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Donald well placed to end era of unpredictability

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Iain Carter | 17:47 UK time, Monday, 2 April 2012

It's being billed as the most eagerly anticipated Masters for years. The form of the top contenders as they prepare to drive down Magnolia Lane points to an enthralling shoot-out between the biggest names in golf.

Don't bank on it, though. Predicting major winners in recent times has been a hazardous business. The players commanding the shortest odds have invariably been eclipsed by rank outsiders.

It is almost as though the weight of expectation has become an unbearable burden for those attracting favouritism.

Put it this way: if you had an accumulator with the names of Keegan Bradley, Darren Clarke, Rory McIlroy and Charl Schwartzel as the winners of the four most recent majors, the drinks would be on you for quite some time.

All four were surprise winners last year, McIlroy included when you consider his US Open win came in his first major after capitulating in the final round at Augusta.

It was a similar story in 2010 when Martin Kaymer, Louis Oosthuizen and Graeme McDowell won their first majors.

In fact, you have to go back to the Masters of two years ago for a major in which one of the genuinely fancied contenders went on to take the spoils. That was when Phil Mickelson won the right to don the green jacket for a third time.

World number one Luke Donald is still waiting to win his first major. Photo: Getty

Of course, this volatile period has coincided with the Tiger Woods wilderness years. It is testament to the former world number one that so many of his major victories have been achieved when he has been expected to win.

Just ask the likes of Lee Westwood, Luke Donald, Sergio Garcia and Adam Scott how difficult it is to win one of the big ones, especially when the headlines suggest it is your turn.

Pressure comes in various guises. Media chatter can fuel expectation but the bigger burden surely comes from within. Donald and Westwood know that majors should be within their compass when they have risen to world number one status.

To have reached the pinnacle of the rankings they have, by definition, hit the shots to deliver top results more consistently than anyone else.

This magnifies the sense that their careers will be incomplete if they can't triumph in at least one of the four most important weeks of the year. It does not make their task any easier.

So now we have arrived at the first of those big weeks in 2012. Donald won in his last outing (at the Transitions tournament just over a fortnight ago), so did McIlroy (at the Honda Classic) and, of course, Woods has headed to Augusta off the back his victory at Bay Hill.

That is why it is such a mouthwatering Masters. Throw into the mix Mickelson's fine form, Justin Rose reaching a new level with his WGC victory at Doral and McDowell returning to somewhere near his best at Bay Hill, and this week at Augusta becomes even more enticing.

Woods and McIlroy are justifiable favourites. Woods because he is Tiger Woods, because he has just won and because this is the Masters; McIlroy because he has amply demonstrated he can score round Augusta and is now a proven major winner.

Naturally the headlines and the hype will be dominated by the prospect of a shoot-out between these two. But this means the other big names can live below the radar, and for that they won't be complaining.

Which prompts the question: is it possible for world number one to cause an upset by winning a major? The answer is no because it shouldn't be a surprise to see Donald having a green jacket slipped onto his shoulders this Sunday.

Ever since the Englishman dumped his ball in the water on the 12th in his final round here at Augusta last year, he has barely put a foot wrong.

That error, on that most treacherous of par threes, effectively did for his chances in the 2011 Masters.

Since then, he has beaten Westwood in a play-off at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth to go to the top of the rankings, won at Disney to claim the US money list and won again a fortnight ago to reclaim top spot from McIlroy.

All were wins completed under major-like pressure. His approach play has pinpoint accuracy, he is peerless out of bunkers, a magnificent wedge player and the best putter on the planet. These are crucial attributes at Augusta.

Defending champion Schwartzel has an interesting take on what's needed to win a Masters. "You really need to think your way around and play conservatively," says the South African.

"Don't force it too much or it will catch you."

Donald was guilty of impatience at last year's US Open and at the Open at Sandwich, where he missed the cut. It's hard to believe he has not learned important lessons from those failures.

To some it might come as a shock if Donald claims his first major this week, but I'm in the camp who won't be surprised if the world number one shoulders his own burden of expectation to end golf's current era of unpredictability.

Comments

Page 1 of 3

  • Comment number 1.

    So many blogs about the Masters I just don't know where to start...here will do!

    Think my e/w @ 16's is a great shout on LD, he may not have the bottle to win (hence the e/w) but he's going to win me some pennies for sure!

