Open Prognosticating

Alright, I admit it I love The Masters. I look forward to that tournament every year. Of course, this year I received my usual “Dear John” letter stating “We regret to inform you… you’re a loser and you will not be going to the 2019 Masters” yadda yadda. So as is my usual custom I develop a faux dislike of The Masters and everything they stand for. At any rate…

The reality here is that its Open Championship week and this is my favourite week of the golf season. I look at the courses in the rota and think a few things. Golf courses the way that golf was meant to be played. Of course, there’s the obvious. The history. This year, the venue is Carnoustie Golf Links. The grand old gal was designed by Allan Robertson with an assist from Old Tom Morris and consequently opened in 1842. The venue hosted its first Open Championship in 1931 (Tommy Armour won The Claret Jug). Many duels have been won and lost at Carnoustie with one particular championship being synonymous with the course. “The Van de Velde” in 1999. Coming up the 72nd hole of the 1999 Open Championship Jean Van de Velde just needed to card a double bogey to win. He would card a triple bogey instead and would lose the championship. Paul Lawrie would eventually win in a playoff.

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Oh the humanity! (Photo Credit: Golf Digest)

So this year. The field is set and many players from the PGA Tour have been overseas for a week or two. In full preparation mode getting ready for the season’s third Major. I didn’t do any sort of predictions for the U.S. Open and quite frankly I don’t know why. But this time around I will no be denied. So in the same manner that I did for The Masters (where I boldly predicted Patrick Reed’s victory) I will handicap the odd separating my picks by using the odds. So without anything else to say here we go…

Favourites (12-1 to 20-1) – The usual suspects adorn this category. Guys like Dustin Johnson (12-1) and Tiger Woods (20-1). However, sitting at 16-1 is Justin Rose. He’s my pick in this grouping. He’s had a nice season, he’s straight and quite frankly I can see him planting a kiss on The Claret Jug come Sunday. #TeamRose

Not Quite The Favourites (25-1 to 40-1) – Jason Day leads the pack of this grouping. But I don’t like him to win The Claret Jug. I have no real basis for saying this but I do. Yes ,he’s quietly won twice on Tour this season but in this range I’m going with the most underrated golfer in men’s professional golf. Marc Leishman! He’s 40-1 and a bit of a longshot already without being a longshot. Even though Sergio Garcia, Masters Champ Patrick Reed and Hideki Matsuyama are in this pod… Leishman sits lurking in the bushes. Like a stealthy assassin he lies in wait. You don’t even know he’s lurking but then all of a sudden.. there he is!!!

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All of a sudden.. he’s there! (Photo Credit: Golf Digest)

 The Darkhorse (50-1 to 80-1) – These are the interesting picks with some real notable names in the mix. I love Zach Johnson but not this week. Ian Poulter could be a mover and shaker and you never know what ‘The Wizard” Bryson DeChambeau has up his sleeves. However, there is one golfer that has had a great season in 2018. Sitting at 66-1 is Bubba Watson. Yes, he had a rough tourney at The Military Tribute (Greenbrier) but I simply dismiss it. He was really pressing to win at his second home and maybe just maybe he was thinking too far ahead to this week. Imagination, length and a total arsenal of crazy shots that he can. Bubba will be there Sunday… if he doesn’t wound too tightly (like at Greenbrier).

The Longshot (100-1 to 300-1) – If you’re a betting type (I’m not) then someone in this category could win you some money. These guys aren’t in the conversation during your morning coffee or round but there are a few names that would make for an intriguing pick. In this case my eyes just can turn away from Austin Cook. Admittedly, I don’t know much about him and quite frankly I know more about his caddy (Kip Henley of Big Break fame) than I do about the 250/1 man. Cook has serious game and has shown flashes of brilliance thus far in his career.He does hold a PGA Tour victory so he does know how to win. He’s ranked 24th in the FedEx Cup race and also finished Top-5 at Greenbrier.He’s pretty steady with greens and fairways hit (albeit nowhere near the top echelon) but he’s just long and accurate enough to win at Carnoustie.

The Off of the Board (500/1 to 2000/1) – So you want to hold lightning in a bottle and seriously cash in on a $20 wager. These are the guys for you. Using my highly scientific methodology I look at names like 500/1 crowd Bernhard Langer and Ernie Els. But can the old man really win this? Sure he can… anybody in the field can. Heck, even a 2000/1 guy can win this thing. I mean if you’re in the field you have a chance right? SO looking up and down I actually feel really good about a name on the list. At 1000/1 I like Sean Crocker!!! Enough to make him my overall pick? We shall see but not likely. He’s won before granted many others in this category have won. But it’s just a gut instinct and maybe worth a “penny of your thoughts”.

