Thursday, April 05, 2007

Not much drama at Masters yet

AUGUSTA, Ga. - Okay, everyone who thinks Justin Rose or Brett Wetterich is going to win this Masters raise your mouse.

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Now that we have that out of the way, we can get on with our evaluation of the first round of the Masters, which didn’t so much tremble with excitement as it ground along like an overcrowded member-guest tournament.

I admit that I, like most others, have wanted to see how the buffed-up Augusta National would play in firm, fast conditions. Now that we’ve seen it – think pars, lots of pars, lots of bogeys and, at least in the case of Ernie Els and Darren Clarke, too much of everything – I’m not sure how much I like it.

It’s not a U.S. Open exactly because there’s no rough, the prices are wonderful and the worst day at the Masters is still way better than the best day at the U.S. Open.

But there should be more than two eagles on Thursday at the Masters. Augusta National is often compared to church but it shouldn’t sound like one.

I’m just guessing but the second round will probably produce more drama than Thursday. They’ll put more of the pins in generous spots and encourage birdies more than bogeys. Somebody will get it going and shoot something reasonably low.

Phil Mickelson said 68 is his magic number, figuring if he’s at even par starting the weekend he’ll be in the chase. He’s right. Of course, shooting 68 is a pretty good trick, even for a guy who can do the things Lefty can do.

Tiger left ticked off at himself late Thursday because he bogeyed the last two holes. He’s still the de facto leader because he’s Tiger.

The biggest surprise Thursday?
That nothing spectacular happened.

The biggest disappointment?
Ernie Els shooting 78 and wasting another Masters. Els got beat by Craig Stadler, Fuzzy Zoeller, Ben Crenshaw, Mark O’Meara and Raymond Floyd – five Champions Tour players.

It’s just one day. Let’s hope the best is yet to come.