The golf tournament of all golf tournaments, The Masters. It’s finally here!
Day 1 made me incredibly depressed. Alvaro Quiros, who is my age and Rory McIlroy, who is twenty fucking one, are in the lead. Sigh. Anyway on to the action…
There was little wind and relatively soft conditions yesterday providing many opportunities for the players to shoot par or better. Half of the field ended up doing so. This will not be a continuing trend heading into the weekend, as I anticipate the course to firm up with temperatures reaching as high as 92 on Sunday. But there is a threat of thunderstorms the next two days.
Rory McIlroy, the Northern Irishman is no stranger to low scores in Majors. Last year he shot an opening round 63 at the British Open, but followed it up with an 80. He ended up finishing T3 at -8. At last year at the Masters, he was cut with rounds of 74 and 77. Rory has all the talent in the world and realistically should be expected to win the first major of his young career this weekend. The only question I have is the putter. If the conditions firm up, as I expect, it’s all going to boil down to who makes more putts. I’ve heard some rumblings about having some minor back problems, but I really don’t expect this to play into his performance, seeing how he shot -7/65.
Alvaro Quiros, the Spaniard, is considered one of, if not the longest hitter on Tour. He matched McIlroy’s opening round -7/65 with a stellar performance. I don’t mean to be a “glass half empty” guy or anything, but I fully expect Quiros to fall a bit down the leaderboard. He’s currently 184th in Putting Average, so the harder these greens get means more likely it is that he will fall. In his two previous Masters appearances, he was CUT. Last year Quiros posted consecutive 75’s to miss the CUT.
How about K.J. Choi and Y.E. Yang? The two Korean golfers both finished Day 1 at -5. As I am writing this, K.J. Choi has birdied two of the first five holes on Day 2, moving into a tie for the lead. Yang was the winner of the 2009 PGA Championship, defeating Tiger Woods to become the first Asian born player to win a major.
What about Tiger and Phil? The guys have a combined to win six Green Jackets over the course of their illustrious careers. In the last seven Masters tournaments, both players are -35 and have finished outside of the top 10 three times, COMBINED. Since 1997, Tiger has finished outside of the top 10 three times and since 1995 Phil has finished outside of the top 10 three times. These guys are pretty good. Currently, Phil is -2 and Tiger is -1. Anything under par at the Masters is pretty good. Oh yea, Phil is the defending champion.
Lefty’s boy from GT, Matt Kuchar had another solid round of golf, posting a -4/68. It seems like this guy has finished in the top 10 in every tournament for the last two years. Excluding last year, the last time Kuchar played in the Masters was 1999. Considering the fact that this guy has played Augusta twice in 13 years, -4 is a stellar score. Kuchar always seems to be a calm, steady player. Qualities that will help immensely in majors, especially the Masters.
Lastly, SSSSSSSeeeerrrrgio! Is the Spaniard back? I sure hope so. If he ever gets hot with the flat stick, he’s going to be as dangerous as anyone on Tour. Garcia fired a -3/69 to open his Masters weekend. Even though he has not had much success at the Masters in recent years, Garcia’s 2011 is shaping up nicely. He finished 8th at Bay Hill and T15th at the Transitions Championship. Spencer LOVES Sergio and I must admit, I’m a huge fan. I love the way he hits the ball (/no homo). He is going to win a major. Mark my words.
Some other notable scores:
Lee Westwood: E
Ernie Els: +3
Louis Oosthuizen: +3
Fred Couples: -1
Ross Fisher: -3
Trevor Immelman: -3
Gregory Havret: -2
Jim Furyk: E
Sean O’Hair: -1
Henrik Stenson: +11
Vijay Singh: +4
Martin Kaymer: +6
Tom Watson: +7
Padraig Harrington: +5