Tuesday, March 30, 2010

What Els Ernie?

Two consecutive PGA victories qualifies as an adequate warm-up for the Masters. Ernie Els' wins at Doral and Bay Hill this past week have put him on the front burner for a green jacket. What better time to get your prodigious, but often hidden, game in order for the season's first major? Ernie's been saying of late that "he's in a good place". Now he has the scorecards to back it up. The revelation that he has an autistic son and lingering knee surgery recovery have shadowed the Big Easy's career for the past few years. Now at 40, his clock is ticking. Ticking to win majors I would suspect. After two US Open victories relatively early in his career, much was expected. Ernie need not look past Vijay Singh to realize all isn't lost.

I've written before that Ernie has appeared to lack that certian "fire in the belly" needed to close out golf tournaments. Evidently he's made an adjustment. After being pulled off the course at Bay Hill on Sunday, due to weather, Ernie had collapsed a 5 stroke advantage by playing his last two holes in 3 over. With a night to think about choking, he came back on Monday by one-putting three of the last four holes to secure a 2 shot win. Sounds like good Augusta practice to me.

The bookies have laid the early Augusta line. Venerable Ladbrokes has Tiger Woods as a 4-1 favorite with Phil Mickelson at 8-1, followed by Els at 10-1. That's more an indication of the players' favor with the betting populace than their chances of winning. I'm certain the bookmaker's are wary of too much Woods money upsetting the balance and setting the scene for a potential payout bloodbath.

The Shell Houston Open this week is the final Masters tune up. Hard not to root for Fred Couples, isn't it?

Til' next,

Monday, March 22, 2010

Win a Trip to the 2010 Masters, Courtesy of Cristie Kerr

Thank Patricia Hannigan of Golf Girl's Diary for alerting me about this unique opportunity. Sponsored by Cristie Kerr, it's a trip to the final two days of this year's masters to include: first-class air fare, accommodations  and all transportation plus two badges for the the weekend, Sat 4/10 and Sun 4/11. 

Tickets are a mere $2.00, with a $10.00 minimum. All proceeds will be directed to Cristie's charity, Birdies for Breast Cancer.

Tickets can be found at this link... Celebrities for Charity.

Think about it. The Masters for ten bucks a throw! Gotta be in it to win it.

Thanks again Patricia for the notice...

Til' next,

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Back Woods

The vigil is over. Tiger Woods ends his self imposed hiatus at the venerable Masters, April 8-11. This Average Golfer has said that the only remaining noteworthy news in the Woods saga was the date of his return to competitive golf. So, we have it.

Woods' presence props up what is traditionally a weak field in Augusta. With fewer than 100 players receiving one of the coveted invitations, and more than a few entrants not having the proverbial "snowball's chance", Woods' odds of returning with a victory are enhanced considerably. Couple that with the controlled grounds and atmosphere at Bobby Jones' exhibition and this becomes his logical choice for his first foray of 2010. Programming note...Don't look for him in the par 3 contest though. The loser in the equation may be Arnold Palmer. Woods' decision not to prep at Bay Hill will keep some butts off the grounds, although with the circus guaranteed to surround Eldrick's arrival, that may end up being a blessing in disguise.

How would you like to have been a fly on the wall in the Woods' household. "But honey, all the other guys are playing and I've got these expensive clubs that are growing mold.Yes, I promise to come straight home. Let's see, an hour for warm-up, a five and a half hour round, two hours travel on the jet, hmm, nine hours should cover it. I'll be back in the house by five."

Much ado has been made of the potential reaction at Woods' first event back. Will hecklers be out in droves? Will Woods provide any access for the press and their months long question preparation? The answer is who cares? What'll happen will happen eventually. Let the passion play develop at it's own pace. As for Woods' legendary control and manipulation of the media I have a quote from an old girlfriend......."At the end of the night you have to pay the band." 

Til' next,