2017 The Masters – Sellstant Masters Spectacular

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Congratulations to 27 year old Russell Henley on his win at the Shell Houston Open.  His name doesn’t scream at you when looking at a leaderboard, but the Georgia Bulldog has had a very solid season.  Henley has made 9 cuts in 11 starts including 3 top tens.  Henley makes a lot of birdies (ranked 12th on tour), but lacks accuracy off the tee (63.7%).  It’d be stunning to see him come back to his home state and win his first major.  Based on that stat, I wouldn’t count on it.

The Shell Houston Open was a victim of weather on Sunday.  Golf fans were the victim of tape-delay coverage.  Nothing de-legitimizes a sport quite like tape-delay.  If any network understands this, it would be NBC.  NBC has announced it prepares to show the 2018 Winter Olympics live. Pyeonchang, South Korea is 11 hours ahead of EST.

Now a lot of channels use the excuse there is no other programming to fill the traditional golf timeslot.  NBC has no such excuse.  NBC Sports had an excellent opportunity to help grow the game showing a live finish to the Houston Open and running straight into the ANA Inspiration for the remainder of the window.  Why not show live women’s golf?

Of course, this was my opinion before the LPGA took a note from the USGA playbook and started handing out mid-round penalties.  I’m amazed there are people in this world who find it so crucial to defend this decision.  I read an article Monday and some comments prove human existence has overstayed its welcome on earth.

The Tournament

Augusta, Georgia plays host to the start of spring for golf fans across the country.  It’s the first time many people are seeing the ground thaw and their clubs are allowing play.  No course in the country looks as good as Augusta.  Even with the questionable weather early this week, you can be assured the magnolias will be in bloom and the grass will be as green as ever.  Few courses can actually take attention away from a field like the one we’ll see this weekend.

20 years ago The Masters was won by a young player by the name of Eldrick Woods.  The win started a chain of enhancements being made to the layout and design of the golf course.  Most notably, was the addition of trees, a second cut of rough, and length.  In 2000, the course played 6,985 yards; this weekend it will play almost 500 yards longer.  Woods played the course to -18 and beat Tom Kite (whose strangely been in my thought space a lot lately) by 12 shots.  Augusta wasn’t going to have any more of that.

The only player to match Woods’ record is Jordan Spieth in his first ever major victory.   Last year Spieth was in the drivers seat until two very poor swings at 12.  Spieth will be playing this year and looking to overcome that story line.

This year’s Champions Dinner is taking place as I write this and being hosted by Danny Willett.  Sunday Roast reminds me of being a kid.  My mom wasn’t making prime rib, but its definitely something I can get behind.

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Willett is the defending Champion.

Weather

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The weather is going to be a factor this week.  Rain early in the week and some pretty strong winds for the first 2 rounds could result in issues for some players who don’t have the length of top players.  7,435 yards is long for a dry course.  Look for scores to suffer in the first two rounds.

Augusta National is 7,435 yards playing to a par 72.

 

Favorite Hole

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“One of the world’s most famous golf holes, this is Augusta National’s shortest par three. Club selection is often difficult, as varying winds can require anything from a six-iron to a nine-iron for Masters competitors. The daunting presence of Rae’s Creek and three strategically placed bunkers make it imperative that players land their shots on the putting surface. Golfers walk across the Ben Hogan Bridge to reach the green.

The 12th hole has been a heartbreaker from the start. Its fickle winds, narrow green and looming water have thwarted many runs for the Masters title.” – Masters.com

12 turned out to be a heartbreaker last year for one Jordan Spieth.  After a 7, Spieth ended up coming up just short to Danny Willett for his 2nd Green Jacket.  This will be discussed ad nausea by the CBS crew.

Sellstant Staff Picks

We don’t call this the Sellstant Masters Spectacular because I added a few extra pictures for you to pass the time at work. The Sellstant staff has come together to pick their favorites in this week’s event. I’ve asked for everyone to pick a winner.  The staff gave me picks and reasons why.

My Pick

Last Week: Winner*   Season Stats: Winner – 2, Top 10 – 3, Top 25 – 3, Top-50 – 2, MC – 2

Jordan Spieth

Had it not been for a couple bad swings last year, Jordan Spieth would already have 2 Green Jackets.  He’s seemed to find a comfort playing at Augusta.  Spieth’s average finish at ANGC is 1.7.  Pretty, pretty, pretty good.

****Sellstant Season Long Challenge****

With no Podcast in the near future, I asked the staff a sports radio question.  Who will win more money on tour this season?  Vijay Singh or Tiger Woods.  This will be a running tally. 

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Tiger Woods: $0 – WD

Vijay Singh: $50,303 – +50,000 to win

Steve’s Pick

Jordan Spieth

“He’s my favorite golfer so I want that story.  Plus I think he can dominate that course.”

Corey’s Pick

Justin Thomas

“Played great to start the year…seems like that sneaky guy who hasn’t made news in the last month that shows up to win.”

Some Stuff to Look For

  • Dustin Johnson– Dustin Johnson is the #1 player in the world.  As #1, he’s undefeated.  That’s phenomenal.  How?  Well, he leads the tour in Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green, Driving Distance, Approaches from 175-200 Yards, Greens in Regulation, Total Strokes Gained….(deep breath), and scrambling from the fringe.  With a rain-lengthened course, this event could set up very well for Johnson.
  • Jordan Spieth – It’s going to be talked about.   Spieth had a bad hole on 12.  If he’s in the hunt on Sunday.  Look for a video package from CBS.
  • Phil Mickelson – Phil is 46 years old.  Has anyone ever won a Masters at 46 years old?  I bet you didn’t know Jack Nicklaus did!  A Phil win doesn’t quite seem as surprising.  Though he’s got no wins since 2013, Phil has been playing stellar golf over that stretch.  With the weather, a player like Phil could scramble his way around Augusta and find success.

Who is broadcasting the event this week?

CBS and Jim Nantz are back.  Last year I complained that CBS only showed one Sunday story line.  I would like to see more players making birdies whether they’re winning or not.  We don’t have to watch Spieth walk to his golf ball before each shot.

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What Bugged Me This Week?

Nothing man.  It’s Masters week.

I did eat too much food watching Wrestlemania on Sunday and induced myself to vomit.  Not the proudest moment, but I was eating healthy!

Good Song 

Generally this song will keep me from hitting something/somebody due to the above.

‘Til next week.  Tee it high and keep it dry.

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Jeremy will be writing about some things on the PGA Tour and those that plague everyday life.  Feel free to contact Jeremy via email (Jeremy@sellstant.com) or on twitter (@jeremyparch).  As always, you can write your thoughts in our comment section.  

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