  • Comment number 2.

    I've gone for Luke since he recently became world number 1. Surely it's time he got the big one, he won't bottle it surely. I'm having a flutter on him to win at 16/1, not bothering with each way. Could live to regret it I suppose. Bring it on.

  • Comment number 3.

    "testament to the former world number one that so many of his major victories have been achieved when he has been expected to win"

    I think this is one of the most underestimated facets of TW - that with all the hype and expectation and status as no.1 and favourite he kept coming back and winning time and time again

    this is what LD and LW can't seem to cope with at the hardest tournaments - that when they were number 1 they could not do what TW did once.

    They both have the game to win at Augusta, LW hits a big drive and is consistent, but it will be his short game that is the key for him

    contrastingly LD doesnt hit a big ball but he can do what Zach Johnson did before him and make birdies and pars around this fine course

  • Comment number 4.

    P Harrington to win, just watch!

  • Comment number 5.

    Absolutely no chance that Donald or Westwood will win. No bottle and not good enough when it really matters. Woods, Mcilroy or Mickelson are the only realistic winners.

  • Comment number 6.

    McIlroy may have won US by 8 however big questions yet to be answered by him as to whether he can handle the pressure coming down the strech with 4 or 5 guys in the mix. Can he hole a clutch 10ft putt to win? Not sure.

  • Comment number 7.

    The unpredictability of the recent Majors is what makes them special. It will be hard to top the Masters last year when any number of contenders could have donned the Green Jacket on a glorious final day. McIlroy vs Woods will be a fascinating spectacle if it happens, but Donald, Westwood and Mickelson clearly have the game to be successful. I wouldn't count out the supposed 'rank outsiders' either, such as K. J. Choi, won the Players Championship last year and has performed well at the Masters in the past. Can't wait for it to begin!

  • Comment number 8.

    KJ Choi is a great shout - but he isnt often in the mix at the majors - he was leading at the open about 4/5 years ago and fell away - his strength is his consistency but I can't see him shooting 30 on the back nine like phil did in 2010

    I really fancy Phil this year - he has played some great stuff - a couple of didgy tournaments but because his first major was augusta he has a great love of the place and he can fade it round the golf course as a lefty

    TW will deffo be in the mix you would think due to his form

    be really interesting to see how the weather pans out for them all - look at Clarke when he won the open he had the best of the weather on fri and sat and its those little things which can help

    though augusta isnt like the coasts of england!

    of the British contingent you have to say Rory is the one you would expect to have the best shout - but very little has been said about Gmac - loves to draw the ball which is perfect for Augusta and might be worth an each way shout.

  • Comment number 9.

    darn you, BBC (in a nice way!).
    So many blogs and my tinterweb is playing up. Anyway, super blog Iain and I, for one, hope that Luke can pull it off. If not I'll be quite happy for any of the Norn Irn boys to slip on the green jacket come Sunday, closely followed by any of the other home boys or a European.

  • Comment number 10.

    davidmcc123, horrid comment that there are only really 3 contenders, there are realistically about 30! Just look at the winners every week on the PGA tour, you can't tell me that realistically, Mahan, Scott, Day, Choi, Schwartzel, Stricker, Bubba, Watney, Rose....the list goes on but I think I make my point. From a betting view I don't see any value in Tiger and Rory although they are in excellent form so I will be putting my money on a few higher prices and hitting them each way I think!

  • Comment number 11.

    I'm backing one of my favourite players, Sergio Garcia, hoping that he wins his first major. Just as football's El Niño is getting back to his best, hopefully golf's does too.

  • Comment number 12.

    He's been rarely mentioned but I think Keegan Bradley has a real chance, he's won a major, has played steadily since and has a mentor with vital experience of Augusta in Phil Mickelson.

  • Comment number 13.

    Im a big Donald fan but to say that his wins at the PGA, Disney and Transitions were under 'major-like' pressure is ludicrous. Sadly most seem to think the world number one spot and a Golfer's legacy has to be judged on major wins. The legacy will not come from winning both money lists. The masters winner needs to be able to putt, pure and simple. Therefore im tipping the likes of Cink, Woods, Donald, Scott, but to be honest its going to be whoever putts the best on the week which could be anyone of about 50 players

  • Comment number 14.

