Thursday, April 07, 2011

What We Learned From Day One, And Can Expect From Day Two

   What we learned from the first round of the Masters and what can we expect in the second round:
  -- Don't discount Y.E. Yang and K.J. Choi. Sure, they have a lot of initials but they can play. Both finished in the top eight at Augusta last year.

   -- Ross Fisher is dangerous when his wife is pregnant. He nearly won the 2009 British Open at Turnberry when his wife was due to give birth at any minute. She's expecting again and he opened with 69.

  -- Rory McIlroy loves the big stage and is very close to winning a major championship, maybe this one. He can sling hooks around Augusta National and he has great nerves. He melted down in the second round at St. Andrews last July after opening with a 63 but I don't expect that to happen today. I like his chances to be the leader after 36 holes.

  -- Maybe Phil Mickelson went with the wrong driver. After saying he would play with two, he went with one and hit just four of 14 fairways, worst in the field. At least he found the drive he carved into the bushes beyond the creek on the left side of the 13th fairway. Augusta National gives you some room off the tee but not that much.

  -- We've found Martin Kaymer's weakness. The world's top-ranked player evidently can't play Augusta National and unless he improves dramatically from his opening 76, he'll be 0-for-4 in making cuts at the Masters.

  -- How far can Alvaro Quiros hit it? He had a 9-iron into the 465-yard, uphill 18th hole. He almost makes Gary Woodland look short by comparison.

   -- What do Ricky Barnes, Brandt Snedeker, Matt Kuchar and Woodland have in common?

    They're the top Americans on a diverse leader board.

  -- And what about Tiger?

    He keeps talking about how many "beautiful" putts he's hitting and he keeps watching them not go in. That has to change if he's going to contend.