Bubba wins the Masters
Not trying to take anything away from Watson because he was the best player in the field this past weekend, but my love for the Masters has significantly waned over the years due to what the course has become with the new technology sending the ball so far.
Before the final round, CBS showed a nice little highlight reel of the 1987 Masters which consisted of the following golfers who were in contention. I put their driving distance ranking that year in parentheses:
Larry Mize (128th)
Greg Norman (t-4th)
Ben Crenshaw (86th)
Roger Maltbie (81st)
Jodie Mudd (13th)
Jay Haas (t-134th)
Bernhard Langer (t-111th)
My dislike of what the Masters has become is too many awful shots followed by the tremendous recovery shots in the proclaimed ‘greatest tournament in the world.’ And it’s also become a tournament where unless there are inclement weather conditions (mostly wind), then you can pretty much scratch off more than half the field before the tournament even starts.
It kinda reminds me of Major League Baseball which back in the 90’s proclaimed that ‘home runs = fans.’ Well, it doesn’t and it didn’t really work for them.
It initially piqued fan interest because all of these home runs was a new thing. But after a while fans started to realize that guys like Sammy Sosa who were routinely hitting 60+ home runs a year were doing so more because of circumstance than actual skill. That it was more about steroids, bringing the fences in, lowering the pitching mounds, etc. than legitimate greatness. After a couple of years, the home runs diluted itself and nothing really stood out and the game of baseball was far more popular in the 70’s and 80’s when they had lower scores and less home runs.
I believe ANGC was designed to present golfers with risk-reward decisions. I think holes like #13 and #15 were thought that if you layed-up, you were supposed to come away with the ‘safe’ par most of the time. If you did go for it and made it over, you were going to come away with a birdie or maybe an eagle. I don’t think it was designed to be an afterthought where the bombers could hit it as far as they possibly could hit one, go into the trees and still have a good shot at making the green in two shots. I cannot imagine any scenario were designers from that era didn’t want to penalize a golfer for a tee shot that was very inaccurate.
The fact is that Augusta never really ‘Tiger Proofed’ the course. They only helped promote his style of play even more. The solution? Who really knows, but I don’t think it’s much to ask that golfers who hit poor shots, regardless of how long they are, get penalized for it. I can assure you that the rough at Bay Hill is much higher than it is at Augusta, but not unreasonably high by any means. But enough to penalize golfers who find the rough and it’s not a coincidence that Tiger, who found fairway after fairway and rarely hit bad shots, won at Bay Hill this year. Perhaps they need to remove more of the pinestraw and just have simple grass there to make the lies more difficult.
Anyway, here are how my picks at Augusta finished:
Phil Mickelson: 11/1 (t-3rd)
Luke Donald: 16/1 (t-32nd)
Justin Rose: 28/1 (t-8th)
Matt Kuchar: 66/1 (t-3rd)
Bo Van Pelt: 80/1 (t-17th)
Value Pick: Kyle Stanley 125/1 (missed cut)
Here's my picks for Harbour Town.
Bo Van Pelt: 25/1
Kevin Na: 33/1
Zach Johnson: 40/1
Bryce Molder: 50/1
Brian Davis: 50/1
Value Pick: Will Claxton 250/1