    # 13

    I agree though its not so much about putting as it is about powers of recovery - making pars out of odds on bogeys that will count most - which is why woods and mickleson have done so well at augusta -

    you could make a case for any of the top 50 players but I think its going to be a big name and im leaning towards big phil.

  • Comment number 15.

    So much is made of what type of player you need to be to Win at Augusta. It suits the best putters or It suits the big hitters etc etc. I have a theory that it doesnt actually suit any style of play.

    If you look at the multiple Masters winners, Nicklaus, Players, Woods, Mickleson, Faldo, Seve, Langer, Olly etc... They are all very different players. You have power players, precision iron players, great scramblers, etc etc, the only thing the all have in common is that at the time that they were winning green jackets they were the best, or among the best players in the world.

    The Masters seems to throw up fewer rank outsiders that other majors, even Mike Weir or Immelman were hardly shocks in the Ben Curtis mould.

    So on the basis that the creme more often than not rise to the top at Augusta its very hard to look past the guys at the top of the rankings when picking a winner. From a personal point of view I hope its Westwood or Donald to end their Major drought.

  • Comment number 16.

    By the way. Prediction league update will be posted later today. There's been a glut of golf blogs this week but lets keep it traditional and do it via the Carter blog

  • Comment number 17.

    #1,

    The only thing I don't like about LD is his use of visors :) A wonderful golfer. For LD, I'd wait for the Masters to start before putting something down - depending on his start time, might be able to get better odds.

    Usually, I choose one morning starter on the 1st and 10th tees, same for afternoon starters. Add a main pick, this give my 5 choices. Still waiting for tee times to selct the 4. Main pick is TW - believe this to be his 'redemption' major.

  • Comment number 18.

    @ Jimmy

    Thats why I have only concentrated on this blog - there have been that many (good on the BBC for once) but I thought the usual crew would be commenting on this blog - though there doesnt seem to be anyone around at the moment

  • Comment number 19.

    i hope somebody chips in from the rough. i love it when that happens.

  • Comment number 20.

    Donald & Westwood can definately win this week.

    But, I don't think it helps that because they have been world no 1 - each time they go to a major they get asked the same questions. I know the media have a job to do - but they must get pretty bored with it to the point that it plays on their minds when teeing up.

    For the most part there is a lot of luck involved. The likes of Schwartzel, Clarke & Bradley would not had been on many radars last year, but it just so happens they put in 4 solid rounds, played the right shots at the right time and it was their week. Guys play 30 weeks of the year, and the likes of Donald or Westwood will win 3 or 4 weeks, and contend another 7 - 10 weeks. That's a pretty solid season and is undoubtedly better than getting 1 win in the 'right' week.

    Are Todd Hamilton or Ben Curtis better players than Donald or Westwood, because they won an Open Championship? I'm sure they are not, and I would be amazed if either of them would swap the career they are having for a lone major win in an otherwise lean career. Likewise Hamilton or Curtis would have to have a long think of whether they wanted a long career winning multiple events each year, or flashing a single major victory into the pan with not too many other good years.

  • Comment number 21.

    Sorry Iain but I think that your analysis is flawed !

    I think there is a good chance that Luke will win - and I hope he does - but the "no-major-yet" fixation is the affliction of pundits, not players. The players all know the history of the game: even at their BEST, Tiger woods and Jack Nicklaus were winning about one in four of the majors they entered. Golf is a capricious game.

    Luke Donald isn't just a great golfer - he is a smart one too. I don't think he will have the fixation on "the first major" as you, me, and all the other golf watchers ...

  • Comment number 22.

    Luke Donald will win the par 3 contest then mis the cut

  • Comment number 23.

    jimmy - the reason a Ben Curtis type figure (i.e. 396th in the world and a proper rank outsider who pretty much noone has ever heard of) has not won the Masters is because such players would never have been playing. It's a much smaller field, there are no qualifying events such that the Open has. The qualifying (invitee) criteria are roughly - top 16 finish year before, top 50 OWGR, past champions, top ranked in smaller tours. Therefore the only real rank outsiders playing in the masters are the older past champions who play almost ceremoniously.

  • Comment number 24.

    Really hoping Luke Donald can win this week. Fed up of the constant berating of him for never winning a major. Therefore, I'll be backing him all the way. He's got the talent to do it, that's for sure.

    It's going to be such an intriguing tournament, though, with so many players seemingly hitting form just in time for it, so it should be one hell of a contest.

