In what is slowly becoming an annual tradition, I have decided to post my ramblings on The Masters golf tourney throughout the day. Today is Day 3, Moving Day!
Updates will appear on the top of this post!
4:25pm: The roller coaster results in a car crash. 2 double bogeys on the backside leaves Jordan just one shot up on good ol Smylie Kaufman going into Sunday. Here is how I see the first page of the leaderboard breaking down on Sunday:
Currently tied 5th and Even:
Danny Willet: His mind is understandable on his pregnant wife and while he is close I don't think it is year.
Dustin Johnson: Will come out firing, everyone will get excited and then he will blow it on the backside.
Jason Day: Was missing greens at the WGC event and is missing them here. Insanely long but if he can't hold the green on the second shot, he can't win.
Currently tied 3rd at -1:
Langer: The star of the senior tour, 2 green jackets. If anyone has the experience and the skill to win tomorrow, its him. I predict 2nd or 4rd tops.
Matsuyama: Always solid, always seemingly in the top 10. Yet he is up and down this week at the Masters. He doesn't have many red hot runs and I don't think he wins.
Currently 2nd at -2:
Smylie Kaufman: Sure he is playing in his first Masters and sure Nantz made him feel like a 10 year old but Smylie has game, forged on the Web.com tour and a proven winner on the PGA. If Jordan falters early, Smylie takes it.
Currently 1st at -3:
Yes he has led every round since 2015. Yes he makes clutch birdie putts and par saves. However, can anyone honestly tell me they feel good about Jordan going into tomorrow despite all this history? The last 2 days have been rough on him and he has been lucky to go out and shoot that 66 the first day. It gave him the cushion he needed but that cushion is gone. Jordan is my favorite current golfer and I will be rooting hard for him tomorrow but if he doesn't step on the gas like he did on the front side on Thursday and Friday, I think he will start getting antsy on the backside, yelly at Greller and perhaps lose the tourney.
Safe prediction: Jordan wins by 2 in a nailbiter.
Bold prediction: Smylie takes it making everyone press "ignore all" on their spell checks.
Crazy prediction: DJ who no one has talked about eagles 13 and 15 and takes it.
3:50pm: Separation, separation, separation. Jordan birdies a bunch and makes clutch pars and is four up on the field. Considering how tough Augusta is playing this year, 4 strokes is a lot. Of course, Jordan just puts his tee shot into the trees. The Roller Coaster continues!
3:30pm: What a difference 45 minutes makes. Jordan rolls in a must make par putt and then roles in a beauty for birdie. Guys are making up ground (like Langer, Day and Matsuyama) but Jordan has a chance here to step on the gas and put some separation between him and field tomorrow. Separation is key because if Jordan keeps being fidgety and surly out there on Sunday, that is going to be problematic with a tight field.
2:45pm: When Jordan was winning all of those tournaments last year, part of the reason he did was because he never had a blow up round or hole. He was playing 4 good rounds and not taking himself out with doubles or triples on a given hole. Jordan made mistakes but the key word is mitigation. He always scrambled and saved par or bogey at worse.
This year has been very different to say the least. Shooting doubles and triples, shooting 79 at the Northern Trust, etc. On 11 he made double, bringing himself back to the field. He then followed it up with a birdie on 12. Last year was speedbumps, this year is a rollercoaster. The question heading into Sunday is, can Jordan even things out to close it out? If he continues to double and triple, he can't survive the downs at a course life this. Of course, he is Mr. Bounceback but it is a worrying trend for tomorrow and the rest of the year.
2:05 Masters Wrist Schwag update! I wondered to myself, self, what is the situation with Masters-themed watches.
The Masters makes a different watch every year, although only available on Ebay. They look sweet but whoa boy are they expensive ($300-400 a pop)!
Also in poking around the interwebs I found a great Masters-inspired watch from Etiqus
What a world we live in!
1:30pm: Putting, we all do it but most of us practice our drives rather than our putts. If guys like Sneds and Spieth have shown us through 2.5 rounds at Augusta, they are contending due to the flat stick not the driver. You can muck it up tee to green but if you are steely with the putts you still can score.
1:00pm: Saturday is typically called moving day on the PGA Tour. Its usually the day the pins are in their friendliest positions, the day the tee boxes and other elements that going into a golf course are maximized for their scoring possibilities. This is when a middle-of-the-pack guy can get into contention and put heat on the leaders. It just isn't happening today at Augusta.
