Pod and Lefty were sympathetic when Lee told them about the fire on his jet
How To Get A-Head In Golf
“Golf is a game that is played on a five-inch course – the distance between your ears.”
Regular readers of our blogs will know instantly that we’re not clever enough to come up with something as concise and witty as that. They are in fact the profound words of Bobby Jones. Or Gandhi – we’ve already forgotten. It’s seldom been more accurate than looking ahead to this week’s Masters. You can spend all the time you want looking at GIRs, PPGs, PPRs and other such acronyms we don’t fully understand, but the biggest indicator of how a golfer is going to perform at Augusta may come in the letters R U OK?
Unless the market is ‘What Are The Chances of Tiger NOT Signing a Pre-nup next time he gets married?’ did you ever think you’d see a betting market again and see 12/1 beside the name of Tiger Woods? How you rate Tiger’s chances depends on what you think he has on his mind at the moment. Well, the last couple of years have given us a fair idea of what he has on his mind most of the time, but his performance at Augusta will hinge on how much of the recent unpleasantness is nagging at him. Golf is played in the head and it needs to be free from distractions. You can’t be worrying about trivial things like family, friends or if your silly pants look silly enough. That’s why they wear the silly pants – it’s one less thing to worry about. They know they look ridiculous so then they can concentrate on sticking the ball in the hole.
Regardless of his current struggles, Tiger remains the most gifted golfer of his generation and once he gets his head right, he will be back in the mix for Majors. Whether or not that happens this week in Augusta is up to you to decide. Perhaps it’s worth listening to what World Number 2 and all round oracle, Ian Poulter has to say. When asked if he thought Tiger would finish in the top 5, Poulter replied “not this year.” Considering his track record, we might as well send Tiger’s dimensions to the tailor now.
Phil Mickelson has emerged from a prolonged period of indifferent hacking around the preened fairways of America to establish himself as the undisputed favourite for the Masters. Since winning last year, Lefty has been playing like he celebrated too hard, but his remarkable weekend at the Houston Open reminded us all that under that easily pigeon-holeable laid back Californian attitude, remains a formidable golfer. He overcame a flood of emotions to claim Green Jacket number 3 last year and on the back of his recent form, number 4 looks a real possibility.
Lee Westwood has come so close so often, you have to wonder if his best chance of landing a Green Jacket lies in TK Maxx. Sadly, he’s got a ready-made excuse for not quite bringing home the bacon in a Major once again after his private jet made an emergency landing on the way to Augusta earlier in the week. You know you’ve got it bad when Ryanair sounds like a better option than a private jet. In fairness to Lee, he has played down the ‘staring death in the face’ element of the story, but don’t be surprised if he cites ‘delayed shock’ as an explanation for an 82 on the final day. Padraig Harrington dropped clues that his endless ‘fixing something that wasn’t broken’ policy may finally be paying dividends with an encouraging showing in Houston. After winning his three Majors, Pod decided that his swing wasn’t good enough and has spent much of the time since scratching around, but he managed four rounds under par in Texas and something similar this week would have him right in contention.
With youngsters like Martin Kaymer, Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell, proven old timers like Furyk, Els and Vijay and of course [INSERT NAME OF NON-DESCRIPT YOUNG AMERICAN GOLFER] in the field, this Masters is a tough one to call. There’s a lot of players with good chances, so picking the right one could be very lucrative – if you’ve got the head for it.