The first day of the Masters is a religious experience for most golfers, and even for some non golfers. Anyone, golfers and non golfers alike, can enjoy the sights and the sounds of the Masters. The thrill of the patrons cheering for a player who just got back to level par, the walk over Hogan Bridge, or explaining what Amen Corner is to the Mrs.
What were the highlights of day one at the Masters? Well as always there were some surprise opening rounds, and some unsettling rounds as well. Lets start with the big dogs:
Tiger always starts out slow and steady in the majors, he opened with a -2 under par 70. Puts himself right in the mix and in a great spot to get into the top 5-10 spots on the leader board today which is right where he wants to be. Whats the saying? You can’t win a tournament on Thursday but you can lose it. Tiger is a big believer in this. Solid round one.
Rory did not have the hop in his step that he had in Texas on Sunday. Rory has an awful poker face. We can all tell if he is having fun and if he is struggling. When he wins, hes bouncing around, smiling having fun, knocking down flags and banging in putts. First day of the Masters, he looks to be struggling a bit, and not having fun while hes doing it. Rory needs to find a way to snap out of his slumps mid round so he can big the player that he can be when hes happy.
Phil the Thrill has two or three 3wds in the bag, he has an awesome new putter with a Super Stroke Grip and matte black putter shaft, and fought his way around Augusta and ended up one under par. Phil is right there, and he is playing very well, if he can keep the ball in the fairway on day 2 and make a few putts we might see Phil join Arnold Palmer and Tiger Woods at 4 Masters Jackets each.
Sergio Garcia, our first round co-leader is playing like the Sergio we all came to love at the 99 PGA Championship at Medinah. Running down the fairway shooting looks at TW like he owes him money, and putting great. Sergio told the media last year that he never thought he could win at the Masters…bet he changes his tune after his opening round at Augusta.
Keegan Bradley is always a favorite, and rightfully so. Phils protege and good friend has shown Keegan the ropes at Augusta, and we all know what happens when Keegan gets fired up…he cuts through the crowd like a swashbuckling George Washington crossing the Delaware. With an opening +1 Keegan has not played himself out, but he needs a great second round to get back into the mix. If anyone watched Keegans par putt on 18…we know he his fired up and ended on a great note.
Freddie Couples. I could stop right there and everyone would know how Fred is doing at the Masters. Augusta National is Freddie Couples fountain of youth. He plays like the Fred from the 90’s and not the 53 year old Champions Tour dominate player that he is. Each year I pull for Fred, and each year he gives me reasons to want to see him win. Who wouldn’t love to see Freddie Couples win another Masters tournament?
Rickie Fowler played a phenomenal round yesterday albeit up and down. With two double bogies on the opening holes of each nine, followed up with six birdies and one eagle we get a tricky Rickie that is -4 under par, and looking like we could see him in a Orange and Green outfit on Sunday evening. Plus he is on my Masters Fantasy League so I am pulling for him too!
Dustin Johnson has never finished better than top 35 in a Masters Tournament, but he has the length and the swagger to pull off a big winner in Georgia. I would love to see Dustin crowned the Masters Champion… and I promise he will not cry.
Matt Kuchar is the ho hum best dawg gone player in the south. Matt is sneaky good, he is so good that you might not even notice when he is breathing down your neck with a Bettinardi Putter hiding up his sleeve ready to steal a victory from someone and do it all with a big smile while you think, man that Kuch is a nice guy. Matt ties his best score at Augusta National with an opening round of 68, Id watch out for Kuch and look for him on Sunday afternoon.
We will wrap up day one with Tianlang Guan the 14 year old phenom from China who is the youngest player to ever play in the Masters opening with a +1 73. WOW. I do not think I could manage to break 80 in a PGA Tournament, let alone a Major Championship, and then even more than that to add in the fact that he is 14 and playing in the Masters???!!! WOW. That is all I can say about that.
Day two has already started, I am predicting Tiger Rory and Phil move up the leader board, Ricky follows up with a solid 70 or 71, Keegan bangs out a 68 or 67 and Sergio remains near the top of the leader board once we find the half way point.
- 10 things to know for the Masters (kansascity.com)
- The Superbowl of Golf (sportpourri.wordpress.com)
- Photos: Lindsey Vonn watches boyfriend Tiger Woods at Masters’ opening day (photos.denverpost.com)
- Can the Masters Jacket Stay in the USA This Year? (epicasports.com)
- Rory McIlroy Struggles In Masters Round 1, Shoots Even-Par 72 (huffingtonpost.com)
- The Masters Tournament By The Numbers (forbes.com)