- By Doc
The sun is shining, the weather is perfect, the magnolias are fully in bloom and it is April in Augusta, Georgia. That’s right golf fans…..it is time for the 2016 edition of The Masters and I am BEYOND stoked. As many of you know this is considered by many to be the best event on the PGA Tour all year and I couldn’t agree more. The atmosphere, the competition, the prestige of winning an elite prize…..the Green Jacket.
I know many of you are interested in some event toward the end of April that has involved a bunch of non-scientific wild ass guesses, commonly referred to as “mock drafts”, but I assure you that this is going to be significantly more exciting than who is going #1 overall…..come on we all know it is going to Tunsil to Tennessee.
So is it going to be Scott, Day, McIlroy, Watson or could Spieth find a way to repeat? Well in one word…NO. The most dangerous player to hoist up a green jacket this year is; drum roll please………………….Phil Mickelson. Phil “The Thrill” Mickelson, or as some fans lovingly call him “Lefty”, has the best chance because his mind set and skill set are finally on “Par” (pun for you there J-rod) to succeed at Augusta.
This last week at the Shell Houston Open, Mickelson did not win the tournament but as we watched him navigate the course Phil seemed to be playing shots and setting himself up for eerily similar shots that are commonly seen at Augusta. Mickelson even went so far as to work on hitting the driver in more situations that he has historically suggesting a more aggressive mind set for the upcoming major. Mickelson is also finding his putting stroke which is unparalleled by any of the rest of the field. Lefty can find himself in the thick of things with the flat stick and with his experience (3 time Masters Champion) he is sure to figure into the final group on Sunday afternoon in the setting Georgia sun.
Ok so since I have shared my unequivocal love affair, “bro-mance” with Lefty, the question then becomes who is my biggest surprise and “Dark Horse”. For the biggest surprise I am going to have to go against my typical cheerleading behavior and say Jordan Spieth will not finish in the top 10. Spieth has played A LOT of tournaments already this year (mainly in Asia / Europe) and has overextended himself in my humble yet correct opinion. I have also seen Jordan lose his cool on a couple of occasions (a la Tiger Woods minus the club throwing and hitting spectators) and Augusta is NOT the place to lose your head or your composure……paging Rory McIlroy. Anywho, the defending Masters champion fails to repeat and even worse fails to break the top 10.
The “Dark Horse” prediction is an interesting pick. I am going with Bill Haas. Haas (son of former PGA great Jay Haas) has played in plenty of big tourneys and has even won a FedEx Cup. Haas has all the skills and probably more importantly the course management knowledge to make a run at the 2016 title. Haas will struggle with his length off the tee and will have to find ways to get into red numbers (below par for you non-golf fans) early on to build his confidence. Haas’ Achilles heel has been his putting at times. If he gets the “Texas wedge” (nickname for putter) going and can find the fairway off the tee Haas could have himself a very nice week and weekend.
So there you have it sportsfans…..winner, biggest surprise and “Dark Horse” straight from my keyboard to your ears. Now while I don’t expect you all to run out to Vegas and lay thousands of dollars on the line, I believe an adult beverage with crisp taste and just the right amount of carbonation is due when my predictions come true. On the other hand, if they are miserably wrong I cannot be held responsible….after all I am simply never wrong and it must be a problem with the tournament.
As always, carry on smartly cadets and I’ll see you in the fairway……FORE!!