    Cannot wait.

  • Comment number 25.

    Jeff - You are right, i had considered that so i dont know why i didnt say it. I dont think that this in anyway invalidates my main point, which was that singleing people out to do well becuase of a particular strength in their game (for example being a big hitter) is flawed, the very best in the world tend to prosper at Augusta regardless of what their particular individual strength or style is.

  • Comment number 26.

    I am suprised that Hunter Mahan has not been mentioned? He has already won twice this year. I will be having a few pounds each way on him.

  • Comment number 27.

    keegan bradley at 33/1 is worth an each way bet but as others have said, augusta forces the best to the rise to the top. The top 5 in the world all have a chance along with, and it hurts me to say this, woods. Personally my pick is Rory. Too much class and has the best long game in golf

  • Comment number 28.

    "Woods, Mcilroy or Mickelson are the only realistic winners."

    Eh? Do you follow golf mate? Realistically - and I mean realistically - there are at least 20 guys who could win this thing. Did you pick Schwartzl to win last year, then?

  • Comment number 29.

    Jason Day at 35/1 and Gmac at 66/1 - £2 each way

    Phil at 11/1

    Woods at 5/1, Rory at 11/2

  • Comment number 30.

    Jimmy @15:

    The "secrets of success" at the Masters are: Patient, pitching and putting!

    Jimmy @25:

    Regarding your statement "the very best in the world tend to prosper at Augusta regardless of what their particular individual strength or style is":

    I hope you noticed that "your Darren" had a belly putter in competition at the WGC-Cadillac for the first time - a TaylorMade Ghost Spider. He was also one under par for his first two rounds at last week's Shell Houston Open .... but failed to make the cut (... although that's an improvement for him because he's usually at least 3 or 4 over par!)

    Anyway, "your" Darren's record at Augusta is poor with not a single top-10 finish in eight attempts.

    Will Big D "come good" (read: "fluke it") this time around with his new caddie (the experienced Phil Morbey, aka 'Wobbly', who caddied for Ian Woosnam when he won in 1991) on the bag and his new putter in the bag?

  • Comment number 31.

    Jimmy as its a major what's the pick criteria???

  • Comment number 32.

    # 27

    Rory Mcilroy:

    2012: 26th on PGA tour in driving distance and 90th in driving accuracy

    2011: 7th in driving distance and a lowly 116th in driving accuracy

    BEST LONG GAME IN GOLF?????? I dont think so.

  • Comment number 33.

    MASTERS PICKS:

    Phil Mickleson
    Tiger Woods
    Jason Day
    Gmac

  • Comment number 34.

    22.
    At 13:40 3rd Apr 2012, yorkshire_blogster wrote:

    Luke Donald will win the par 3 contest then mis the cut

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Behave yourself! Are you saying that the best player in the world and a model of consistency is going to miss the cut? Nonsense! Now, the 2nd ranked player might struggle to make the cut, after he open with a 75.

  • Comment number 35.

    15 - 20 players could win the Masters this week. Last year so many winners came in under the radar. I wouldn't be surprised if someone like Steve Stricker won, or Dustin Johnson, who has certainly paid his dues in majors (he should have won the Open at Sandwich last year, and that PGA at Whistling Straits). Best bet for a British winner seems to me to be Justin Rose. He is in fine form at the moment and has form at Augusta, twice leading at the half way stage. Luke Donald's best chance of a major could well be the 2013 US Open at Merion, a course for the strategist, not the boomer.

  • Comment number 36.

    @ Golden Bear

    dont be silly the best player in the world wont miss the cut, Tiger will win the tournament!

  • Comment number 37.

    rossji @27:

    Regarding Keegan Bradley and Rory Mcilroy, I asked you this question on a previous blog but you never answered.

    What is your opinion on their different character types, e.g. "fight" or "flight"?

    Keegan Bradley is a proven "fighter" as we saw in last year's US PGA, coming back after that horrific triple bogey .

    How would you categorise Rory "when the going gets tough", i.e. under extreme pressure over the closing holes of the Masters with competitors breathing down the back of his neck? Will his long game hold up this time around?

  • Comment number 38.

    @34 .....Luuuuuuuke has finished top ten (in majors), on only six occasions (in over 30 attempts!). Not a particularly good record!!! Also missed the cut at Augusta two years ago. He maybe a consistant golfer, but his major performances leave a lot to be desired.