So, I’ve tabulated my picks over the six categories and placed them into my “Magic Eight Ball”. My fearless prediction is…

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Greenbrier was an anomaly and he has loftier goals than winning at his second home. Green Jackets are always nice but Jugs are pretty nice too!! He’ll be focused. Keep him in line Ted Scott!!

**Pulling for Rose

Until The Next Tee!!

My Take On Patrick Reed

Transgression. 

trans·gres·sion
transˈɡreSHən,tranzˈɡreSHən/
noun
  1. an act that goes against a law, rule, or code of conduct; an offense.

This past weekend we crowned a new Masters Champion. Patrick Reed. The man who I said was a “much-maligned Masters Champion” in my tournament re-cap editorial. By most accounts his victory was very unpopular. Why? Was it because of him outlasting Rory McIlroy? No and let’s face it Rory faded. In a way that makes Augusta National look like his “Kryptonite? Is it because Jordan Spieth really brought it on Masters Sunday just to fall a poor tee shot short of historical proportions? No… that isn’t it either. Maybe, it was because Reed never bogeyed the 72nd hole to fall into a playoff with Rickie Fowler who played his heart out. No it wasn’t that either.

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Photo Credit: express.,co.uk

When we look at Patrick Reed what do we (who aren’t in his inner circle) see? If we go by skeletons in one’s closet here’s what we see in a nutshell.

  1. A kid that was said to have a “checkered past” and questions about his character while attending the University of Georgia came into question. Talk of cheating and theft from teammates. This would turn into a transfer where Reed departed Athens and ended up in Augusta. He joined the Augusta State Jaguars Men’s Golf Team and led them to a National Championship.
  2. We see a young man that’s considered to be brash, cocky and confident. We hate that because he tells everyone how good he is. Remember the “I’m a Top 5 player in the world” comment? Controversial. We dislike controversial people right?
  3. There was the homophobic slur in China that was inadvertently picked up on camera during the WGC – HSBC Champions event.
  4. Many golf fans think that his wearing of red and black is taboo because that’s what Tiger wears. People seem to think that it’s disrespectful (I guess) that he’s wearing “Tiger’s Colors”. Note taken… I better not do the same. Then again, red is my Friday thing in support of those who’ve sacrificed or still do sacrifice (our military).
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Photo Credit: jagwire.augusta.edu

Transgressions. Have you gambled? Maybe you stole a pack of gum or a cassette tape because it had a song on it that your hopeful girlfriend liked (I did the latter here name was Adele). Maybe you’ve had a taste of the “Devil’s Lettuce” and liked the high that the marijuana gave you. Perhaps, you were once a drinker that consumed more than a couple of drinks every day. Maybe, you’re a chronic speeder and had a speeding ticket. Or maybe you had nasty stinky vices like smoking cigarettes. Maybe while you were hanging out with the guys smoking a cigarette or in your changeroom at the gym or arena you jokingly referred to someone as an (insert derogatory name here). Perhaps, in your younger days you were a bully at school that picked on the smaller, weaker kids. Or maybe you were affluent and made fun of kids who couldn’t afford nicer clothes or they had a bag lunch instead of buying lunch everyday. Driving under the influence… maybe one or two of you did that once or twice and hopefully nobody got hurt because of your judgement. The point is that as human beings at one point in time or another we’ve made a transgression or two along the way.

I think what my point is this. If we’re going to judge Patrick Reed for his past… transgressions we better look at ourselves very closely in the mirror. What have we done that makes us so different and better than him? Patrick ultimately made some bad decisions in his life… and he is no different from us. If you’re going to hold that against him then you most certainly have to hold Tiger’s actions against Tiger. I said it here… that I don’t condone whatever it was that Tiger did. He made a horrible decision and we’ll never know the real truth or how many times he did that without getting caught. People hate Patrick’s swagger and overzealousness. The same people who criticize him (American fans) I have no doubt were loving him and his antics at the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles (Shhhhh….). So it’s alright to love him then? Isn’t that the very definition of a double-standard? Oh yeah… his family life? Don’t even discuss that or hold that against him. This is not about family and if anything is taboo bringing family into any situation is the lowest of low. That’s private and personal. Much like Tiger and his break-up with Elin. That should have always been left behind closed doors because you don’t know what he or they were going through.

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Photo Credit: golfweek.com

Patrick Reed like it or not won The Masters. You don’t need to like him and quite frankly he doesn’t care. But before you hold his past against him look at your past and think if you’re truly any better. I’m not!

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!!