The anticipation is probably greater this year than for any Masters Tournament in a decade. The leading lights are all playing well and this year's PGA Tour has had many great finishes by a very strong contingent all looking to make their mark.
The resurgent Woods is the Vegas and British bookies favorite, followed closely by Phil, Rory, Lee, Luke and Justin. It's hard to see past that posse of first names, although we'll try. How about Charl to defend?, Bubba to focus for all 72 holes?, Webb to hit a shot within the allotted 2 minutes?. That said we still like the European players to challenge and ultimately prevail. The last European winner was Jose-Maria Olazabal in 1999 and it's time for another to step up and Charl to hand over the jacket.
On the golf course front, it will be in its usual perfect condition and you can expect to hear about the changes to the front of the 8th green and back of the 16th green. It's tough to tell from the picture above, but the back right quadrant of the 16th seems to have been flattened out giving enough room for a pin back there. I'm not saying its easy! - this remains one of the easiest 3 putts out there - I can testify to that!
You know Mr. Finchem isn't happy! For the first time ever, another interloper from Europe won on the insular PGA Tour, making it 3 wins in a row. This time it was Luke Donald winning in a 4-man play off at The Transitions. Last week it was Justin Rose's great win at the dreadfully named World Golf Championship - Cadillac Championship (one "Championship" in the title is sufficient!) and the week before that the media's new one word darling, Rory, at the new and improved Honda.
I have dug around on the PGA Tour website and can't find another instance of 3 of Mr. O' Grady's men winning 3 in a row, so this is great news for the European Tour and confirms my belief that The Masters Tournament trophy is once again heading west to Europe. Six of the top 8 in the Official World Golf Rankings are from the European Tour, including defending champ, Charl Schwartzel (who is also on top form). Only Webb Simpson and Steve Stricker represent the US in the elite 10. The countdown is on for Augusta, with CBS and the Golf Channel upping the promos to extraordinary levels - only 2 weeks to go before we once again get to see the green, green grass of GA.