    @32 YB....Is TW still number one on the PGA tour in total driving??? I'm sure he was a couple of weeks ago.

  • Comment number 39.

    Davey - I was thinking of just going withthe same format as usual, it seems to work ok, its nice and easy for me to work out points. Unless there is a mass of dissent from the ranks I think we'll just keep it as it is. Which means Y_B if you want to submit #33 as your official picks you'll have to lose someone.

    Don - They aren't secrets if you tell everyone.

  • Comment number 40.

    @39...Jimmy...What about double points (20/14 etc)?

  • Comment number 41.

    @ 39

    lose Jason Day

    Mickleson
    Woods
    GMac

  • Comment number 42.

    #38,

    Mattefc, using stats? Noooooo....... :)

  • Comment number 43.

    #38

    TW is ranked 18th in both accuracy and distance, but on the "combined stat" he is ranked no.1 in PGA Tour

    Other stats of interest:

    Bubba Watson leads the tour in driving distance and GIR but is ranked in top 10 of most 3 putts per round......wonder what he needs to work on!

    Ian Poulter T5 for most 3 putts per round

    Paul Goydos most accurate driver

  • Comment number 44.

    @...Facts!!!

  • Comment number 45.

    @ 42..Facts!!!

  • Comment number 46.

    Jimmy picks having trouble posting as using phone
    Woods
    Donald
    Mclroy

  • Comment number 47.

    Matt - I threw that idea out there previously. I'm happy to go with double points. We'll see what the common consensus is on that idea. If most people like it then we'll go with it.

    I'm off for a quick 9 or even 18 if i'm lucky but i'll put the updated league on when i get back. 1st knock of the season off yellows. Exciting times.

  • Comment number 48.

    @37 ....Don..I remember you saying a while back that you had seen both Jack & Tiger in their prime. I have obviously only seen Jack on video etc!! If you ever get the chance I would appreciate an "Alvaro Bubba Woodland" scribe as to ,who you would say the best is?? Your honest opinion, even if they both played in both era's.

  • Comment number 49.

    mattefc @48:

    Sorry to disappoint you but I steer well clear of Tiger Woods. In all honesty, I can't separate the man from the golfer .... so I just don't go there.

    When Tiger Woods is the main topic of conversation/subject of the blog, I prefer to say absolutely nothing.

  • Comment number 50.

    @49....Don...Just the golfer would have sufficed, never mind.

  • Comment number 51.

    Phil Mickelson is the horse for the course

    Tiger is the mane man

    Rose is a definite dark horse

    Donald may come through at the final furlong

    Rory's worth a flutter

    Mahan is showing form

    Can't see Westwood doing it..sorry to nag Lee

  • Comment number 52.

    Some notable three balls:

    Mcilroy, Cabrera, Watson
    Mickelson, Mahan, Hanson
    Woods, Jimenez, Bae
    Schwartzel, Bradley, Kraft
    Scott, Van pelt, Kaymer
    Westwood,Singh, Furyk

  • Comment number 53.

    #30 Don - bile, bile, bile, bile, bile AGAIN.

  • Comment number 54.

    Mark my words... Martin Laird to come from nowhere to win, struggles to drop eagles but can dig out pars when others struggle.

    Worth it just to see the BBC have to mention him, as he often gets "missed out" in the reports when higher scoring British players enjoy their names being highlighted.

  • Comment number 55.

    trevthetrainer @53:

    Sorry trev, Don247 aka "the pathetic, ignorant, tedious, useless, biased lemon and undisputed windbag at the bottom of the pile" is living down his reputation AGAIN.

    Hopefully Darren will be fit enough to play after injuring his groin in Houston. I see that he's out in the 4th to last group with Fred Couples and Ryo Ishikawa .... so I'll be keeping a close eye on them!

  • Comment number 56.

    Dustin Johnson w/d from the Masters.

  • Comment number 57.

    I saw that Dustin Johnson has withdrawn owing to injury. So much for my tip! Well, he might win the US Poen!

    I don't think McIlroy has got the best draw psychologically, as far as his partners are concerned. He was with Cabrera when he imploded in the last round last year. And with Bubba Watson making up the threesome he will be outdriven and maybe will 'force' things. On the other hand Justin Rose is in a good group.

