Friday, April 10, 2009

This Masters is just getting started

After 36 holes, is this Masters halfway home or just getting started?

I tend to think it’s just getting started.

Chad Campbell and Kenny Perry share the lead entering Saturday but no one is measuring them for green jackets yet.

If I’m picking one of those two to win, I’d go with Perry, who looks and sounds like a guy totally comfortable in his surroundings. He’s never been big on major championships but I get the sense his feelings have changed.

He said he could retire right now and be satisfied with his career but winning a major would alter the way history remembers him. He’d be the oldest man to ever win a major, not the guy who probably blew one when he sat in the TV tower rather than warming up for a playoff he lost to Mark Brooks in the 1996 PGA Championship.

He’s driving it beautifully and he sounds like a commercial for the new TaylorMade R9 driver in his bag. Perry says he’s usually two years behind the curve on new equipment, tending to stick with what’s comfortable, but he’s so straight off the tee with the new stick, he’s willing to sacrifice six to eight yards.

The key to the weekend is, as always, who putts the best. That causes me to wonder about Campbell, who’s solid but rarely spectacular.

Angel Cabrera can’t be ignored. He’s played well recently and he doesn’t scare. Big, tough courses play to his strength, which is power off the tee.

Anthony Kim showed me something with a 65 on Friday. Sergio Garcia fought his way up the board late, too.

With seven holes to play, Phil Mickelson was going to miss the cut then he turned into fantastic Phil again. He’s not been good in the third round through his Augusta career and he needs a low number to have a chance.

Then there’s Tiger Woods. He’s not particularly sharp and the ragged edge is costing him. He bogeyed the 18th hole two days in a row and he hasn’t been able to generate any momentum.

Waiting until Sunday will be too late for Tiger and Phil. If this is their week, then Saturday needs to be their day.