Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Who's playing in Tiger's sandbox?

The best golfers in the world are in Augusta, GA for the Masters this week, and they are about to be reminded that their time has expired.

The time they could run around the world, collecting trophies, oversized checks, and various sport coats in different patterns and colors.

Tiger is back.

Yeah, I know he's played 3 events this season, but THIS is the one he was aiming for. Tiger is after one for the thumb...or whatever the equivalent of five green jackets in.

Tiger Woods shoved it around in his first appearance of 2009, the match play championship. Lasted 2 matches, before being knocked out by Tim Clark. He then, as he put it, "back doored" a top 10 finish at Doral. Bay Hill...well, that was special. Woods is back to being himself, and that makes him the odds-on favorite to win this week.

Hate Nation says that's a bad thing--it's boring when Tiger wins. Well, TV ratings suggest otherwise. Tiger in contention means numbers. Tiger at the top of the leaderboard, or at least in the hunt, means exposure for the game.

Sure, I'm not going out on a limb with a "Tiger wins the Masters" prediction, but what kind of prognosticator would I be (and don't mention my NCAA bracket), if I didn't throw out a potential dark horse?

My dark horse coming into this Masters? Tim Clark. Yes, he won the Par 3 contest on Wednesday, which has been the kiss of death--no player has ever won the Par 3 contest AND the green jacket in the same week, but Clark has been close before. He's a solid player who has paid his dues, and now it's time for him to get that breakthrough victory.

Or it will be Tiger.

Mike Solarte

No comments: