Is Tiger Ready for Prime Time? Preview and Analysis
The Master's Golf Tournament begins tomorrow, and the hundreds of story-lines surrounding it, including but not limited to Tiger Woods' infidelities and his return to golf, finally fade into the background as the first golfer tees off.
Before we get down to analysis of individual golfers and their chances lets talk about the course at Augusta National.
Augusta National usually favors the long hitters and the best putters in the game, particularly if the conditions are soft. The success of Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods at the Masters illustrates this fact. And the lengthening of the golf course in recent years has increased the advantage for the long hitter even more.
But there have been a few years when the golf course played firm and fast and the shorter shot-maker has had a better chance to compete. One such year was 1995, when Ben Crenshaw, inspired by his mentor the late Harvey Penick, won his second green jacket. Ben was able to work his hook off the tee to take advantage of the frequentÂ right-to-left leaning holes. Under the firm conditions and the golf course he was able to maximize his distance off the tee, and he put himself in a position to be aggressive with his approach shots and allow his legendary putting to finish his work.
With the lack of rain over the last few weeks, the golf course should be firm and fast. This will make it more important to have exact placement a player hits his tee shots. The rough cut, the firm greens, and the lack of square grooves will place a premium on precision ball-striking. The firm fairways will permit the non-power hitters to use the course's slopes to gain some of the length lost to the power drivers.
From this analysis I believe that all players who are at the top of their game will have a real chance to compete at the Masters this year.
A brief overview of the main competitors in this year's Masters is offered below.
Tiger is Tiger. If he is back and focused and at the top of his game there is no stopping him.
Playing the best golf of anybody in the world right now, Enough said.
A young up-and-coming golfer who might be peaking at the right time.
Another up-and-coming young American golfer who has 2 top 3 finishes under his belt this year.
The wily old vet is still playing well and this could be his last hurrah.
One of the main Euro contenders.
Has got the talent, and is playing well right now, but can he stand the pressure of a lead?
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