Friday, April 8, 2011

Day 1 at Augusta

A wonderful start to the first major of the season. Rory McIlroy and Alvaro Quiros fire 65's (7-under par), with K.J Choi and Y.E. Yang coming in with 67's to be two shots back after 18 holes.

The low Americans on day one were Matt Kuchar and Ricky Barnes who came home with 68's (4-under), on a day when the winds were relatively calm, and sun splashed the Augusta National layout. I'm a golfer, so to me, this is one of the great weeks of the year. The best players in the world on one of the most dramatic pieces of real estate on the planet.

What to make of this leaderboard? Well, the foreign contingent means business, for one. Plenty of players not representing the red, white and blue find themselves behind a wonderfully talented group of players from all corners of the globe, making this a true representation of the state of the game. American golf isn't failing, but it is certainly being pushed to new limits, and thus, in the end, new heights.

Tiger Woods kinda shoved it around the place to open at 1-under, 71. Sounds dull, but given his history of not starting fast there, it's better than the norm for him. Sitting 6 back of the lead means he is still in it, but truth be told, this isn't the dominant Tiger. This is the new Tiger, the lost one, still searching to find his game after a 2010 he would rather forget. I don't want to count him out of this championship yet, but it is hard to put him in the "favorites" category, considering he hasn't been one for the longest stretch of his career.

Phil Mickelson opened slowly as well, an erratic driver keeping him from making a charge on day one, but he has 3 hammers with him, and may likely carry 2 starting in the 2nd round. Lefty was his typical brilliant self around the greens, and he had to be, as his tee shots let him down horribly on day one. Unlike today's Tiger, Phil can find a way to turn the negative into a positive, so expect him to start heating up on Friday. He went way below deck in Houston last week, and can do it again.

By the time late Sunday afternoon rolls around, I would expect the that green jacket to rest on the shoulders of the player that posts a score of 14-under par. Knowing that lead is 7-under now, 14 is my choice because the folks at Augusta can make those greens behave badly. The chatter around Augusta is that the weather should hold, save for a possible shower here or there, so if the Augusta folks want the greens faster, they can get them there.

Any way you slice it, it still makes for a wonderful start to the real golf season.

Tim Baier will take you through the weekend on Sports Night, I'll see you back on Monday!

Mike Solarte


Atlanta Roofing said...

It does not matter to me if Tiger wins or lose... I am enjoying the fun and excitement Tiger's play put into the Masters. Can't wait for Sunday.

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