Much-Maligned Masters Champion

As always, the brainchild of Bobby Jones is always full of thrills and jam-packed story lines. The 2018 Masters Tournament was no different. So instead of writing a bunch of rhetoric let’s jump right into it.

I think a suitable place to begin is with the story of Doug Whim who finished as the Low Amateur at the 2018 Masters Tournament. Ghim found his way to Augusta by finishing as the runner-up at the 2017 U.S. Amateur Championship. The product of the University of Texas (Senior) has developed quite the playing resume and his finish this weekend was just another feather in the proverbial cap. His play on Thursday alone was impressive as he had Eagle’s on 13 and 18 respectively en route to an even Par 72. Ghim would be the only Amateur to make the cut (+4) and would finish at +8 for the weekend. A weekend which he ended with an exclamation mark as he holed-out for birdie on his 72nd hole. All of this with his dad carrying his golf bag. Well done young man!

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Photo Credit: augusta.com

 

As Sunday mid-day turned to early afternoon leaders of the tournament were set to tee off. All of them were chasing 54-hole leader Patrick Reed. Names like Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm, Bubba Watson, Henrik Stenson and Rory McIlroy to name a few. The latter engaging in some “fun” gamesmanship between himself and Reed. The pairing was hyped after their wild Ryder Cup match and the golf world was waiting for some fireworks. Rarely however, does such hype happen in the final pairing during Stroke Play or in particular on a Major Championship Sunday. even those fireworks failed to light there was plenty of fireworks elsewhere around Augusta National.

It just seems like the tournament isn’t really played until the 64th hole. This is the point in time where the roars of Augusta are most often heard. Jordan Spieth had some of the loudest roars on the golf course. Entering the final round he started 9 shots back of Reed. In a comfortable pairing with Justin Thomas Sunday would see Spieth go low. Spieth fired a 64 that electrified the patrons on the grounds and television viewers alike. His second shot on Azalea (Par 5) was astounding. Watching the coverage it was interesting hearing the conversation between him and caddie Michael Greller. Spieth was sitting in the pine straw and initially pulled an iron. Calmly, Greller talked him out of the shot and put a hybrid into his hands. The shot was caught a little heavy from 234 yards out but as it just cleared Rae’s Creek it settled onto the green for a great look at Eagle but he’d settle for Birdie which catapulted a string of 5 consecutive Birdie’s,  Spieth was right there until an errant tee shot on 18. As he approached his golf ball he simply exclaimed “Oh my God”. He was on pace to be the first in history to fire a 63 in the final round of The Masters.

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Photo Credit: golfchannel.com

Also of much intrigue in the final round of the 2018 Masters was the play of Paul Casey who carded a -7  and Rickie Fowler who hung around and made things interesting right to the end. Fowler carded a 67 and had the patrons buzzing that were taking in the action as it unfolded. After hitting a scintillating drive down 18 his approach shot was even better as a Birdie found the bottom of the cup that got him to -14. Fowler started the final round 5 strokes back which is a testament to how he played the final round.

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Photo Credit: Getty Images

In the end  the day belonged to Patrick Reed. Forever his name will be etched in golf lore and Masters history. Reed won his first Major on this 8th day of April 2018 and that can never be taken away. He posted a total of -15 and his final round 71 was just enough to get the victory. For a while it looked as though he would make more Masters history by being the first in history to post 4 sub-70 rounds in The Masters. As good as Reed played that record remains standing. Reed was very steady and leading up to this Masters Tournament I predicted that he’d win.

So my pick to win The Masters out of the above picks. My pick to win the 2018 Masters Tournament is none other than Patrick Reed. His name is just jumping out at me and his game is trending in the right direction. Patrick, just don’t win the Par 3 Contest.

Reed  may not be the most popular winner to ever have donned a Green Jacket Masters Sunday. As a matter of fact there were far more detractors than supporters all over social media. I imagine there might be a number of reasons why golf fans haven’t warmed up to Reed. People going as far to suggest that he should wear red on Sunday’s (because of Tiger). do golf fans simply not like his swagger or ominpresent confidence? Reed made waves a few years ago when he brashly said he was a Top 5 player without having the resume to back it up. I suppose with his Green Jacket that changes things a little bit. Whether the stories are true or not I have no idea. While attending and playing for the University of Georgia he was dismissed from the golf team after allegations of him stealing and cheating arose. He would later transfer to Augusta State (his hometown) and win a National Championship with the Jaguars. Then there were also the gay slurs and then there was the 2018 Arnold Palmer Invitational where he was heard and recorded saying “I guess my name needs to be Jordan Spieth, guys” after not being granted free relief. It might have been in jest. At the end of the day only a few things matter. As long as his wife, friends and family loves him that’s all that matters. for the rest of us… what does he care really?

