Saturday, April 9, 2011
Friday, April 8, 2011
Former Irish Open Champ Shane Lowry yesterday helped launch the 2011 Lee Valley Scratch Cup which takes place on the 16th and 17th of April. Under crystal blue skies Lowry along with fellow pro Dara Lernihan and prospective scratch cup contenders Andy Hogan and Seanie Barry treated the hundreds of spectators who came out to see them to a wonderful exhibition of top class golf. The Esker Hills man who returned from a wrist injury recently showed that he is in the form to add to his European Tour titles with a five under par round around the exacting Lee Valley layout.
The Lee Valley Scratch Cup is set to attract the cream of Irish amateur golf next weekend coming as it does, just one week before the first major amateur championship of the year.
Doc with Dara Lerhihan, Keith Crowley and Freddie Twomey at the launch of the 2011 Lee Valley Scratch Cup. Thanks to all at Lee Valley for your kind hospitality and Niall O’Shea for the pic.
Absolutely no pun intended or even needed in this title as Aussie Jason Day takes the title. Playing in the same group as Rory McIlroy, Day found himself on the pine straw to the right of the par four ninth with a long iron in hand. As he hit it Day’s right foot completely went from beneath him resulting in a mini performance of swan lake in the follow through. The strike was pure though and the ball was dispatched straight at the target where it rolled up for a tap in birdie.
So I guess you have heard that nobody who wins the Par Three goes on to win The Masters. Obviously not a very superstitious character, after winning said Par Three event with a score of five under Luke Donald stands on four under after two rounds. Before he began his second round Donald opened an umbrella in his house, walked under a ladder, broke a mirror and stepped on a spider!
Hands up anyone who wants to watch Mark Roe and Butch Harmon play with a interactive screen for 10 minutes? Anyone?
Sky Sports are ruining their Masters coverage by not actually covering The Masters. Show us the bloody golf!
Phil Mickelson took the scenic route down the back nine on Thursday. (Getty Images)
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Shooting a 7-under 65 in any round at the Masters is impressive. But first-round co-leaders Rory McIlroy and Alvaro Quiros aren't the only players who pummeled Augusta National on Thursday. With little to no wind, soft conditions and relatively easy pin placements, nearly half the field shot par or better to open the 75th Masters.
"It's a hell of a score, don't get me wrong," said Graeme McDowell when asked about the leading score. "But the pins were set up for scoring, the fairways are running quite slow, which really helps around the greens because the ball stays on the upslopes. ... It was there for the taking today."
Added Nick Watney after shooting a 72: "I don't think we'll see the course much easier than it was today."
Indeed. Augusta National will get firmer and tougher as the tournament progresses. Add increasingly difficult pin placements, and the winning score will likely end up in the 272-276 range as it has been the last couple of years.
Woe to anyone who may be feeling comfortable after the first round.
"I would say that's an inexperienced statement," said 2008 Masters champ Trevor Immelman.
As Heath Slocum -- another member of the even-par club on Thursday -- pointed out, the lack of rain in the forecast will allow tournament officials to basically dictate how they want Augusta National to play.
"They will have full control of how much moisture they want to put on (the greens)," Slocum noted, "so their target score -- they will dictate what they want."
Or, as 2009 champion Angel Cabrera said, "I'm sure the course is going to get more complicated."
SPANISH ARMADA: Earlier this week, Phil Mickelson paid tribute to ailing Seve Ballesteros at the champions dinner by putting Spanish cuisine on the menu. Unfortunately, Ballesteros was not able to attend, but the two-time Masters champ had plenty of well-wishers that night.
On Thursday, Spaniards Quiros and Sergio Garcia (3-under 69) found themselves on the front page of the leaderboard, another nice reminder of the legacy that Ballesteros created here with his first Masters win in 1980.
SPEAKING OF QUIROS: He has a new caddie this week, Gareth Lord, who used to caddie for Robert Karlsson. Asked about the timing of such a change during the week of a major, Quiros wasn't concerned. Obviously, there was no negative impact Thursday.
"I know that it's difficult to believe," Quiros said, then added, "Well, no, it's not difficult. Somebody who knows about golf will understand perfectly."
