April 8, 2014 in Breakfast Ball
The Monday of Masters week didn’t go too well for those patrons on the property with one day badges. Luckily for those patrons, Augusta National has guaranteed them the opportunity to buy badges for next year’s Monday practice round, along with a refund of this year’s ticket price.
Unluckily for them, they’ll have to wait another year to get back on the hallowed grounds. However, for the rest of us, I’m pretty sure we’d all trade a washed away Monday for the weather that’s being predicted for the rest of the week.
Gates opened at 8am yesterday and closed at 10am due to the giant cell of thunderstorms moving through the middle of the country. By 12:35pm, the club made it official and barred anyone — player or patron — from getting back on the course.
With that behind us, though, there’s nothing but blue skies and unfulfilled dreams ahead. Speaking of unfulfilled dreams, the largest contingent of first-timers will be teeing it up in the Masters this week. You’ve probably heard and will continue to hear that no first-time Masters participant has won the green jacket in his first tournament since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979.
However, given this year’s trend of first-time winners — there have already been eight on the PGA Tour this season — and the amount of them in the field (24, 17 of which are pros), this year seems as likely as any to produce a rookie Masters champion. Considering some of the names that fit the bill — Harris English, Patrick Reed, Jordan Spieth, Billy Horschel, Graham DeLaet, Victor Dubuisson and Jimmy Walker — hardly any would be a monumental surprise.
According to the guys out in Vegas, first-timers most likely to break through are Spieth (30/1), English (40/1), DeLaet (50/1), Reed (50/1) and Walker (50/1)*. While it’s hard to pass on roughly a quarter of the field, until the trend is bucked, it’s still a trend and as you’ll see tomorrow when our picks are released, first-timers will find themselves in the Show ‘Em Something list.
Speaking of gambling odds, another storyline is the Aussie contingent this week. Headlined by defending champion Adam Scott, the men from Down Under number seven and, with the exception of amateur Oliver Goss, all are heading into Augusta with the confidence that they could become the second Aussie to slip on the green jacket.
AScott has been getting the star treatment, especially given he will host the Champions Dinner tonight, but Jason Day is coming in as the not-so darkhorse pick of many a pundit.
The 26-year-old Day is coming off of a six-week layoff resulting from some bad tendinitis in his left thumb. At his pre-tournament press conference on Monday, Day explained that he got a cortisone shot into the base knuckle of the thumb two weeks ago and has “full confidence” in the digits ability to hold up over four rounds of major championship golf.
After Scott and Day, a host of recent winners in Matt Jones, Steven Bowditch and John Senden populate the tee sheet. As first-timers, again, they won’t be expected to do much, but be wary of the confident golfer. All three are in form and ready.
But our pick of the week? Marc Leishman. You can get 12/1 odds on the big Aussie to finish as low Australian and methinks it’s a good gamble. Given Scott’s recent struggles with the long/flat stick and Day’s rust from six weeks away from competitive golf, Leishman doesn’t only seem like a sneaky good pick to go low Aussie, but to contend. You know, like he did last year.
Last things last today, let’s go back to that Champions Dinner thing. Adam Scott, being the kindly gent that he is, isn’t guarding the menu like it’s some kind of state secret like some past champs have done (*cough*Bubba*cough*). Instead, he released an idea of what the menu will be ahead of time so guys like, I don’t know, Bubba, can save some room for the Wendy’s on Washington Rd. after the meal. From the Sporting News
And now for something completely different: Adam Scott has made known his entree for Tuesday’s former championship dinner before the Masters. Say hello to Moreton Bay bugs.
Before you conjure up images of Crocodile Dundee and a big pot of steaming insects, Scott’s choice is more upscale than it sounds.
In a salute to the home folks back in Brisbane, Scott picked a local favorite. According to reports from Down Under, a Moreton Bay bug is a flat-headed lobster that takes its name from the body of water that borders the city.
Rather skip to the dessert? Scott’s choice is pavlova, a meringue dessert with a crisp crust and soft, light inside. It’s from Australia New Zealand but takes its name from a Russian dancer. A simple recipe, it is topped with kiwi, pomegranate or other fruit.
I think I may be with Bubba on this one. Two JBCs, no tomato, please.
For some reading today, we’ll stick with the first-timer theme. Ian O’Connor of ESPN.com files this report on Augusta State alum and WGC-Cadillac Championship champ, Patrick Reed.
Long before he announced to the planet last month that he is among its top five golfers, inspiring a scaled-down version of the storm Richard Sherman kicked up after the NFC Championship Game, Reed was known for projecting a vibe of superiority and for doing too much talking for his own good. “He shot his mouth off early on when he shouldn’t have,” said Henrik Norlander, Reed’s teammate at Augusta State.
“All I asked him to do was keep his mouth shut and play golf and let his golf clubs do the talking for him,” Gregory said. “It was the only way for him to earn the respect of his teammates.
“Patrick was on his final strike, and he knew that. If he didn’t shape up, he couldn’t go anywhere else. Even if he made the tour at that point, maturity-wise he would’ve gotten eaten up. I told him he was never going to make it if he didn’t get things under control.”
Yes, Patrick Reed eventually got things under control. He showed up at Augusta National on Monday saying he’d wear red again in the final round in honor of his idol, Tiger Woods, whose absence here isn’t the only reason the 23-year-old Reed might win the first major in which he’s ever competed. His victory at Doral in the WGC-Cadillac Championship was his third in seven months, notarizing his staggering belief in himself (think Ian Poulter’s ego on steroids) and encouraging him to see contention on Sunday’s back nine as a realistic endgame.
***And before I forget, if you’re interested in doing a Masters pool, shoot me an e-mail with your information and I’ll get back to you right away. Thanks.****
As for a video, how about this from CNN’s “Living Golf” on the first Dr. Alister Mackenzie’s road to Augusta.