Home' Australian Golf Digest : April 2018 Contents 68 australiangolfdigest.com.au | april 2018
ASSESSING THE FAVOURITES
teacher I like the top players at Augusta,
but it depends on the weather to an extent.
Last year the weather let Rose and Garcia into
contention. I don’t like Ror y, though. His putting
is terrible. He’s got the yips. And his wedge play
is awful, too. Jason Day had been awful for a
while [before winning a playoff at Torrey Pines
for his first tour victor y since 2016]. Stenson’s
not going to win. Hideki can’t win because
he can’t putt. I don’t see a guy who can’t putt
winning two years in a row. It could happen,
but only if the weather is tough. None of those
guys can win an 18-under-par Masters. Sergio
[who won a playoff after finishing at nine-under
last year] certainly couldn’t. So we’re down to
Jordan Spieth [right], Justin Thomas and Dustin
Johnson. Koepka [coming off a wrist injur y] isn’t
good enough, although he is oppor tunistic. He’s
a basher – the 21st-century pro who plays great
three times a year. Then again, he’s oblivious
– like Dustin – and that works out well for him.
That’s cruel, but true. I like Rickie Fowler, but his
problems are mental. He could be like Sergio
and just eventually win one when no one expects
teacher Tiger has inspired a generation of
guys who have all become savages. Look at Jon
Rahm. He has a backswing and downswing like
Trevino. He has a great shor t game. He expects
to make ever y putt. He’s like a long Trevino
– good luck. You’ve got Dustin, who can win
playing bad because he’s still better than most
guys when they’re good.
multiple winner on tour Ever yone points at
Ror y’s wedge play and the ball he uses, but it’s
the same one Dustin uses, and his wedge play
former tour pro My heart says Rory if he
tidies up his putting and wedge play. He has
technical issues in both. He’s so “trapped” with
his shor t irons. He leans on the shaft so much,
and the ball comes out on a different flight and
spin every time, so it flies a different distance
ever y time and reacts differently when it lands.
broadcaster We’ve seen the caddie change
[by McIlroy last year]. I’m still hoping he drags
Billy Foster onto his bag. They would be great
together. Billy would be strong enough to
say “no” to Rory when required. Also, Billy
is funny, and that would keep Rory light.
tour caddie Patience is huge. If you start to
make mistakes, you star t to chase – like Ror y
did in 2011 – and end up making more and
more mistakes. I don’t think he would make that
same mistake now. He has the ideal game for
teacher Spieth does stand out on that course.
His shor t putting is a problem, though. No one
says it, but those are yips, and they’re back.
There’s a reason Jordan looks at the hole. He
missed three putts inside 21⁄2 feet at the Hero.
They were all blocks to the right. That’s the
big question in his game, but only shor t-term.
Jordan’s like Langer, who has had yips his
whole career but is still a great putter. Jordan’s
resourceful and not scared to try things. He’s
got an issue, but he’ll find a way to putt well.
Rory’s pretending there’s nothing wrong. He’s
not even close to figuring it out.
teacher If Jordan’s capability on a given day
is 68-72, he shoots 69, not 71 or 72. He makes
more 15 to 25-foot putts than anyone, and you
get a lot of those at Augusta.
teacher DJ can’t turn it over well enough.
He can hit it left to right all day, but the doglegs
going the other way will find him out.
major champion If Bubba finds some form
in the first half of the year, he’s one of the clear
favourites. He loves the course. Hideki carries
such a weight of expectation in every Major.
Dustin won’t notice any of that, of course. The
big question mark over all of those guys –
except Jordan – is, can they putt well enough to
win? He’s the only one who beats you with his
putter. Justin Rose isn’t going to. Nor is Sergio.
Adam Scott, no. Jason Day might.
teacher I question the size of Fowler’s hear t.
Right now, his swing has to be completely on
for it to work. He relies so much on rhythm and
timing – the things that go under pressure.
tour caddie Rickie plays well there and always
seems to have a chance. I want to see what
Dustin can do [after missing the 2017 Masters
with an injury].
teacher I like lefties – Mickelson. They have a
big advantage on that course.
former tour pro Few are better tee to green
than Tommy Fleetwood. So all he has to do is
putt well. The same with Justin Thomas.
tour caddie Everyone points at how
important the chipping is, but Westy [Lee
Westwood] has done well there, albeit without
pulling on a jacket. You can play ’round it, if you
hit the ball well enough. The most important
thing on the greens is speed. Westy has that,
which is why his record is surprisingly good.
He doesn’t make a lot of putts, but he doesn’t
three-putt often, either.
former tour pro If I look at all of the top
players, they all have par ts of Tiger in his prime,
but none of them have it all. They all have an
ON EACH HOLE
In 78 Masters rounds, Woods is under
par on half the holes and over par on
the remaining nine, for a career scoring
average of 70.86:
Par 5s: 150-under par
Par 3s: 28-over par
Par 4s: 33-over par
others know Tiger makes mistakes.
Back in the day, he didn’t. Which
made the others make mistakes.
multiple winner on tour
I hit balls next to him [at Torrey
Pines]. The thing I like about Tiger
– we’re the same age, so I’ve known
him forever – is that he seems very
relaxed. I played in front of him,
and it was incredible, the crowd.
My point being, he seems like he’s
spending more time with the fans,
signing autographs, and at 42 years
old and arguably the best player
to ever play, he’s just enjoying it.
And if he’s happier, he’ll probably
multiple winner on tour Tiger
is more ruthless than any of the
younger lads. I hope he comes back
as the son-of-a -bitch he was before
all his problems, which would be a
great contrast to the “man romance”
we see in so many top players now.
7/3/18 2:19 pm
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