  • Comment number 58.

    @57..muirfield...I honestly think Rory will play a bit cautious (within himself) this week. Almost every other question in his interview was in regards to his implosion. He doesn't look comfortable at all, And taking 3 weeks off in my opinion hasn't helped. I actually feel a bit for him in a way because he alway's seems very nervous in interviews. If Rory is in the mix come the weekend he has a chance.

  • Comment number 59.

    mattefc @58 and muirfieldgroupie @57:

    I agree with you about Rory "not looking comfortable" in his latest interview. He seemed to be backtracking on what he said previously about Tiger, realising that he will soon come face to face with the new reality, i.e. Tiger playing well on virtually his "home" course in front of thousands of his adoring fans. Rory's previous "bravado" has been replaced by a sort of "sheepish little boy look" as if he was trying to hide under his cap!

    Anyway, a three-week break (admittedly doing a lot of short-game practice at Jack's course in Florida and playing a few practice rounds at Augusta with his trusty caddie, JP Fizgerald) is perhaps not ideal/enough. I also feel that the front half of the "Wozzilroy" pantomine horse may have been a bit of a distraction for young Rors, especially as Caroline lost to Maria Sharapova in the semis in Miami (.... and is now falling down the rankings as she loses tournament after tournament.)

    (Not so sweet) Caroline was absolutely livid about a disputed line call (which was clearly in by the way) and maintained that it had cost her the match. Caro left the court in a total huff and refused to shake hands with the umpire. (Calming down your girlfriend and sorting out a troubled female psyche are not the easiest things at the best of times and certainly the best way to go about preparing for a major tournament, I would assume!)

    Anyway, we'll see how Rory handles playing with Cabrera again and with Bubba. Indeed, Rory thought that he was playing too quickly (... at Cabrera's no-nonsense pace) in the final round last year, and with Bubba taking all sorts of different routes to the green, it'll be interesting to see how Rory handles it all. He'll certainly need all the maturity he can muster in the first two rounds and just play his own game with these two really big hitters.

    Remember Justin Rose said that Bubba took on shots he would never even dream of at Doral, so Rory will have to stick to his own game plan just like Justin did if he wants to win.

  • Comment number 60.

    Good call don young Rory will need an old head as he could easily get sucked into a long drive challenge with his playing partners el pato is no slouch when it comes to putting the ball out there. Its not good draw for him none of his euro chums to chat to. Will see if the 2012 Rory has really learned and plays his own game.

  • Comment number 61.

    @59...Don..Nearly enticed some TW out of you, but it seems you draw the line..I'm intrigued as to why you feel that you cannot speak openly about him (as a golfer!).

  • Comment number 62.

    I was questioned a while ago about "knowing where to miss" at Augusta (with regards to TW), but it is painfully obvious ...Isn't it!!!!!

  • Comment number 63.

    Why is the BBC golf website totally silent on the fact that the BBC has lost the live TV rights to the last two days of the BMW PGA Championship and the Scottish Open.

    For those who don't know, the BBC's new 6 year deal with the European Tour for 2013 to 2018 contains no live TV coverage at all. Just highlights of the Ryder Cup, BMW PGA Championship and the Scottish Open.

  • Comment number 64.

    Come on Jimmy put up the league. I want to see my name in lights. Or at least off the bottom of the pile !!! Well done TBO !

    With regard to RoryMc and his comments. He does say things on the spur of the moment a la open, TW, etc. But don't forget he is now at the "home" of TW with the US press and with TW on a high. I don't think he's arrogant / daft enough to stir up a war of words with the press. He certainly won't want egg on his face.
    I think he will play ok with Bubba, Angel. He hits it long enough anyway.
    My bets with a certain Irish bookmaker are Donald, Rose, McIlroy, Garcia and Johnson though I will have to revise the latter since he's now pulled out. may go for a daft punt on A Quiros / Casey.

    @ Don. I don't like TW as a person either but that doesn't stop me commenting about his golf play which you must admit is getting better after 18 months or so.

  • Comment number 65.

    Matt - I think it was me that questioned the advantage of Woods knowing where to miss. There are plenty of players in the field who have played lots of rounds at Augusta, and even us, the viewers feel as though we know the course like the backs of our hands (Dont go long on 9, Dont go into the right hand trap on 16 etc..) Everyone knows where not to miss. The advantage that Woods had over everyone else was that he was better than them and therefore less likely to miss in the 1st place. In my opinion.