DON'T FORGET THE KOREANS: Tied for third at 5-under 67 are Y.E. Yang and K.J. Choi. Yang, of course, became the first Asian player to win a major when he overtook Tiger Woods to win the 2009 PGA Championship.
"It's a very good course for Koreans," Yang said. "It's atypical of a Korean course, so if you're on a good day, I think that it's to our advantage, really."
TOP TWO TROUBLES: The world's No. 1 player, Martin Kaymer, shot a 6-over 78; just four players shot worse scores on Thursday, and two of them play on the Champions Tour. Kaymer hit just six of 14 fairways and needed 35 putts (including two three-putts).
The young German has never made the cut in three previous Masters appearances, and he appears headed for the same fate Friday.
"It's just a shame," Kaymer said, sounding defeated. "It's obviously a huge tournament here and if it doesn't really suit your eye and you know that quite well, it's a little frustrating."
No. 2 Lee Westwood is in better shape after shooting 72, but he was headed to the practice green after his round. He missed a short par putt on the opening hole and could never get any sustained momentum.
"If you can't hole it out from four feet, you're going to struggle, aren't you?" Westwood said.
PHIL AND TIGER: Defending champ Phil Mickelson opened with a solid 2-under 70 after opting to change strategy and put just one driver in his bag (he said earlier this week he would use two drivers). "I didn't shoot myself out of it, but I didn't make up ground on the field the way I wanted to," Mickelson said, "so I've got to go do it tomorrow."
Tiger Woods signed for a 71, making birdie on just one of Augusta's four par 5s. "I'm right there in the ball game," Woods said. "I'm only six back."
INTERESTING STATISTIC: Ricky Barnes has played nine career rounds at Augusta National (2003 as an amateur; last year and this year as a pro). Seven times, he has finished that round inside the top 10 on the leaderboard, including Thursday as he stands tied for fifth with Matt Kuchar after shooting 68.
That top-10 rate of 78 percent is the highest percentage of any player since 2003.
"If you are going to play well out here, you are not going to live and die by playing the par 3s and par 4s well out here," Barnes said. "You have to cash in on some par 5s."
Barnes, naturally, birdied all four par 5s on Thursday.
PUTTING WOES: McDowell, the reigning U.S. Open champ, went through a six-hole stretch on Augusta's back nine in which he three-putted four greens. "Pace is my problem," he said after his 74 (a fairly miraculous score given his putting woes. "The first nine holes, I could barely get a putt to the hole. And then i sort of overreacted and started blasting everything on the back nine.
Dustin Johnson three-putted twice and missed a few short putts in matching McDowell's 74. "It seemed like I was putting downhill all day," he said.
FedExCup points leader Mark Wilson four-putted the eight hole, which he double-bogeyed en route to a 76. He said he missed his initial birdie putt from 10 feet, then missed a couple of three-footers after that. "Obviously, I got a little ahead of myself," Wilson said. "I was counting that birdie before I even hit."
SLOW PLAY: Normally the first group out can zip around the course on fresh greens and no groups ahead of them. But Thursday's first group of Ross Fisher, Jonathan Byrd and Sean O'Hair, teeing off at 7:45 a.m. ET, found themselves on the clock by the eighth hole.
After putting out on the ninth hole, Fisher was approached by officials who told him that he was taking too much time. After that, Fisher kept the pace situation in the back of his mind while finishing his 3-under 69.
"Obviously being the first group, it's our job to set the pace," Fisher said. "Unfortunately, we were a little bit behind to start it off, but I think we got around in good time."
MORE BAD NEWS: The Japanese continent at the Masters were again hit with news of another powerful earthquake in their homeland, this one registering 7.4 on the Richter scale. Combined with last month's earthquake that produced a devastating and deadly tsunami, worries about friends and family have taken its toll on the Japanese golfers playing in recent tournaments in the States.
"I understand that people, especially in Sendai, they are living in hell," said teenager Ryo Ishikawa after his 1-under 71, "and I would love to show the energy and power of what golf can bring to those people."
INJURY WOES: Tim Clark shot a 73 despite playing his first competitive round of golf in nearly three months because of tendinitis in his right elbow. He's taking anti-inflammatory medicine but "it's not working," he said.
