Larry Canning: The Masters … bloomin’ marvellous

 

By Larry Canning.

Aaah yes! The Azaleas are blooming, Crab Apples thriving and the green keeper is in hospital with hay-fever.   

Yes readers it’s the month in between March and May and for golf and sports fans across the world that makes it… April!

It seems like forever since we had our last “Grand Slam” fix. Eight months ago to be exact, we watched in awe how Justin Thomas kept his calm to win his first major, while Jason Day lost his karma on the 18th on Saturday with a quadruple bogey in the PGA Championship.

It began as the Augusta National Invitation Tournament and has been losing syllables ever since to where it is now simply named “The Masters”. Seems like there’s a pattern with this don’t you think? I know not every American Major leaves the “US” off the front of the name but this is clearly only because the R&A beat them to it.

Augusta National has been described as one of the most, if not THE most gorgeous golf course on the planet but underneath its serene beauty lies a beguiling, untrustworthy siren who will turn on the world’s best players at the drop of a Srixon cap.

We’ve seen majestic long irons slide off evil shaped greens into the nearby drink, beautifully struck pitch shots land next to the pin only to spin back into the hazard and even putts roll sideways clean off the green and back down a fairway leaving a bemused Professional placing the cover back on his putter while he asks his caddy for a yardage to get back onto the green.

So who can stay ahead of Augusta’s tricks and treachery and stand in that whacky “Butler” bungalow on Sunday arvo while Sergio tries his best to slip a green jacket onto his shoulders?

At the time of writing this Dustin Johnson is still ranked Number One on the Earth which really should be enough to give him favouritism at Augusta. But it’s his crazy length from the tee, newly acquired ability to control his distances as well as a putting stroke as smooth as my real estate agent that has him as firm favourite for me.

At the beginning of the year, I thought Rory McIlroy was going to be unbackable to win. His 2nd and 3rd place finishes in in Europe in January looked like he was back to his best stuff and on his way to complete the career grand slam. He followed this with form in the States which has resembled mine at Mt Broughton  where I haven’t even made the ball rundown for that long I’m having a serious perv at the “8 for $10 basket”.  As Rory often does though, he turned all that around in the space of 18 holes when he devoured Bay Hill Golf course with a carnivorous 64 to claim the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the right to be one of the favourites for the Masters.

Phil Mickelson and Bubba Watson …… have more Green Jackets in their closets than undies!

Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas can clearly play their pellets plus Jason Day and Jon Rahm are winners this year but it’s the Lefties I see as really dangerous. When you watch Phil Mickelson and Bubba Watson play this golf course it just makes perfect sense that between them, they have more Green Jackets in their closets than undies! It just looks so much easier to fade the ball around those doglegs than try and hook your driver all week without accidentally overdoing it and winding up in a log cabin.  

For a couple of roughies, it’s probably a little harsh to call them that, but according to the bookies Tommy Fleetwood, Marc Leishman and Alex Noren are only good enough to be $34, $51 and $61 respectively.

Sergio Garcia ecstatic with his 2017 US Masters victory

Which brings me to one Eldrick, Tont, Tiger Woods. Its little wonder Earle Woods realised how out of touch with the 21st century names like Eldrick and Tont would be and threw the name Tiger in the mix.  I mean, Eldrick is something you call a vintage car made in the 1930’s isn’t it?

And Tont?? What is that? Sounds like something you order at a pub in Wales. Anyway, Tiger as we now him is one of the best things that’s ever happened to the game of golf and having him back on the leaders board is just flat out brilliant!

They say Tiger has lost his intimidation affect and the young brigade of brilliant players who have won majors without him, have said how much fun it would be to draw him in the last group of a major.

I look forward to watching that “fun” especially when it gets down to the wire on Sunday afternoon and they’re trying to beat the greatest competitor this game has ever seen.

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