    Prediction league to follow......

  • Comment number 66.

    Euro Tour: 10 Points - Olesen, 5 Points - Wood, 3 Points - Colsaerts
    PGA Tour: 10 Points - Mahan, 5 Points - Petterson, 3 Points - Oosthuizen

    Scorers this Week Were


    Daveyboyfletcher 15
    Powerhitter 13
    Sumo82 10
    Undersiege 10
    Wibbliouswobblious 10
    8 for 6 for 1 3
    Cfcboy23 3
    Mattefc 3
    Yorkshire Blogster 3
    Stinky Steve 3
    Rich 3

    So well done you....

  • Comment number 67.

    And the Big news of the week is that TheSourcerer has been usurped by not 1 but 2 prediction league high flyers after his nul points.

    The Full table now looks like this.


    Daveyboyfletcher 68
    Powerhitter 67
    The Sorcerer 60
    8 for 6 for 1 49
    Gbell 42
    Rossji 40
    Jimmy 40
    Lord Voldemort 39
    BiloMct 34
    Sumo82 33
    Undersiege 33
    Cfcboy23 31
    Mattefc 30
    Maninasuitcase 30
    Diamondvneck 24
    BMG 23
    OldManGriff 20
    Yorkshire Blogster 18
    Mickysausage 15
    Grover69 15
    Stinky Steve 13
    Wibbliouswobblious 10
    Welsh Wizard 5 10
    Superhans84 10
    Chumbawumba12 8
    DivotedGolfer 5
    Rich 3
    Jedimaster 3
    Anglesdan 3
    Lovegolf 3
    Jeff Kenna 0
    Golfnut99 0
    Wombat7-0 0
    Golfrants 0

    You have until them old gits ceremonially get us under way on Thursday to get your 3 picks in

  • Comment number 68.

    @66 Jimmy. What about Kjeldson ? Tied 3rd with Colsaerts. Surely that scores ?

  • Comment number 69.

    Go on then, if you insist Wibb, Help yourself to another 3 points. Matt, you can do the same. I have added them on for the both of you. no need to post the whole thing again unless you absolutley insist.

  • Comment number 70.

    @69 (oo-er) Jimmy. Most gracious of you and thanks.

    I think we should double the "ranking" points for a Major. Is there a Euro tournament this week and is this included ?

  • Comment number 71.

    Jimmy ..you done that on purpose didn't you (lol), ya cant give 3 points for 1 tied 3rd and not the other???!!!! On another note, "where to miss"..The thing what maybe you missed a while back was ..with regards to my point, dont leave yourself above the hole(downhill 20 footer), leave yourself under the flag or in the (expensive) sand!!!??

  • Comment number 72.

    Davey ...that belly putter must have some mysterious beings, top of the bunch, nice one fella.

  • Comment number 73.

    Jimmy ...I insist double points this week, after all it is a major, and everyone can cry off if no top 3...my pickalatas are coming shortly m8

  • Comment number 74.

    just watched the preview on sky...Monty talks like he's chewing a rat!!!!!

  • Comment number 75.

    Matt - You are right about there being places to miss and places to avoid, and right about always trying to leave yourself an uphill putt etc... But everyone knows these things, there isnt a golfer heading up magnolia drive this week who wont be striving to leave themselves as many uphill putts as possible.

    If you think that this knowledge is the sole preserve of Woods you do the rest of the golfers playing the Masters this week a huge disservice

  • Comment number 76.

    So.....

    RM has a late start. One part correct. I will not get to work on my rather temperamental weather machine, to make it windy and dry for Thursday afternoon.Phil Mick says the course is damp and slow. Hopefully, it will dry out by Thursday.

    I will stick to my Houston Open choices:
    Cabrera
    Couples

    I will add:
    M. A. Jimenez
    Vijay Singh
    Adam Scott
    Stewart Cink

  • Comment number 77.

    Jimmy,,,,Thats because their is know other Tiger...Cmon fella, you have to agree that he is the best at managing a golf course, win or lose their is know comparison.....You cant tell me that 80% of the field will play like TW, roll on thursday

  • Comment number 78.

    don 247

    Rory is a fighter. for example the honda where his idol posted a score and he held him off and won. also to a certain extent the US open. a very similiar situation to the mastersbut he showed his true colours and won comfortably.

    yorkshire blogster- those are just stats and i see youve deceided to ignore GIRs. Watch him play. he makes more birdie and eagle chances than anyone and as we saw at the honda has the short game to convert them. Best long game in golf by a mile and his trajectory and high baby draw are perfectly suited to augusta.