"Not only is the elbow sore, but I have no strength in my shoulders and back because I haven't been able to use them, so that all just adds up," said Clark, who is now worried whether he'll be in shape to defend his PLAYERS Championship crown next month.
Meanwhile, three-time major winner Padraig Harrington is also a man who wondered whether he should even be on the course this week. Harrington said he nearly pulled out of the tournament this week because of a neck problem. He didn't ... and ended up shooting a 5-over 77.
"I couldn't keep my head in position at impact," Harrington said. "I had to come up on all my shots. And when you're doing that, you can hit it right and left."
Harrington said he was determined to play in Friday's second round, despite having very little chance of making the cut. "I've never failed to finish a tournament," he said.
SOLID COLORS: Rickie Fowler was decked out in all green, his apparel company Puma making him a special Masters wardrobe (he said it was a little lighter than the Masters green). And Bubba Watson was in all white, a look that he will continue in every round he plays this week.
Fowler, of course, will wear his traditional all orange on Sunday provided he makes the cut (he's in good shape after shooting 2 under). Asked if orange might clash with the Masters' Green Jacket, Fowler replied: "Nothing looks good with a a Green Jacket."
HOW ABOUT THE AMATEURS?: Six amateurs are in the field this week. David Chung, Hideki Matsuyama and Peter Uihlein each shot even-par 72, Jin Jeong shot 73, Nathan Smith shot 75 and Lion Kim shot 76.
Chung, Uihlein, Smith and Kim are flying the U.S. banner this week and will try to break the drought of American amateurs at this event. No American amateur has made the cut at the Masters since 2005
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Preparations are set to involve us sitting at the bar drinking pints of heineken and shouting at Tiger, Rory and co on the telly box. Meanwhile, Anneka from IJP Design was on to me just now to exclusively reveal what Sean Barry will be wearing during all four days of The Masters. Apparently Ian Poulter uses Barry as a good luck charm and sends over the exact same outfits (in XXXL of course) that he will be wearing during the tournament.
If you want to look like Ian Poulter or Sean Barry log on to www.ijpdesign.com.
You have to hand it to Ian Poulter, he gives good photos. These pics were posted on the Cobra Tour blog. They clearly show Poults during three different practice rounds IN THE PINE STRAW!!!! In the pic on the left our hero is responding to a shout of “Fore” from Tiger Woods in the group behind. You go business pro, you go!
Augusta is such a quaint little town, full of character, very similar to St. Andrews or Ballybunion. If you’re heading to the Masters here’s a couple of ideas for things to entertain you around the village within 100 meters of Magnolia Lane.
1. Try to Find the Entrance Game
Enjoy hours of family fun in your vehicle trying to find the famous entrance to Augusta. And even when you do the fun’s not over; trying to turn in there off the busy motorway is set to be one hell of a ride!
2. Car Spot at the Famous Bone Dry Roofing Centre
Ah yes, a trip to Augusta would not be complete without the traditional fare of standing across the road from the front entrance of Augusta National at the famous Bone Dry Roofing Centre Sign for a bit of car spotting. See if you can spot the mega-rich cars amongst the mega-poor cars on the road. Bonus points if the mega rich actually swing in the entrance!
3. Join the Freemasons
A nod here, a wink there and plenty of opportunity to brush up on your studies of morality through ritual, symbol and allegory. And oh yeah guaranteed Masters badges if you can manage to be accepted in to The Scottish Rite of Freemasons, 50 metres down the road. Coded tip of the cap to ya laddie!
4. Feeling Peckish For Some Religion
Hungry for some religion after visiting Augusta? Well we have so many latter day sects to choose from around here, but probably the most apt for golfers and only a lob wedge from the front gate is the “New Direction Christian Centre”. They will relieve you of your sins and a few dollars because the Priest news a new Bugatti and is planning a mega golf trip to Ireland later in the year.
Bronze: Tiger’s Chip In On The Par 3 16th in 2005
At the time Tiger could play any shot and when the chips were down he always seemed to produce the goods. Tiger chunked his chip away from the from the flag up the hill before the roll started to take it slowly down the slope. It trundled toward the flag, Stevie squatted in expectation, the Nike logo lingered for a second before the ball dropped in for a birdie. Woods went on to beat Chris DiMarco in a playoff.
