Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Masters Reflections

Picking the Winner: Well, you can see we came real close. (Just refer back to our previous entry.) At least we did mention Phil’s name.

Big Losers or Major Disappointments or When the Heck are these guys going to produce:

Mike Weir – we’re still waiting for him to do something again. He always seems to be close for the last 36 holes but can never seem to reproduce the magic that brought him that green jacket. Shame.

Darren Clarke – Clarke starts the final round just two shots back and all of us at the pub are pulling for the jolly Irishman. So how does he reward us? A birdie on the first to really get our hearts pumping and the Guinness flowing! Then, a lackluster 77 with seven bogies the rest of the way.

Ernie Els/Retief Goosen – Close, both had a chance – AGAIN! Maybe these guys need to be told that this is a major championship. At least they could show a little interest.

“The Young Guns” – Another major tournament where the young studs so heavily promoted by the PGA Tour and the media fail to produce. These kids had better get with it before a great golf career passes them by.

Summation: A good tournament, not a great one. Too many guys, i.e., all but one, failed to come up with something special in the final round.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

A Masters Victory

Attempting to pick the winner of a golf tournament is similar to strapping on a pair of skis for the first time and heading down the XXX Olympic ski slope in Seefeld, Austria. It’s foolish and it’s dangerous. Although is has to be easier in the Masters because the field is smaller. So, what the heck, we’ll give it a go. This list is so scientific that it was rejected by all the leading golf publications. If you’ve got a lot of extra green, here’s our list of can’t miss bets:

Someone you can bet on with a good chance of making a little dough:
Tiger Woods – Why would you not put down a minimal wager?
Retief Goosen – If we could only get “Goose” to show a little more interest, we might increase the wager.

No chance:
Phil Mickelson - because he played too damn good last week.

Sentimental Favorites:
John Daly - It would be great to have burgers and beer for the 2007 Champions Dinner.
Tom Lehman – He’s been playing decent and he looks Ryder Cup captainish with that long putter.

The O.F. Emotional Favorite:
Ben Crenshaw – Hey, it could happen. History has a tendency to repeat itself.

The Real Winner:
Someone you would never dare to put $1000 on.

That’s all. We can’t pick everybody in the field.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Too Chip or Putt?

Whoever is instructing Michelle Wie on the chipping and putting aspect of the game should also work with her a little more on how to think around the green. A poor thought process on the 72nd green of the Kraft Nabisco Championship may have cost her her first major title. Wie needed a birdie on the par-5 18th to tie Karrie Webb. A driver and a 5-iron put her 25 feet away just over the green with about five feet of fringe to clear. Wie elected to chip the ball and juiced it a bit. It ran about ten feet past. She made a good putt at the birdie that would have tied but it missed.

Somewhere along the line someone has taught her that if you want to sink it, chip it. Perhaps that’s true, perhaps not. That’s another discussion. What’s at fault here is her thinking process. Someone has failed to teach her how to think the situation through completely. She did not need to sink it “at all costs.” Yes, it might have been the ultimate in drama had she sunk the chip, but that’s not what she needed at this point. She needed a sure four with a chance at a possible three. She needed to play the shot that gave her the highest percentage to accomplish that. Using the putter to get down in two from 25 feet was not a difficult task. Two putts give her a tie and, if she gets a little lucky, the ball goes in and she wins. By using the putter she would have almost certainly have put herself in the playoff which started on the same 18th hole where she would have had a definitive advantage.

But that’s what makes major champions: smart decisions and the proper time.