Even though it's dreary outside and we're kind of ill from it — we don't ask much from weather except for it to make up its mind — it is obviously springtime, because The Masters start tomorrow.
Yes, The Masters: When Jim Nantz soothes us into our afternoon naps, when we try to catch when John Daly is sneaking nips from his flask, when we giggle at Tiger Woods' attempts to high five another human being. Oh, and how's that campaign to get women playing here going? We haven't heard from Martha Burk in a while; maybe we should check in with her through Howell Raines.
Anyway, since we don't know much more about golf than "Tiger Woods" "John Daly" and "Au revoir, gopher," we asked Shane Bacon, purveyor of the Dogs That Chase Cars golf blog, to preview The Masters for us. He does so, with much aplomb, after the jump.
There are three things that truly get me excited these days:
1. Anytime I get to watch George W. Bush pronounce words with more than four syllables.
2. The occasional chilled Tecate.
3. When the Masters music is played the first time.
With April comes Augusta, and all that makes it not only the best golf tournament in the world, but one of the best sporting events of our year. Combing the tradition that comes from one of the most public politically incorrect places in America with one of the best golf courses in the our great land always brings energy and never leaves us with a disappointing winner (ok, Mike Weir not withstanding).
The easy pick this year would be to draw up Mr. Tiger Woods. Sure, he's played in four tournaments and won two of them, finishing in the top 10 in the other and racking up just under 2.5 million dollars thus far. I know when he comes to Augusta at the top of his game he usually carves the place apart like my uncle does with the turkey after about five shooters on Thanksgiving. I completely understand that he is the best athlete in the world right now, making more than just about everyone (not counting Oprah) and doing all the right things at all the right time. The main reason I can't jump on that really comfortable bandwagon is that I continuously complain about "experts" picking the favorite. I know it's comfortable, but so are silk boxers and eating junk food as opposed to the occasional Healthy Choice. I believe that if I was a betting man, I'd take Tiger over the other top dogs - Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk, Vijah Singh and Retief Goosen.
To go out on a limb, I'm going with Henrick Stenson over what others would consider a sleeper pick. I could never pick Charles Howell III (do they even make dress jackets in a 24 Regular?) or a foreign player like Luke Donald (looks like the guy that took my dry cleaning on Tuesday). I believe that Stenson is long enough to play the "new" Augusta and has already won enough not to get the late Sunday jitters. Plus, to be frank, he looks like a badass with the sunglasses on and seems like one of the few people that don't act like the son in "Ransom" when the kidnapper tries to take the check from Mel Gibson every single time Tiger Woods tees it up. I'm sure all that mental stability is because he's Swedish, but lets just leave my early pick at Stenson. Long hitter, does the little things well and has already been in the winner circle as many times as Mickelson in five less events.
With the Final Four flaming out on Monday and the Masters beginning just three days later, you could argue that the best two sporting events in our pitiful year will occur in the same week. I believe that you could attach a golfing star to each of the teams in a company pool and have a little wager. I believe that Tiger is your best fit to a team like Florida (already won, plays well when it counts, both can dance really well). I think that a guy like Howell III would fit the UCLA mold (nobody even talks about them as a contender even though they have been there before). Georgetown would be your Ernie Els (big, nasty, plays hard and doesn't really show it), and Ohio State would fill in your Geoff Ogilvy (extremely young but keeps notching the wins and scares the hell out of most everyone else).
With that comparison thankfully over, the Masters are soon upon us and the talk of azaleas and second cut will be in our vocabulary for the next four days. So stock up on pimento cheese sandwiches and Michelob Ultra (you can even pour one out for the artist formerly known as Sergio) as the best in the world attempt to win that colored jacket that everyone wants in their closet.