Silver: Larry Mize Chip In For Playoff Win in 1987
Pro’s might get up and down one time out of ten from where Larry Mize ended up right of the green on the 11th during a playoff with Greg Norman. Everyone expected Mize to fill his pants when up against the shark but the local man played the shot of his life from about 50 yards which caught the lip, hugged and dropped in for his only Green Jacket.
Gold: Mickelson’s Shot From Trees on 13 in 2010
It was a shot that just was not on. Phil was snookered behind trees from the tee on 13 on pine straw. He imagined a gap and ripped it like thread through a needle. The ball barley carried the creek before jumping up beside the pin. The odd thing is that Phil only walked away with a birdie, but built the momentum from there for his third green jacket.
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
• 7:45 a.m./10:52 a.m. - Jonathan Byrd, Ross Fisher, Sean O'Hair
• 7:56 a.m./11:03 a.m. - Sandy Lyle, Alex Cejka, a-David Chung
• 8:07 a.m./1:14 a.m. - Jerry Kelly, Camilo Villegas, Jeff Overton
• 8:18 a.m./11:25 a.m. - Ben Crenshaw, Brandt Snedeker, Kevin Na
• 8:29 a.m./11:36 a.m. - Mark O'Meara, Anders Hansen, Heath Slocum
• 8:40 a.m./11:47 a.m. - Dustin Johnson, Adam Scott, Nick Watney
• 8:51 a.m./12:09 p.m. - Vijay Singh, Tim Clark, Aaron Baddeley
• 9:02 a.m./12:20 p.m. - Gregory Havret, Carl Pettersen, Ryan Palmer
• 9:14 a.m./12:31 p.m. - Martin Laird, Mark Wilson, Bo Van Pelt
• 9:24 a.m./12:42 p.m. - Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Jason Day
• 9:35 a.m./12:53 p.m. - Mike Weir, Hiroyuki Fujita, Retief Goosen
• 9:57 a.m./1:04 p.m. - Padraig Harrington, Ryo Ishikawa, Bill Haas
• 10:08 a.m./1:15 p.m. - Larry Mize, Rory Sabbatini, a-Jin Jeong
• 10:19 a.m./1:26 p.m. - Martin Kaymer, Lee Westwood, Matt Kuchar
• 10:30 a.m./1:37 p.m. - Hunter Mahan, Ernie Els, Francesco Molinari
• 10:41 a.m./1:48 p.m. - Tiger Woods, Graeme McDowell, Robert Allenby
• 10:52 a.m./1:59 p.m. - Arjun Atwal, Sergio Garcia, Robert Karlsson
• 11:03 a.m./7:45 a.m. - Charl Schwartzel, Stuart Appleby, Charley Hoffman
• 11:14 a.m./7:56 a.m. - Ian Woosnam, D.A. Points, Ben Crane
• 11:25 a.m./8:07 a.m. - Craig Stadler, Kevin Streelman, a-Nathan Smith
• 11:36 a.m./8:18 a.m. - Peter Hanson, Kyung-Tae Kim, Ryan Moore
• 11:47 a.m./8:29 a.m. - Angel Cabrera, Ian Poulter, David Toms
• 12:09 p.m./8:40 a.m. - Trevor Immelman, Lucas Glover, a-Hideki Matsuyama
• 12:20 p.m./8:51 a.m. - Zach Johnson, Y.E. Yang, Migual Angel Jimenez
• 12:31 p.m./9:02 a.m. - Jose Maria Olazabal, Davis Love III, a-Lion Kim
• 12:42 p.m./9:13 a.m. - Tom Watson, Ricky Barnes, Jason Bohn
• 12:53 p.m./9:24 a.m. - Fred Couples, Luke Donald, Steve Stricker
• 1:04 p.m./9:35 a.m. - Anthony Kim, Henrik Stenson, Steve Marino
• 1:15 p.m./9:57 a.m. - Bubba Watson, Paul Casey, Edoardo Molinari
• 1:26 p.m./10:08 a.m. - Stewart Cink, Jim Furyk, Yuta Ikeda
• 1:37 p.m./10:19 a.m. - Justin Rose, K.J. Choi, Louis Oosthuizen
• 1:48 p.m./10:30 a.m. - Phil Mickelson, Geoff Ogilvy, a-Peter Uihlein
• 1:59 p.m./10:41 a.m. - Jhonattan Vegas, Gary Woodland, Alvaro Quiros
Augusta Chairman Billy Payne announced that from next year 2012 the average joe can register for the lottery to buy practice-round tickets for the Masters on the Masters.com website. He also said a small number of daily tournament tickets will be available also. It is the first time in 47 years that daily tickets will be sold. Yes folks you heard right, 47 years!
