2011 Masters Preview

What a great time of the year to be a golfer. Whether you are a weekend warrior, a 30 handicapper or a single digit golf aficionado there is no better time of the year than Master’s week.

It is by far my favorite week of the year and I am so pumped up for Thursday coverage to begin.

I’m old school when it comes to golf and I believe in tradition. Although Augusta National has been modified over the years it maintains most of the same features it did when it was founded by Bobby Jones in 1933.

It’s been said ad-nauseum by announcers that you can’t appreciate the severity of the slopes at Augusta and they are right. The slopes on the greens, around the greens and even some of the elevation changes off the tee and to the green are so tricked up you couldn’t imagine actually having to play the course.

S o here we are yet again glued to the TV with thousands of azaleas in full bloom, Magnolia Drive, Pimiento and Cheese sandwiches and everything else that is synonymous with The Masters.

On to the players: 10 To Watch Out For

Talk about heating up at the right time. Phil Mickelson has positioned himself as the clear favorite again with his win last week at the Shell Houston Open.

World # 1 Martin Kaymer is out to prove he has the game for Augusta. He has missed the cut three years in a row. His only Masters experiences have been failures. He claims to have learned from it and is ready to contend.

Lee Westwood was last year’s runner-up. And is currently the #2 player in the world. He has come awfully close in several Majors recently and is poised to get the job done real soon.

How can we talk about the Masters and not put Tiger Woods in the mix. Despite al the turmoil, injuries and swing changes, not to mention changing swing coaches, Tiger is still as dangerous at Augusta as any. His 4th place finish last year attests to that.

Nick Watney already has a WGC title under his belt this season. He’s got the game for Augusta, but can he keep his emotions in check all week on a very demanding track. His 7th place finish last year is testament to his potential and is a pre-tournament favorite.

Hunter Mahan is one of the hottest players on tour right now. He seems to be on high up on the leaderboard every week and will win a major soon. I personally think it will come at this year’s U.S. Open at Congressional right here in our nation’s capital. He finished 8th at Augusta last year.

Another player possibly hitting his stride at the right time is Anthony Kim. He finally showed up to play last week at the SHO and came in 3rd here last year after a blistering final round 65. He says that Augusta is his favorite course.

Mat Kuchar has probably been the most consistent player on the PGA Tour over the last 15 months. He has put together an impressive 17 top 10’s during that time frame. He went to nearby Georgia Tech and would love nothing more than to win one in front of what would most definitely be considered a hometown crowd.

Who hits it very long, is left handed, uses tremendous imagination on the course and can shape the ball in any direction. That’s right I am talking about Bubba Watson. If Phil can do it so can Bubba if he like Nick Watney can keep his emotions in check this week. Bubba now a big time fan fave is primed to take his game to the next level. A guy with a name like Bubba winning the Masters in the deep South, just sounds right.

Rory Mc Ilroy is one of the young guns unafraid to go low and seemingly impervious to pressure. If he brings his “A” game this week he will contend. Although slight in stature the kid can bomb it and has a deft touch around the greens.

Notables:
• Dustin Johnson – Long and Strong and oh so close at several majors last year
• Rickie Fowler – Could his first tour victory come at Augusta and what colors would he wear on Sunday
• Martin Laird – The long hitting Scotsman has one win under his belt already this year and hits it miles high. Ask Jack if that is helpful around Augusta
• Adam Scott has made it very clear this event has been his sole focus in 2011
• Fred Couples – After a T6 last year if the back holds up he could have a late Sunday pairing
• Paul Casey – The guy is just plain good and he has a good track record here
• Luke Donald – The world’s #3 player is one of the best iron players in the game
• Ian Poulter – The Brash Brit is spouting off at the mouth again regarding Tiger and better have some game to back it up
• Rory Sabattini – Came close here a few years back and his recent performance at the Honda showed me the game is back
• Sergio Garcia – Can the former wunderkind put all the criticism to rest with a top finish here

With a world class field I could go on and on, but I will stop here. Enjoy the tournament and we will get all caught up next week.

In Good Health and Good Golf,
Terp Golf Dude

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