Shell Houston Open victory to Vaughn Taylor today. Had he done so, Taylor, the Augusta native, would have been playing next week on his home court. As it is Taylor will be a spectator at Augusta. Kim's bunker to bunker maneuver on the 18th hole with his second and third shots forced him to win it on the 1st playoff hole. A win's a win though and Kim captured his 3rd career PGA Tour victory.
All of which leads us to the question of favorites for this year's Masters. To this Average Golfer it's really looking like a crapshoot. Woods will be battling ring rust among "who knows?" how many other demons and distractions. Mickelson's play this year has been a roller coaster, to be kind. Ernie Els appears to be the hottest stick, but he'll have to climb the mountain that says he can't get it done in the majors. Steve Stricker has all-around stats and moxy, but isn't really a constant presence in the major golf discussion. Perhaps strangely under the radar we'll find the defending champ, Angel Cabrera. He leads the tour in driving distance, which would put a wedge in his hand on many of Augusta's stupidly long holes. Hey, worked last year. Cabrera seems immune to pressure, a convenient quality to possess in majors.
A young gun? Possible. Villegas, Mahan, McIlroy, the aforementioned Kim, among others, all have the tools to accomplish the mission. Still, there's a mystique about the Masters and experience factor the means it's more likely for Nicklaus to win at 46 than anyone else to win in their twenties. The diabolical greens and course knowledge required to know exactly where to place every shot works against youth.
Tomorrow we'll show that while the Masters is a great golf exhibition, it's nowhere near the best test of golf. Don't change that channel.