The list of “patrons” who get tickets or “badges” has been closed since 1971 and opened again for five minutes in 2000 before closing again. The Masters ticketing is the biggest golf tournament for touts in the world.
Masters badges are like hens teeth. The face value of a four day badge is $200 but by the time the smelly old farts sell them on to the touts they go for over $3,000.
This announcement by Billy Payne is just a steaming pile of horse crap designed to divert attention from the blatent touting scam they preside over.
Lee Westwood says himself his game is in excellent shape coming into this weeks Masters. Not even a cockpit fire on Thursday on board his jet from Houston could phase the Englishman. He described the incident as a ‘bit scary’.
“The smoke was coming from the cockpit and they told us later they couldn't drop our masks because they feed oxygen into the cabin and if there was a fire it would have fanned the flames. The plane came down in a bit of a nose dive because you obviously have to get down as quick as you can. There had been a small fire somewhere in the instruments and we had the three fire tenders chasing us down the runaway, but I think that's just a precaution.”
No it wasn’t Rory Sabbatini or even Gary Player, the sound was actual chainsaws clearing up after a storm hit Augusta last night. PGA champ Martin Kaymer and fellow German Alex Cejka were delayed by 45 mins before their practice round.
The storms toppled trees and some power lines across Augusta but only minor damage to tree limbs was reported on the golf course.
What’s in the Bag 2012 Phil Mickelson
Poults has been busy ironing out a few creases ahead of the Masters on Thursday. His address position looks fairly bang on but that inverse C on his upper back is of some concern with just two days to go. Poults put in a good three hours yesterday on low heat, low steam and plans to finish off his preparation today with a little work on his shorts game.
We are celebrating Masters week with an extra special prize on the links in Ballylffin, County Donegal. Our winner will receive a fourball on the Old Links, overnight accommodation and a fourball the following day on the Glashedy course.
The Great North Links Challenge takes place over Ballyliffin, Royal Portrush and Portstewart on October 5-7th 2011- Teams of 4 compete over the three days for team and individual prizes- entry is only €175.Contact Ballyliffin for entry forms and further details. www.ballyliffingolfclub.com
To enter email your answer plus your name and address to email@example.com.
Question: Tiger Woods plays what brand of golf equipment?
Congrats to last weeks winner John Lonergan, Fermoy,Co.Cork who answered Phil Mickelson.
Mind Funk with Karl Morris
Darren’s Practice Drill
Last week we spoke about the importance of making your practice more difficult than the real game. A reader, Steve Kelly commented “We use to have to do something like this in hurling training we'd train with wet heavy sliotars so when you play a match with a new one you'd find it easier to hit. It did work.”
Many golf coaches talk about WORKING HARD, but it is usually judged in terms of time by the number of balls hit and standing on the range for hours. Well, anyone can make their hands bleed or get blisters on their feet by spending too much time practicing. The concept of hard practice here is making the TASK more difficult than the game. We need to move away from this archaic interpretation of what good practice is.
Far better we have a short practice session which is difficult in the way it is appropriate to your own golf, but builds mental and physical toughness by stretching the system in a way which leads to genuine self-confidence. Just consider now how you could make a portion of your practice more difficult than the game.
One of the players I have worked with for many years is Darren Clarke who loves to play a short game drill called ‘Par 18’
The simple short game drill which has you playing 9 par twos from differing locations around the green BUT (and this is the most important part) you MUST write down your score at the end of the session. You can take Par 18 to a different level in that if you score 21 or better, you play the game again but this time, with two balls! Taking the worst ball score of the two balls for a further 9 holes. If you shoot 21 or better with the two balls, you get to play the game again this time with 3 balls!
