This is unreal. I can say that I have never struggled this much over a pick before. Normally I’m pretty decisive, but the allure of the Masters is really getting the best of me. (Good thing I’m not playing, huh?) I narrowed my picks down to three players: Tiger Woods, Padraig Harrington, and Geoff Ogilvy.
Tiger is freaking Tiger after all. He won in 05, took 3rd in 06, took 2nd in 07 and 08 and dude has a collection of four green jackets in closet. I’d be dumb not to take him. He’s the face of golf, the chosen one, the living legend. But what do you know? He had that whole knee reconstruction thing a few months back and we really don’t know how much he trust said knee yet or if it’s as strong as it needs to be so I’m staying away.
Paddy Harrington is seeking his third Major Championship victory in as many tries and has a lot going for him. He finished T7 in 07 and T5 last year, so he has the track record to finish in the top 10 at the Masters. But going for three Major’s in a row is a daunting task. One that I don’t think Harrington is up for, so I’m staying away.
That leaves me with Geoff Ogilvy becoming the first Australian born winner in Masters history. Ogilvy earned his Tour card in 2001 and has notched six career victories, all after 2005. This guy can play, there is no doubting that, so be on the lookout for Ogilvy this weekend. He was at the top or near the top of the leaderboard all weekend in Houston and ended up finishing T6 with a final round +3/75. Yea, the final round was pretty disappointing for Ogilvy, who already notched two victories so far this year and has earned the #1 spot in current the FedEx Cup rankings. I think how you finish in your tune-up tourney prior to a Major is a very significant and telling. Seeing how Phil finished led me to stay he hell away even thought he has finished in the top 10 in nine of his last ten showings at Augusta. I think the confidence that one can build from the prior week going into a tournament of this caliber cannot be matched. Granted Ogilvy tailed off a little bit at the end, but he still did enough to convince me that he’s in it to win it.
This is will be Ogilvy’s fourth appearance at the Masters with his best results coming in 2006 when he finished T16. Since the course has changed so much over the last few years, the tournament is now more about surviving than winning. That said I like Ogilvy’s ability to survive. He scores well and has some nice accuracy and distance off the tee averaging 291 yards, which is good for 38th on Tour.
In his appearance in 2007 he finished the tournament T24, but led the field in birdies made. In 2008 he notched 6 birdies, 54 pars, 10 bogeys, and 2 dreaded double bogeys.
The keys to success for Ogilvy are short game and putting. He’s got a great short game that’s and crucial for any player at Augusta. The shots around the green could make or break your weekend and I have to give him an advantage over the majority of the field in this area. When it comes to putting Ogilvy averages 1.37 less putts than the Tour average. Again, at Augusta will is huge. The greens are so firm and ungulate so much that you need to stare Old Man Par right in the face and shove his tricks right back at him. “They are the same type of greens I grew up on, with big, sweeping putts on bentgrass,” he said. “So I feel like it’s a place where I should be able to do well.”
Being the first Major of the year, you better come ready to play. Ogilvy is definitely ready to win Major number two. “I’m not saying that I don’t enjoy any other golf tournaments, but I think there’s something that really piques my interest a bit more in the bigger tournaments,” Ogilvy said. “I just go to that extra level of commitment or something in the bigger tournaments. I think I get a little more enjoyment out of the bigger tournaments. That’s the only thing I can think of.”