Welcome, friends....to a tradition unlike any other. I'm eagerly anticipating those words from Jim Nantz this weekend as well as the soothing piano music that accompanies the scenic views only Augusta National can provide. Nothing about The Masters ever gets old. No matter who wins each year, there are always compelling stories eminating from the tournament and lasting memories to be remembered for years to come. Yep, it's that good. Here at Hurricane Golf, we want to make sure you're prepared before tomorrow's Round 1 tee times, so here ya go.
Power Rankings [via PGATour.com]
1. Tiger Woods; 2. Rory McIlroy; 3. Phil Mickelson; 4. Hunter Mahan; 5. Luke Donald; 6. Adam Scott; 7. Justin Rose; 8. Bo Van Pelt; 9. Lee Westwood; 10. Keegan Bradley
The Top 3 choices from PGATour.com can be mixed up any way you want, it just depends on how you're feeling about a particular player at the moment. Wods is the easy No. 1 selection, but I would put Rory at No. 1, Woods at No. 1 and bring Charl Schwartzel into the Top 10 since he is the defending champion. I also think Lee Westwood should be higher strictly on the fact that I believe he's do for his first major (but I guess you can say that at any major until he wins). It wouldn't surprise me in the least if Westwood won this weekend or if Bradley grabbed his second major in as many years.
Food for thought
This column by Rick Reilly of ESPN has little to do with the Masters and a lot to do with Tiger Woods' extended family. I'm not one to usually give any credence to Reilly's work, but I thought this column was interesting and debate worthy depending on how you feel after reading it. I was a little torn after reading it and found it hard to really back Tiger, but I'll let you read it yourself and come up with your own opinion.
Chairman Billy's Payne
Augusta National Chairman Billy Payne is back in the news again, taking heat for not having only male members at Augusta. This is only going to get worse for him and Augusta until they bring their policies into this century. The more they fight it, the worse it's going to get. It would be a good faith showing from Green Jacket owners to speak up on this matter in support of allowing women into their membership circle. How long is Payne going to put a black eye (really the only one I can think of) on the tournament by not growing with the social structure of our time? At some point, it's not going to be about the Masters anymore until this gets done.
There have been a lot of columns/opinions on this so I grabbed one I thought was worth reading from Alan Shipnuck at Golf.com.
A year to rebuild for Green
It's pretty impossible to forget what happened to Rory McIlroy at The Masters last year. I mean, who can forget one of the most historic collapses in major championship history? It was awesome seeing Rory come back at the US Open and slay his demons, but it's even better he can laugh about it now.
Now, if it happens this year, too... I'll be convinced Augusta has put a curse on him, but I don't expect it.
The Field, ranked
Even though I just dropped you a Jason Sobel article, I look forward to this next one every year, in which he ranks the Masters field from 96-1. I'd be content in life if I could ever just get my name in the 96 slot. I could care less about winning, just being able to play the course would put a check mark next to something highly ranked on my bucket list. I don't expect this to happen, but ya never know.
For those of you so inclined, here are the betting lines for the 2012 Masters. I'm sure you can guess who's got the best odds to win....
Tiger Woods 7/2; Rory McIlroy 5/1; Phil Mickelson 8/1; Field (Any Other Golfer) 12/1; Luke Donald1 5/1; Lee Westwood 18/1; Hunter Mahan 20/1; Adam Scott 25/1; Keegan Bradley 25/1; Justin Rose 25/1
Go here for prop bets.
Crazy Masters Week Story
Some guys dog ate his Masters tickets and had to take some interesting measures to get them back. If I ever win the lottery for Masters tickets you can be sure they'll be in a fire-safe vault the second I receive them.
I'm making these picks not based on knowledge of the current state of all these golfers and how their games will be at Augusta, but how I want it to play out for my sheer entertainment.
1. Tiger Woods
2. Phil Mickelson
3. Rory McIlroy
4. Bill Haas
5. Fred Couples
6. Tom Watson
7. Jim Furyk
8. Keegan Bradley
9. Bubba Watson
10. Hunter Mahan
If you're part of our Fantasy Golf league, be sure to make your picks this week. Top 3 finishers will be getting some prizes!