As you can see, with this system you NEVER stop making the game more difficult. The better you get at the game the harder it becomes. Remember, you are only allowed to play par 18 once in any given day unless you shoot 21 or better. Take to heart and emblazon it on your soul the key concept of making practice more difficult than the game. I absolutely guarantee that this way each time you go out to work on your game, you will be stressing your system and the system will respond by becoming STRONGER.
Karl Morris is one of Europe’s leading MIND COACHES, delivering cutting edge methods of peak performance and goal achievement to a range of clients across sports and business. From the world of golf, he has worked with players such as 2010 US Open Champion Graeme McDowell, 2010 Open Champion Louis Oosthuizen, Darren Clarke, David Howell, Lee Westwood, Paul McGinley, Richard Finch, Phil Archer, US Open Champion Alison Nicholas and Trish Johnson.
It’s Masters week and I can just smell the magnolias. Yes there’s more than golf to be had down South with pretty flowers, green jackets and bikini waxed greens all in glorious 3D. At least that is the image the “patrons” at Augusta want the television audience to see. Chairman of Augusta Billy Payne and his green blazered soldiers are determined to insure that their little outpost, situated in the middle of a run down neighbourhood in Augusta Georgia, remains a modern day plantation as the world around them gets on with getting on.
So it’s pretty understandable that GMac and Ian Poulter’s little behind the scenes movies shot on their iphones inside Augusta did not go down well with the suits. Our embedded pro’s posted them on twitter only to be immediately hit with a strongly worded slap on the wrists and a request to desist from video phone use from an Augusta National spokesman.
It’s not as if the videos exposed much. Poulter’s film just depicts the inside of the locker room. Maybe they were worried one of the lockers might spring open to reveal some anti women golfer placards and Ku Klux Clan conical hats? I’m with the lads, it was just a bit of harmless fun. For most of us, the only chance we’ll ever get to play Augusta National is on the playstation. I personally think it’s a bit rich coming from an organization whose allocation of tickets or “badges” as they call them in Augusta is the greatest ticket tout scandal in the world, where old fogies that signed up for badges in the 70’s, still sell on to the same touts every year for a ball of dollars.
I love golf and the tournament that’s played on the fabulous Augusta National course but I will always have my doubts about what goes on around the mahogany tables in the Butler Cabin. It isn’t a wet week since they had all black caddies and their attitude towards women players remains frankly disgusting. However for all their idiosyncrasies the green jacket brigade still thrives and there’s no argument, it’s one hell of a Major.
So who had the last laugh, Ian Poulter or Billy Payne? Poults of course when he tweeted “Looks like I will be taking next week off now. No Masters for me and Graeme_McDowell, was it worth it.” On the first of April!
Flexibility in Calf
With the Masters starting on Thursday this is the time of year where a lot of club golfers dust off their clubs and head off to the golf course for their first game of the year. Generally playing after a long lay off can leave some parts of your body a little stiff the next day. Walking on a soft hilly terrain such as a golf course can leave your calf muscles stiff and sore especially if you have not done it in a while! Having better flexibility in your calf is of vital importance for mobility in your lower leg.
Half Kneeling Calf Stretch
Get into a half kneeling position with your right knee down and left foot forward. Holding onto the head of your golf club place the grip of the club four inches forward of your big toe and hold the club vertically. Keeping your back straight and heel on the ground lunge forward trying to get your knee to touch the club. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds and switch legs. Do this daily and you will notice a huge difference in power and mobility in your lower leg and stability in your stance without any of that niggling post round stiffness.
With top Irish amateur and TPI certified fitness instructor Robbie Cannon of Harrington Golf. To book a session call Robbie on 086-6002432. Video Of This Exercise Coming Soon.
And the winner of a fabulous fourball in Dromoland Castle is……
John Lonergan, Fermoy,Co.Cork
Congratulations. Your voucher will be sent in the post. Enjoy your game!