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Photo Credit; The Telegraph

 

Like it or not folks Patrick Reed is your 2018 Master Champion and he will be defending in 2019. Until then see you next year Augusta National (hopefully in the literal sense).

Until The Next Tee!!

 

 

The 2018 Masters Tournament

Well… here we are. Masters Week is here and players in the field have started playing practice rounds with several having been through the course in previous weeks. With the ever entertaining Par 3 Contest coming up Wednesday I thought that it might be fun to prognosticate the tournament. Before continuing, I just wanted to take a few seconds to talk about the annual Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals.

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Photo Credit: thestar.com

 

The Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals are held at Augusta National and features boys and Girls in 4 different age categories. These junior golfers ranging in ages 7-15 are good and can make golfers many years their elder look silly in these three major aspects of the golf game. I just wanted to wave my flag (Canadian) real fast and congratulate the winner of the Girls 10-11 age group. The winner was Vanessa Borovilos of Toronto, Ontario Canada. Congratulations Vanessa!!!

So The Masters. I’m still waiting to walk these hallowed grounds. It’s something that I really feel that I’ll be able to experience one day… preferably while I’m relatively young still and able-bodied. I just want to see if it smells like I’ve always imagined it to. I remember when I first had that thought. It was 2002, and I was in the hospital recovering from a serious illness where doctor’s thought I had Spinal Meningitis. But, as I recovered in the hospital I was watching The Masters (won by Tiger Woods) I was taken aback by the sheer beauty of the course. Those fully bloomed dogwood and azaleas. The pine straw nestled amongst the base of the towering pines. I thought that I could smell the golf course. At this point, I wasn’t even interested in golf but the rest is history.

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So the other day my dear friend in Ireland (Teresa) was asking for tips about The Masters. Someone asked what kind of tips she was looking for and she said that she wanted to place a few bets. So I made a suggestion as did several others. Which brings me to this piece. i thought it would be fun breaking down the field based on the Vegas odds. I’ll take my picks from the following categories and out of them… pick a winner and a darkhorse. Below are the odds breakdowns.

  • 10/1 to 20/1
  • 21/1 to 50/1
  • 51/1 to 99/1
  • 100/1 to 150/1
  • 175/1 to 250/1
  • 300/1 to 500/1
  • 600/1 to 1000/1

10/1 to 20/1 – The favorites! For any fans or gamblers placing wagers these are the “sure bets”. In a group that consists of the “new” Tiger, Spieth, Thomas and Dustin Johnson I like Bubba Watson. He already owns two titles at Augusta National but I’ve said all over social media that he’s a confident Bubba and not to mention that he’s putting real well, he’s long and more importantly has a wild imagination. I pick Bubba here but I see Justin Rose and Matt Kuchar hanging around.

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21/1 to 50/1 – In a group that features Jason Day, Rickie Fowler and defending champion Sergio Garcia there’s a name at 50/1 that is real intriguing. Also, for those betting it may be worthwhile to place a buck or two here. That guy… Patrick Reed. It’s a matter of time before the unflappable Reed breaks through for a Major title. It could happen this week.

51/1 to 99/1 – Well it would be “en vogue” to pick Ian Poulter out of this group. But I think he’s played his heart out to get to Magnolia Lane. Does he run out of gas after this miraculous run that he’s been on. He’ll make the cut but won’t be there at the end.  There are plenty of intriguing names here and I really would like to see a Bryson DeChambeau jacket presentation come Sunday. His approach to the game is as interesting as his 66/1 odds. At 70/1 I pick Australian Marc Leishman. The Aussie is grossly underrated.

100/1 to 150/1 – Kevin Kisner leads this group of golfers and sits at 100/1. but when I look up and down this category the man from Thailand grabs my attention. Kiradech Aphibarnrat at 125/1. He doesn’t play much in North America but has garnered more attention after his play during the WGC Dell Match Play.  wonder what his “Champions Dinner” would be like.