    I hope when he wins you enjoy a large slice of humble my friend

    Bring on thursday, 1 of the 5 best weekends of this year along with 3 majors and ryder cup

  • Comment number 79.

    picks-

    Mcilroy
    Bradley
    Garcia

    i see some people have picked 4- if theres 4 picks my last pick is Jason Day

  • Comment number 80.

    My Masters bets :)

    Gary Woodland - each way - 125/1 £2.50
    Franceso Molinari - each way - 150/1 £1.00
    Fred Couples - top 6 finish - 18/1 £2.00
    Webb Simpson - win (lol) - 50/1 £1.00

  • Comment number 81.

    Love the Rory and Darren bashing that goes on here... lets not forget their achievements on the links. I will say no more.

    Masters picks

    Tiger Woods
    Rory McIlroy
    Adam Scott

  • Comment number 82.

    Hi gbell,

    Their achievements? A certain TW has won and achieved more, yet gets the most 'bashing' :p

  • Comment number 83.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 84.

    LOL! Maninasuitecase, you seem to have your comments removed quite a bit. Was it vulgar? Whatever happened to that 'great British trait' of being tolerant?

  • Comment number 85.

    @84 Golden Bear this is the first comment I have had removed,and I was praising the Beeb !!!!

  • Comment number 86.

    Oh sorry, must have been someone else then. There was one recent IC article with many removed comments.

  • Comment number 87.

    @74 mattefc Is europes greatest ever play never to win a major commentating this week (and I dont mean John(3 iron) Hawkesworth !!!!!

  • Comment number 88.

    It's spring - just in time for a first rose.

  • Comment number 89.

    I'm all for double points if that is the common concensus!
    Predictions: Tiger Phil Adam Scott
    Hopes: Westwood Rose Garcia
    Hence potential 6 reasons to be cheerful on Sunday!
    On the road today... catch up later...

  • Comment number 90.

    Does anyone know if John Hawksworth is out at the Masters this year? He's the man with the mike.

  • Comment number 91.

    I like how all the true golf bloggers are ignoring the other blogs. Hodgetts and Dirs just jumping on the Masters bandwagon. Where have they been all year? all of a sudden they have an interest in Golf!? They will never be Iain Carter!

  • Comment number 92.

    My Masters Picks:-
    1. Tiger Woods
    2. Webb Simpson
    3. Bubba Watson

    i was going to pick Dustin but he's had to pull out

  • Comment number 93.

    For some bizarre reason, I keep going back to Phil Mick. Amazingly, with all the talk being about a TW-RM duel, the likes of Phil, LW, etc. seem to have been put down a tier. Phil has proven Masters pedigree and Augusta being the true risk/reward course, it fits well with Phil's cavalier approach. I am still trying to get my darn weather machine to work, but if the course is damp and slow, as Phil himself has has said, it becomes a birdie fest.

    WHo are such players? Keegan? Phil? ???

  • Comment number 94.

    Manina you must be having a field day with all these bogs open this week :) monty is on sky commenterry team count the erms becomes out withat least one per sentence. Hawksworth won't get a look in this week thank god.

  • Comment number 95.

    The way its going can see brown Allis and oo its a beauty Torrance on radio only or a rival broadcaster the way its going. Yet more sport vanishing off the beeb, highlights only is where its going next the open will be gone into the void.

  • Comment number 96.

    Phil Mickleson will win the Masters I think.

    Great work on the league jimmy. I keep nibbling away but a double points masters swoop is coming my way!!!

  • Comment number 97.

    # 91

    After reading their blogs makes me realise IC isnt really that bad.

    Have had plenty of arguments with Dirs on boxing blogs - but in fairness he always came back and commented about half a dozen times. Which is very honourable of him

    One thing Iain could learn.......but hes probably too busy getting golf lessons off Hawksworth.

  • Comment number 98.

    Don247

  • Comment number 99.

    Sausage and bacon.

  • Comment number 100.

    Hmmm.... Bubba is another birdie machine......

 

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