Monday, April 4, 2011
Check out Stacy Lewis’s mother Janet (highlighted) jumping into Poppy’s Pond after her daughter won the Kraft Nabisco Title on the LPGA Tour. One second after this pic was snapped, Janet’s leg snapped in three feet of water. Health and safety hazard is that pond, I always said it was only a matter of time until someone came a cropper. It’s okay though, Janet’s going to be okay after her epic golf fail. The Fountains of Wayne are considering releasing an alternate version of “Stacy’s Mon” as a tribute.
Betting Preview And Tips: The Masters 2011
Phil Mickelson 13/2
Phil’s driving the ball out of sight and he if can tighten up on his accuracy this week and continue to putt well, there’s nobody to match him. Winner of the Houston Open last week and veteran of 18 Masters Mickelson will start as the bookies favourite. Wins in 2004, 2006 and 2010 aside, Phil has amassed 10 other top-10’s at Augusta including four third place finishes. Hold on to your hats folks it going to be a roller coaster with Lefty but whatever happens you’ll enjoy the ride.
Nick Watney 18/1
It seems inevitable that one of the young guns is going to bag a major this year and of those Nick Watney is the most in form. This will be Watney’s fourth Masters, he’s never been outside the top 20 and scored a seventh place finish last year thanks in the main to a Sunday 65. Mister consistency has had four top 10’s from five strokeplay events this year including a win at the WGC Cadillac in mid March. Much fancied by the bookies.
KJ Choi 66/1
The likeable Korean has not won on Tour since the 2008 Sony Open but always remains a decent each way bet for the Masters. The lowest iron he carries in his bag is a 6-iron but that didn’t stop him finishing sixth last time out at Arnie’s event in Bay Hill. Choi contended well into Sunday at last years Masters before slipping into a tie for fourth. Knows the track inside out and what it’s like to be in the shakeup having had a best result of third in 2004. Should be around the 7/1 mark “to finish in the top 10”, I’ll be having a little piece of that.
Justin Rose 35/1
I’d imagine Justin Rose is pumped at returning to Augusta having not got an “invite” last year. The Englishman has had a mixed bag in his five attempts to date but did register a tied fifth finish in 2007. Excellent recent form too tying fifth at the Transitions and third at Bay Hill last time out. The last European to put on the green jacket was Olazabal in 1999, so no pressure Justin. Look for “Top European” odds for Rose on Thursday before the start, you should get some value there.
Anthony Kim 40/1
With only one top 10 this season to date, the odds are generous on Anthony Kim doing any damage at Augusta but I saw enough in his 13th place finish when defended in Houston last week to give him the nod. Kim still lacks consistency but a Friday 64 at Redstone indicates he can go low. He can also do when it really matters too, who can forget that brilliant final round 65 last year to give him third.
Best Of The Rest
Hunter Mahan (25/1) has top 10’d the past two years at Augusta and knows how to win big events having bagged the WGC Bridgestone last season. Yet to enter the winner’s enclosure in 2011 but came mighty close at Pebble Beach finishing second to add to three other top 10’s . Past champ Trevor Immelman (75/1) comes into this week having had his best finish for some time at Bay Hill two weeks ago and it will be interesting to see if the 2008 winner can contend again in this his ninth tilt at the title.
The US Masters 2011 Betting Preview and Tips
Mickelson Oils up for Masters with victory in Shell
Sunday, April 3, 2011
From European Tour
A birdie at the second extra hole saw David Horsey overcome Rhys Davies and Jaco Van Zyl in a three-man play-off to win the Trophée Hassan II in Agadir. After a final round full of tension, incredible drama at the final hole sent the trio to extra holes in Morocco. Defending champion Davies and England’s Horsey – who had a hole in one at the second – exchanged blows all day at the top of the leaderboard. With one to play, Horsey was one ahead of the Welshman and two clear of Van Zyl, but took five from the middle of the fairway and six in total. His double bogey left Davies a four footer for the win, but inexplicably one of The European Tour’s finest putters ran it two feet past. Having gone into the bunker when they replayed the 18th, Horsey had to make a fine eight foot clutch putt to stay in it after Davies missed a third putt to win - this time from 20 feet. Horsey pushed his approach right again on his third trip down the last, but rather than find the bunker he caught the bank on the edge of the green and rolled to three feet - and this time he made no mistake.
Final Round Highlights
Click on pic to view final round highlights from the European Tour website.