The PGA is expecting record numbers to come to Augusta for the 2009 Masters Tournament. This years Masters will run from April 8-12 with many other PGA promotions on April 6-7. The quest for the green jacket is probably my favorite golf event of the year because I absolutely love Augusta National. This course seperates the men from the boys and proves that you have to have a set and try to make shots the other golfers will not to succeed. The course will play shorter, a whopping 10 yards, than last year.
Trevor Immelman, the 2008 Masters Champion will try to defend his championship against a loaded field which includes a pressured Phil Mickelson, and favorite Tiger Woods. Tiger is the person people will watch television for. Woods remains the man to beat in any event he plays in. He is the golfer who will take chances and do things everyone else is afraid of. Don’t get me wrong, others will take chances, Mickelson does frequently, but the reward usually yields positive results for Tiger.
Golfers MUST take chances on this course and not be intimidated. The mistake I have seen in the past is the course in a players head before the tournament starts. As a result, they overthink everything and collapse. Making putts on these greens is essential. These are probably the fastest greens in the world and there are so many breaks. The greats playing in this tournament have an advantage over first-year guys who will have to spend a couple of days learning how to putt again. To compete, a player must birdie all four par-5 holes, and maybe even sneak a daily eagle in there. The par 5s at Augusta are not that difficult, it is the par3s and 4s that most win or lose the tournament on. If a player blows a couple of par3s a day, don’t look for him to make the cut.
The tournament doesn’t really start until the back nine on Sunday. Holes 11, 12, and 13, aka Amen’s Corner, are usually the holes to succeed on to have a chance to win. If a player can par 11 and 12 and birdie 13, they have as good a chance as anyone to win. Rae’s Creek that runs in front of the green on 13 has swallowed many leaderboard balls in the past.
This years field is filled with an array of familiar names and international greats, past champions and future winners. It would be easy for me to pop out and say Tiger will beat Phil on Sunday to win. To qualify for play at Augusta, a golfer had to win a PGA Tournament Event. This field is loaded with multiple winners. If you want a couple of longshots to keep an eye on, I like Hunter Mahan and Ben Curtis. Neither has done well at this tournament in the past, but both have improved greatly over the past couple of years. I also will be watching for Camilo Villegas, Padraig Harrington, and Stewart Cink to do well.
Ultimately, I feel as though Tiger Woods will have a dramatic Sunday. I figure him to be down about three strokes going into the final round and blow up to win the tournament by 3 strokes. Let me know what you think. Who will win? Who is the dark horse of this years tournament?