thought he was lucky to win!

Bet Monty wishes he'd been as lucky when he blew his chances to win the US Open!


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Post by gaelgowfer Wed Apr 10, 2013 9:34 am

Aren't there still some issues with Tiger Woods' driving?

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Post by beninho Wed Apr 10, 2013 10:24 am

I know its been mentioned that Tiger likes to win at the same venue, and this being noticeable since his "return". No win at Augusta since 2005 ( if i have read this right) so does this course not fall in to his current favored category?

I though have no idea of who will win. Golf is so open at the moment.

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Post by pedro Wed Apr 10, 2013 10:30 am

At lot of guys picking Sneds in our Masters comp. Agree he would be the man to beat a few months ago, but just coming back from injury and two MC's??

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Post by incontinentia Wed Apr 10, 2013 10:47 am

beninho wrote:I know its been mentioned that Tiger likes to win at the same venue, and this being noticeable since his "return". No win at Augusta since 2005 ( if i have read this right) so does this course not fall in to his current favored category?
Good question. He has had a few high finishes since 2005 so I don't think he has a problem with the course. However there's no doubt that the course doesnt suit him as well as it did before the racist hicks at augusta made changes to try and stop him from winning.
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Post by pedro Wed Apr 10, 2013 11:02 am

incon, do you see ghosts?

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Post by twoeightnine Wed Apr 10, 2013 11:24 am

Interesting about Phil and his 'phrankenwood'. When playing on Saturday we were wondering about this as one of us plays with an RBZ 3 wood with the 'speed pocket' slot and as it is not much shorter than the RBZ driver he has but much straighter we were wondering about a creation like that.

My argument was that when you lengthen the shaft you lose the accuracy and that at a lower level the shorter shaft allows you to hit the middle of the club more often so you would get the odd one out there but the average would be worse.

I do like the look of Stenson e/w at those odds following last week's Ballwasher. May stick a few quid on him.

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Post by kwinigolfer Wed Apr 10, 2013 11:26 am

Would actually have thought Tiger has brought worldwide millions (billions?) to Augusta National's coffers, so it would behoove them to make sure he wins once in a while . . . .

There's violent weather crossing the south this week, should be in the Augusta area late Thusday, but latest forecasts suggest it might not clobber Augusta until after entertainment concludes. Wouldn't be surprised to see Friday's play delayed . . . . . .

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Post by Skydriver Wed Apr 10, 2013 11:35 am

gaelgowfer wrote:Aren't there still some issues with Tiger Woods' driving?

Not that I know of since the fire hydrant incident...

Seriously, my perception is that he's worked hard and improved with the driver a fair bit over the last year or so (not so many of the massive hooks) - if nothing else, just to prove Hank Haney wrong...

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Post by incontinentia Wed Apr 10, 2013 11:39 am

pedro wrote:incon, do you see ghosts?
i have a sixth sense about these sort of things if thats what you mean, ever heard the term 'Tiger-proofing'?
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Post by kwinigolfer Wed Apr 10, 2013 12:00 pm

Bubba's menu had a main course of chicken, mashed potatoes and macaroni cheese.
Rumours are that most Champs ordered steak instead.
Oh Bubba!

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Post by sirbenson Wed Apr 10, 2013 12:03 pm

I wonder is this the year the PAR 3 curse is broken?

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Post by pedro Wed Apr 10, 2013 12:18 pm

incontinentia wrote:
pedro wrote:incon, do you see ghosts?
i have a sixth sense about these sort of things if thats what you mean, ever heard the term 'Tiger-proofing'?
Didn't "Tiger proofing" mean lengthening the course? Something that was popular ~10 years ago when Tiger outdrove almost everybody. Even Michael Jordan whined about that and also implied racism. But think about it: who does it favour to lengthen ("Tiger-proof") courses? Long hitters or short hitters? chin

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Post by incontinentia Wed Apr 10, 2013 12:48 pm

Weir/Johnson/Immelman, short hitters all. I don't see anyone trying to Bolt-proof the 100 metres, why does it happen in golf??
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Post by kwinigolfer Wed Apr 10, 2013 1:19 pm

Concensus seems to be this week that Augusta National favours the long hitters who impart beaucoup spin have a bigger advantage than ever, especially with the firmer greens the players were talking about yesterday.
That advantage (of the tee anyway) will become magnified if there's a bucketload of rain on Thursday night - 300 yard carries increasingly desirable.


Incidentally, GolfWorld reports that StubHub still had eleven tickets available for this week: lowest price on iffer: $3,325.00.

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Post by kwinigolfer Wed Apr 10, 2013 2:33 pm

Not often that golfers slag off The Masters but Marijuana-Matt Every and Redneck-Charlie Beljan both twittered their contempt for inviting amateurs. Typical of the two is that they advocated a free pass for the US Amateur Champion but not the Amateur Champ.

Sure they'll be received graciously when/if they finally get an invite.

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Post by navyblueshorts Wed Apr 10, 2013 2:47 pm

Pro golf certainly seems to have a higher than average % share of berks doesn't it?
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Post by beninho Wed Apr 10, 2013 3:01 pm

So which old champion will appear on the leaderboard during the first round, after a couple of early birdies before falling away. I would say Woosnam or Langer. -2 through 9 then +1 at the end.

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Post by kwinigolfer Wed Apr 10, 2013 3:36 pm

Would say the quality of golf from Couples and Langer over the past three years matches at least that of a third of the under-fifties in the field . . . .