There are 4 guys on the first page of the leaderboard who are under par and one of them is Jordan, the leader! At most all I am seeing is -1's with no one throwing a 66 or better up. Not that they could, Augusta with the wind is a mighty tough test of golf and I think if you offered any of the leaders an even round they would take it. It will be interesting to see what the powers that be decide to do for the setup on Sunday given that lower winds are predicted. Will they set it up for the guys to go low or will this be a "hold on for dear life" tourney?
12:20pm: What did we do before cable? Not only that but what did we do before DirecTV? Having multiple channels showing the Masters (heck other majors and select PGA events) is a dream come true, especially if Nantz gets to be too much for you. I am a fan.
11:45am: Ok FINALLY the leaders are about to tee off, coverage is about to begin on TV (and DirecTV begins its multichannel coverage). Given what we have seen so far today, very windy, players coming up short, etc. who do I think benefits from the weather conditions? Well that has to be Brandt Snedeker.
He put in the round of the decade at Torrey Pines going 8+ shots better than the rest of the field on a Sunday-Monday finish. He deserved that win like few others I have seen in awhile and if everyone ends up in the even to +2 category, then look out for Brandt coming in a -1 or -2 and being tied for the lead at the end of the day.
11:10am: Schwag update! Growing up I always had a fondness for bucket hats. This put me in line with many a Masters patron as bucket hats seem to be very much a standard fashion statement over the years. As I have never gone to the Masters, I have not participated in Masters Bucket Hat schwag but I have the next best thing, a Criquet hat!
Decked out in Augusta's colors, this limited edition bucket hat fits me perfectly and gets me into the Masters mood. What are y'all wearing while watching the Masters this weekend? Here is some info about Criquet: https://www.criquetshirts.com/
10:30am: There is a bit of a lull in the Masters broadcast. Watching guys who were back of the pack not making up any ground and just going about their day. With the leaders teeing off in an hour or two, it might be time to read up on some great stories about Augusta, courtesy of Jay Busbee:
9:50am: Too good of a picture not to post from Golf.com
It's windy out there!
9:10am: Knox FINALLY comes into view on Amen corner. According to Twitter sources he is all square with Bubba through 10. My day will be made if Knox goes 1-2 up through the Corner.
Of course Knox promptly puts one in the water but with Bubba in the back sandtrap anything could happen, including a 10 which made just a few years ago.
8:30am: The wind is really starting to gust which makes this links hound happy. You can actually see sand start to blow out of the bunkers! Adam Scott on 2 with the wind, hit it 300+. Adam Scott into the wind on the next hole hit it about 275.
Most PGA courses are rather boring parkland affairs that these guys can carve up and shoot 20 under. A course with some teeth in it due to conditions, I am all about it!
8:00am: One of the things I like to collect from golf courses (especially those I can only play once or infrequently) are yardage books. Through hook or by crook I actually scored one for Augusta National! If I ever win the Masters online ticket lottery and go there, this baby will be in my back pocket as I follow around the players. It is also great to use when watching online and if you can find one on the Ebays or otherwise, I highly recommend picking one up!
7:30am: Even though we are in a coverage blackout at the moment, you can track the scoring online at Masters.com: http://www.masters.com/en_US/scores/index.html Everyone is talking about Rory and Jordan going head to head today but the group I am most anxious to see is Bubba Watson and his marker Jeff Knox (who went toe to toe with Rory in 2014 and beat him over 18). I like certain golfers and dislike others but today I am ACTIVELY rooting for Knox.
Knox has such an online following that No Laying Up has created perhaps the tweet of the tourney which you can view here: https://twitter.com/NoLayingUp/status/718801482968088576
More importantly I hope this all happens with the online coverage, fingers crossed!
6:55am: Good morning! I am tired but happy I get to spend my weekend watching golf from the comfort of my couch. I have to scrounge up some sweet tea and pimento cheese somewhere to get truly into the spirit of things. As we wait for the featured groups to get underway in an hour or so, its time to check with the golf writers to see what their thoughts are through two days at the Masters:
Shane Bacon has a things he loved/didn't write-up that is pretty spot on: http://www.foxsports.com/golf/story/masters-jordan-spieth-bryson-dechambeau-phil-mickelson-jason-day-ernie-els-040816
Geoff Shackelford has gathered an impressive number of links for your reading pleasure: http://www.geoffshackelford.com/homepage/2016/4/8/2016-masters-day-two-this-and-that.html
Stephanie Wei has some great quotes from the leaders prior to tee off: http://www.weiunderpar.com/?p=44277
All images poorly photographed from Golf.com Masters.com/CBS are their property and their use herein is for commentary and criticism purposes only and no rights are claimed to the copyright thereto.