The first major is only 50 days away and the pundits are already starting to talk about who is hot and who is not. They circle like vultures in anticipation for the first chink in the top players’ game. The win by Jordan Spieth at Pebble Beach seems to have vaulted him to the top of the likely winners at Augusta.
Personally, I think it is a bit early for such a prediction, however being mid-February; the media has to start building the hype about something. Spieth’s play was impressive last weekend, but unfortunately the growing trend of ‘streaky players’ points to a different way to possibly pick a winner.
For the past year, I have notice that any player, at any time, can rise to the top of the heap. Once there, regardless of their previous record, they play well for a couple of weeks then come crashing back to earth. I will admit that the top players do hover around the top of the leaderboard most of the time, yet they too are subject to streaky play. This sine wave of performance suggests that Spieth might have peak a bit too soon!
Take any sport, regardless of their record; the team that is hot heading into the playoffs generally wins the day. They seem to gel better, have lucky breaks, get the calls, and show a swagger of confidence the other players cannot emulate. I am not sure why, but it is constant through all sports. Of course, great teams can counter this brief confidence with skill of play, but it takes all they can muster to come out on top.
Golf is no different. Before I start thinking about who is going to come out on top, I want to see how the players are performing about 3 weeks before The Masters. Chances are that it will be a top player, but one can never tell. So to all you pundits out there trying to pick your winner based on historical stats, it might be time to take a breath, pause and see what unfolds. I predict a streaky player will win at Augusta this year; who that will be ….. I will tell you in a couple of weeks.
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!