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Post by Bob_the_Job Wed Apr 10, 2013 3:49 pm

incontinentia wrote:... I don't see anyone trying to Bolt-proof the 100 metres, why does it happen in golf??

Same reason golf has a handicap system. If Bolt turned up at your kid's school sports day, you might change your tune.
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Post by incontinentia Wed Apr 10, 2013 3:59 pm

Bob_the_Job wrote:
incontinentia wrote:... I don't see anyone trying to Bolt-proof the 100 metres, why does it happen in golf??

Same reason golf has a handicap system. If Bolt turned up at your kid's school sports day, you might change your tune.
pro golf doesnt have a handicap system, and shouldn't.
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Post by sirbenson Wed Apr 10, 2013 4:10 pm

Jay Coffin ‏@JayCoffinGC 29s
Billy Payne says that all PGA Tour winners (ALL) will qualify for the Masters. All former fall events.

Jay Coffin ‏@JayCoffinGC 1m
To make room for that space, now only the top 12, not top 16 from each year's Masters qualifies for the next year.

Top 4 from the U.S. Open (previously top 8) now qualify for the Masters.

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Post by sirbenson Wed Apr 10, 2013 4:15 pm

Masters also extends players making the cut from 44 and ties to low 50 and ties. Had been 44 making it to weekend since 1962.

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Post by kwinigolfer Wed Apr 10, 2013 4:42 pm

Some big changes there benson;
The ALL full-value FedEx winners cat had been let out of the bag, but the other two are brand new, to me anyway.

He's too thick, of course, to realise this could easily bring his field down smaller than he's traditionally said he wants, especially as some of the Ex-Champs will be going out to pasture with the multiple Faldo, Woods, Mickelson years to follow.

Could be south of 90 next year.

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Post by sirbenson Wed Apr 10, 2013 4:46 pm

So the only events on the PGA TOUR that won't qualify are events opposite WGC'S, so I presume winning in the HSBC WGC will get you in now?

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Post by kwinigolfer Wed Apr 10, 2013 4:51 pm

I think that's correct, presumably including the boondoggle in Malaysia.

But the only new faces this year would have been Blixt, Gainey and Beljan.
He's also losing the Publinx entrant in a year or so.

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Post by sirbenson Wed Apr 10, 2013 4:54 pm

Read on Augusta.Com that top 30 in the Money List will no longer get in as well.

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Post by kwinigolfer Wed Apr 10, 2013 5:13 pm

FedEx are wielding their sponsorship stick . . . . ., but that makes sense as the Tour season and FedEx season now conclude simultaneously.

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Post by sirbenson Wed Apr 10, 2013 5:23 pm

Surely they aren't changing the cut line from 44 to 50 this year.....Wouldn't it be too short notice?

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Post by kwinigolfer Wed Apr 10, 2013 5:38 pm

What difference should it make to the players?
Definitely starting this year:
"beginning this year, the Masters Tournament will increase its cut . . . . to 50 players and ties, plus those within 10 strokes of the leader (Westwood)".

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Post by sirbenson Wed Apr 10, 2013 5:43 pm

You are right, it give them a bit more of a chance to make the weekend as well if someone goes a bit ahead.....It is this year just read it on the Masters site.

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Post by princedracula Wed Apr 10, 2013 6:32 pm

Thanx, kwini clap

As usual, I hope a non-favourite will win this week, although I'd be surprised if that's gonna happen. Apart from the Irish lads (hoping Dunbar makes the cut), I'd hope there will be solid performances at least from some of the less fancied Europeans. I read that Colsaerts got some great insights about how to play each hole at Augusta from Jack himself over a lunch a few days ago and he feels suddenly much more confident. If things would be that easy... but I really hope he gets back to play some great golf. Although he clearly doesn't have all the necessary tools to deal with Augusta prperly, I'd be pretty sure that young Matteo will be well able to get a good result come Sunday if his long irons will work as brilliantly as I've seen him playing there 3 yesars ago. I'm in two minds about Jamie Donaldson, something tells me he could do quite well this week, although I haven't heard from him too much lately... Anybody heard anything from Olesen's camp, is he fully recovered after that car accident, I wonder? He would be another good bet if he's all right...

Otherwise, from the American contingent, I'm sticking with my begining of the year prediction that Kuchar could well grab a major this year.

Bubba with an ace today at the 16th, I could hear the roars from over here...

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Post by kwinigolfer Wed Apr 10, 2013 6:45 pm

Tks pd,
Heard that Olesen is still not fully fit (but not sure exactly what that means), Weir and Na among others still under doctor's orders.

I see Sweden doing best of the "continentals"!

If the promised storm comes through a bit early tomorrow, the late tee-times could be at a disadvantage - Kooch off last Sad

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Post by Shotrock Wed Apr 10, 2013 6:51 pm

One of the talking heads said it best (IMO):

Just a few guys here think they "should win" (Tiger, Rory, others?)

A larger number think they "could win" if a number of things go their way (Snedecker, Rose, DJ, etc...)

And an even larger group are happy to be part of the tournament.

Hope the weather holds up!

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Post by princedracula Wed Apr 10, 2013 7:31 pm

Just looking again over Billy's changes in the qualification criteria and it's not necessarily very good news for the Euros. Most of these newly eligible events from the PGATtaking place in the last part of the year are going to clash with the big Final Series ET tournaments in Asia. It was much more likely for an European to finish in the 12-16 range at the Masters then to come to compete and win those new counting events on the PGA Tour in that period...

EDIT: ...unless Billy does the decent thing and invites also the winners (at least) from those big tournaments on the ET!

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