Thursday, April 03, 2008

Masters picks who aren't Tiger or Phil

As an official member of the golf media, there are certain rules that must be obeyed.

One is to never wear an article of clothing that includes the logo of the tournament you’re currently covering (i.e. wearing Shell Houston Open attire at the Shell Houston Open is, to use a golf term, out of bounds though it’s well within the rules at, say, the Memorial Tournament).

There are only two exceptions to the logo rule.

One goes into effect next week where it is officially OK to wear Masters stuff at the Masters because, well, it’s the Masters and the rules are just different there.

The second exception is if you spill enough mustard on your regular shirt and you have to go buy a shirt, that’s OK - but only for a couple of hours.

Then there’s the rule about no cheering in the press room, which is standard operating procedure anywhere scribblers and mini-cams gather for a contest. The idea is to be fair and impartial, or at least pretend to be.

However, we all have our soft spots (or most of us do anyway), which leads to this list of players I would love to see win the Masters next week. I have not included Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson because everyone wants to see them in the final pairing on Sunday and they’re on every list anyway.

Feel free to chime in with your own list if you want (I know there’s a spot to do that if you make it to the bottom of this blog and are computer savvy enough to add a comment).

Here’s my list of five guys I’d like to see win this year and yes, it would include Davis Love III if he were eligible. As a matter of full disclosure, every year that the Augusta Chronicle newspaper has asked me to pick a winner (it asks a lot of writers), I’ve picked Davis, explaining that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

5. Sean O’Hair: We’re all familiar with the story of his abusive father and how O’Hair emerged as a genuinely good guy with a ton of talent. We keep looking for the best young American player and it could be O’Hair. And the way Augusta brings out the emotion, imagine the story of him winning.

4. Charles Howell III: The hometown kid has been good but not great so far. In fairness, he didn’t have any warm-up time. He arrived on the PGA Tour with enormous expectations thrust upon him and he’s built a solid but not yet spectacular career. We’re still waiting for the big moment and they don’t get any bigger than the Masters, especially for a kid from Augusta.

3. Fred Couples: I know he’s already won the Masters but that was 16 years ago and Freddie is in the twilight of his golf life now. He teased us two years when he played with Mickelson in the final pairing but Freddie’s putter killed him. Couples is one of those guys women want to be with and men want to be like. One more Masters for Freddie would be the best.

2. Ernie Els: It’s hard to feel bad for a guy who has homes around the world, a private jet, three major championships, a good family, a beautiful life and a golf swing like Ernie’s but you can’t help but feel a touch of regret that he doesn’t have a green jacket. Mickelson pierced him in 2004 after Ernie played a great back nine on Sunday and he’s had more near misses than storm chasers. If anyone’s ever been due, it’s Ernie.

1. Boo Weekley: Do I have to explain?


Anonymous said...

Though he hasn't won, vijay singh has been playing very well this year. He has won the Masters before. He has an outside chance.