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175/1 to 250/1 – Now we’re really starting to get into the longshots although many would contend that any one after 50/1 is a longshot. Shubhankar Sharma is another one of those international players that introduced himself to North America earlier this year. He did so after playing extremely well at the WGC Mexico event which consequently got him his Masters invite. The emerging European Tour star has played some tremendous golf this year so on a whim I’ll take Sharma at 175/1 over Patton Kizzire and Si Woo Kim.

300/1 to 500/1 – Not exactly a ton of names in the last two groups to choose from. But these are names that would be fun for placing a $20 bet. Oh the golf clubs I could but or the upgrades to my website. Sure there are the household bills that could be paid… but what fun is that? Fred Couples always excites at The Masters but at 400/1 I’ll pick Wesley Bryan.

600/1 to 1000/1 – The longest of longshots. Here we see a few guys that are amateurs or a bit “long in the tooth”. Steely eyed, grizzled veteran Bernhard Langer is bold. He plays pretty good golf however I’ll pick another Champions Tour player here. Vijay Singh has won this season on the “senior circuit” and I can see the native of Fiji playing golf this weekend.

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So my pick to win The Masters out of the above picks. My pick to win the 2018 Masters Tournament is none other than Patrick Reed. His name is just jumping out at me and his game is trending in the right direction. Patrick, just don’t win the Par 3 Contest.

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Until The Next Tee!!

That Time Of The Year

I have to be totally honest. While I don’t mind the holiday season it just doesn’t feel like it used to. It’s almost like I’ve become a cynic and/or a skeptic. Perhaps I’ve become jaded or something or other. In short, I think that I’ve crossed the threshold and turned into an old curmudgeon. No longer do I get excited for the holidays but this is the time of the year that I do get excited about… For other reasons.

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Not this guy?! (Photo Credit: Forbes)

Yes, all of the college football Bowl games are going on and wasn’t that a classic between Georgia and Oklahoma? What about the perfect UCF Knights who two years ago were winless and this year were undefeated. College football excites me but that’s not what really gets my juices flowing so to speak. It’s that time of the year!

The PGA Tour season is upon us (I still haven’t accepted the wraparound season) and with that there are so many questions and answers swirling around. Swirling, like those trade winds in Maui where the season is about to kickoff at Kapalua on the Plantation Course. The field is magnificent and any of those in the field could win this tournament. It’s hard not to look at the likes of  Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas or Hideki Matsuyama to win tournament. So, looking at the field I’m going to go off of the radar a little and boldly predict that Cameron Smith will be your winner. The kid played great golf in Asia and Australia at the end of the season. But this time of the year is similar to free agent season in any other professional sports. As players reach the end of a contract to play a certain brand it’s fun to see exactly who they’ll turn towards to etch their name on their newest trophy. The next time that Sergio Garcia hoists a trophy will it be with Callaway Golf equipment as speculated?

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Cameron Smith (Photo Credit: Titleist)

But there’s more reason for me feeling a high level excitement. All of the equipment companies are going to start to unveil their new products for the 2018 season. As embargo’s end on posting and sharing content the collective imaginations of the golf consumer will run wild. With that I have a few quick questions. How does TaylorMade Golf release something better and more prolific than the M1 and M2 line? These M3 and M4 are they going to be that insane? Callaway Golf. How do they design something better than the Epic which if you read my review had the perfect moniker attached to it. The Epic was quite simply epic! The golf giant is releasing the Rogue line-up and they look mean. “They” also means their Rogue irons. With a victory already at the Hero World Challenge… Cobra Golf unleashed the F8 range of products. Honestly, Wilson Staff has their new range of products which are the newest carnation of their equipment geared towards the “Control” player. The new C300 irons have models where one set is forged and another that is cast. Their development of “Power Holes” on their metalwoods have me intrigued then again the same can be said of their entire product range. Cleveland Golf “launched it” by bringing back the Launcher in 2017. What will they bring to the party? Srixon Golf as well for that matter.

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The Rogue. (Photo Credit: Callaway Golf)

Of course, there’s the annual trip down to Orlando to take in the PGA Merchandise Show which in itself gets me excited. A chance to network and meet so many great minds in the golf industry. A chance to swing new products. Feel new and exciting fabrics like “FUSION YARN” from Puma Golf. Or be a witness to the new and fresh designs of CHASE 54. There is so much to see and do down there that it’s nearly impossible to take it all in.

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CHASE 54

As I sit here and think about everything… like The Masters (even though once again I was snubbed in the lottery) I feel an air of excitement. coming to think of it… It feels great to be a kid again.

Until The Next Tee!!