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Reviewing My Masters Picks

My picks at the outset of the tournament were Rory, Jason Day, BVP, and Gary Woodland.

Rory played well Thursday and Friday, but sort of fell apart over the weekend. I would say he’s very likely to get a jacket one of these years, but of course we thought the same about Greg Norman.

Jason Day shot a 76 on Thursday and withdrew on Friday. Not sure what that’s all about.

Bo Van Pelt were a couple of strokes above par for each round through Saturday, but made the cut and then went on to shoot a 64 on Sunday to finish T17.

Gary was about Even going into the weekend, but shot an 85 on Saturday and then withdrew.

So, as predicted, I sucked. Even worse, I seem to have the power to make perfectly healthy golfers have to withdraw from a major tournament.

Keep’em in the short stuff.

My Masters Picks

I’m so awful at this, the only guy who gives a worse kiss of death than me is Mike Greenberg on ESPN, but it’s still a fun exercise.  The way I make my picks is one player from the Top 10 OWGR, one from the Next 10, one from the Third 10, and one ranked from 31 and above.

RORY McILROY – He’s playing well, and it would be a fantastic story.  Tiger’s a close second.  Webb Simpson is in the Top 10 of the world?  Really?

JASON DAY – Played very well in majors last year.  Has the complete game, and very cool disposition.  Other hot picks in my book are Bubba and Keegan.

BO VAN PELT – Pure ball striker, and longer than people are aware of. 

GARY WOODLAND – Cool and powerful.  Good combination at Augusta. 

Keep’em in the short stuff.

Interesting Masters Groupings

It’s always fun to figure out what kind of logic went into a Major Tournament tee time schedule. The USGA is reknown for their vaguely offensive All-Scandinavian and All-Asian pairings. Most other tournaments take a somewhat less brazen approach.

Here are the groupings I will be paying most attention to:

8:45 AM – Scott, Van Pelt, and Kaymer. Excellent ball strikers and scorers. I’m still waiting for BVP to have that break through season.

9:18 AM – Stanley, Day, Haas. Crazy talents, and extraordinary personalities.

10:13 AM – Woodland, Stenson, Quiros. Closest thing to a 1,000 yard pairing this year. Woods and Alvaro are the kinds of drivers of the ball that can do very well at this course.

10:36 am – Woods, Jimenez, Bae. It will be fun watching Tiger play with the Most Interesting Golfer In The World.

1:42 PM – Cabrera, McIlroy, Watson. One former winner. One former epic loser. One guy who hits the ball further than anyone else.

1:53 PM – Mickelson, Mahan, Hanson. Hunter is playing as well as anyone else this year, and Phil’s had some flashes as well.

Keep’em in the short stuff.

The Old Ping Eye 2 Irons

We’re not the kind of a family who has big fancy things to pass on from generation to generation.  No 19:th century grandfather clock.  No Green Bay Packers season tickets.  No 1964 1/2 Ford Mustang.  No deed to a castle in Romania.  It’s not a cultural statement or anything, and it’s not like we frown on things like this, but it’s just not something we have.

I am glad to report, however, that we do have a set of most excellent iron clubs that are now on their third generation in our family.

In 1983 I had been playing golf for about 4-5 years.  I was 18 years old, and just finishing High School.  I was shooting in the 80s and 90s, and I was already 6ft7 tall.  At this time, golf equipment was extraordinarily expensive in my native country of Sweden.  It only made sense that I pick up some clubs before I headed back.

Given my height the logical choice was Ping, since at this time they were the only manufacturer who made customized sets.  With my measurements, they hooked me up with a set of Green Dot, which is the most upright clubs they made at time, and an inch or two extra on the shaft.  Ping had just started making their second generation clubs, the Ping Eye 2, which were even more massively forgiving than the first iteration.

Remember, this was the early 80s.  Good golfers played blades.  Bad golfers played Ping.  Those were about the only two options available.

These clubs were wonderful.  Easy to hit, powerful, and consistent.  I played them for years and years.  When I shot my best score ever, 78 on a par 73 course, it was with the Ping Eye 2s.  When I dragged a golf bag and two suitcases on a cross-world trip by bus from Kansas to New York, flight to Dortmund, and train through Europe to come home to visit, it was the Ping Eye 2s.  I played them in college.  When I and a buddy of mine played 81 holes in a day, it was with the Ping Eye 2s.

Then, the 90s came around.  I was newly married and raising a young child.  I lived in Chicago, and didn’t really know anyone who played golf.  Consequently, I didn’t play a lot of golf.  My dad had club envy from the time I brought these clubs home, and I decided to let him have a go with them.  HE played them for years.  I’d love to know which of the great courses in Scotland and Ireland he dragged them over to, but I’m certain it was more than a handful of recognizable names.

Eventually he found a new set he couldn’t live without, and returned them to me around 2000.  I had just moved to Dallas, and was playing a bit more frequently.  Starting in 2008 I got back serious about the game, and was still enjoying them.  Shot several rounds in the low 80s.

Eventually, in 2010, I realized technology had come some distance in 27 years, and I replaced them with a set of Ping i15s.  Initially I was going to get the G15s, but the i15s felt a lot more like my old buddies.  I did the math, and realized that if I were to keep my new clubs as long as I had kept my old ones I’d be 72 years old when I went shopping again.  Maybe there are some Ping i85s in my distant future.

So, I stuck them in the garage.  As you can see by the rust coloration, I also had pool chemicals in the garage.  I wasn’t about to get rid of them, but I didn’t think they’d be getting any more real use.

Lo and behold, last fall, my offspring Logan is down visiting.  He’s picking up the game, and needs some new clubs.  I can’t think of any better set for him to learn the game with than my old classics.  A few weeks later they’re in a Fedex box traveling to Chicago.  He’s taking a golf class in college this semester, and I can’t wait to get out to play a round with him.

As I’m thinking about this I can’t help but to have flashbacks to that scene in Pulp Fiction when Christopher Walken is telling the story about the watch to his buddy’s son.  To paraphrase, “And now, little man, I give this uncomfortable chunk of metal to you”.

Keep’em in the short stuff.

Ramblings From The Augusta Rough

Sunday evening, 5:08 PM Central Time: The beginning of Masters Week. No offense intended to the Houston Open, but most fans can’t wait for the tournament to finish so we can start talking and thinking about The Masters.

Congrats to my neiborhood golfer Hunter Mahan for his win in Houston. He doesn’t actually live in my neighborhood, but he’s about five miles away from me. Unless there’s someone I dont’ know of, he’s the pro that lives closest to me.

This will be my first year watching The Masters in HD on TV. Can’t wait. For good measure, we just got new theatre seating as well. Getting delivered on Wednesday, just in time.

There are always a lot of stories going into The Masters. I think this year there’s more than ever.

How will Rory play after his epic collapse last year? Since then he’s won a major in impressive fashion, and he’s reached #1 in the world.

What will Tiger do? This course suits him as well as Arnie’s place. Can’t think of anyone I’d pick as a bigger favorite than him.

Will there be another first-time major winner? Luke? Hunter? Lee?

I’m a huge fan of Jason Day’s game and his mental makeup. Played very well in majors last year. Hits it a long ways for a relatively short guy, and he’s unflappable. Probably the best bet to break through for Oz.

First timers to watch: Keegan Bradley, Robert Garrigus, and Kyle Stanley.

More to come. Keep’em in the short stuff.