The 2016 Masters – Day 1

mastersWhat did I learn today about golf from watching Day 1 of The Masters? It sometimes is very difficult to see if there was any benefit or lessons learned from watching the Masters. But, this year I believe that watching the roller coaster ride of some of the players I have a couple of take aways from Day 1.

I am not sure if you watched all of today’s round, but I did not. I was at work, so I caught snippets from time to time, reviewed the usual sites when I came home and that was enough to make a few observations. Not surprisingly, there really was nothing unusual that will shock anyone….or was there! Continue reading

The Masters – Let the Games Begin

Let The Games Begin!The waiting is over! The Masters starts today! After much anticipation the honorary starters will tee things off at 8:05 am. Calling Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player (we will miss Arnold Palmer this year) to the hit the ceremonial first balls of the tournament is the beginning of “a tradition unlike any other”.

Following these golfing greats will be Jim Herman, winner of the Shell Houston Open last weekend, and Steven Bowditch. I cannot image the pressure and excitement these two will feel  following Nicklaus and Player at The Masters. I would be shaking like a leaf and hoping I made contact with the ball!  Continue reading

The Masters – Day 1

The first round of the 2015 Masters is in the books. The stellar play by Jordan Spieth (-8), Ernie Els, Charley Hoffman, Jason Day and Justin Rose (all -5) have them leading the field. Except for Jordan Spieth and Jason Day, the rest of the names in the top 10 were not on most pundits’ radar! But, it is still the first day.

The Masters is a game of endurance, it is not a sprint. As the next three days unfold, many aspects of the leader’s game will be tested. Most of all, their ability to handle the pressure of leading the Masters.

The first day of the Masters is always exciting where the anticipation for fantastic golf changes to reality for golfing fanatics. However, for me, there is always one aspect of the Masters I look forward to seeing each year. The honorary starters hitting the first ball. This year, like others in the past, Arnold Palmer , 85, Gary Player, 79, and Jack Nicklaus, 75, thrilled the crowds with three awesome shots.

When I look at these great players, I cannot help but remember all the fantastic memories they have created. They transcend time as I see them bend over (more of a feat than we would think given their age), line up, and launch their drives down the first fairway. These three giants are worthy of our respect and admiration for making golf the game it is today. Their stats are simply amazing. Here is a quick snapshot of how great these players really are:

Honorary Starters of the 2015 Masters
Arnold Palmer Gary Player Jack Nicklaus
Masters Played 50 52 45
Masters Won 4 3 6
Masters Top 10 9 8 15
Total Majors 7 10 14
Professional Wins Worldwide 95 178 116

The stories these golfing legends could tell would be mind-boggling. Each time they tee it up at the Masters, I take a trip down memory lane. The championships they have won and lost; the spectacular shots over the years; and the grace and gentlemanly fashion in which they carried themselves is a lesson for us all. Watching the honorary starters is a tradition I love about the Masters and if you missed it:

Tomorrow is another day. The pressure will continue to build. I am looking forward to seeing if the current leaders have the game (both mentally and physically) to extend their lead. Right now, many players are working towards the privilege of playing on the weekend; I still think Rory McIlroy will win and he will start making his move tomorrow. Who are your movers and shakers for tomorrow?

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!

Masters Pairings

Tomorrow, the long-awaited start of The Masters arrives. The entire golfing world is ready for Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus, and Arnold Palmer to serve as honorary starters. A tradition that goes back to 1963, the honorary starters add that bit of excitement on the first tee. Who better to start The Masters off than these three giants?

Who the participants play with for the first two days is as important as how they play. Mixing and matching players cannot be easy and I am not sure how the pairings are selected. Regardless, the following is from Masters.com and here is what we have to look forward to over the next two days:

Masters Pairings 2015

There are many great pairings to watch, but here are the ones I will pay special attention to:

Tee Times Players
Thursday Friday
8:18 a.m. 11:25 a.m. Mike Weir Ben Crane Corey Conners (a)
9:02 a.m. 12:20 p.m. Patrick Reed Keegan Bradley Ian Poulter
9:24 a.m. 12:42 p.m. Bubba Watson Justin Rose Gunn Yang (a)
9:35 a.m. 12:53 p.m. Adam Scott Dustin Johnson Antonio Murdaca (a)
10:52 a.m. 1:59 p.m. J. B. Holmes Martin Kaymer Brandt Snedeker
10:41 a.m. 1:48 p.m. Phil Mickelson Rory McIlroy Ryan Moore
1:15 p.m. 9:57 a.m. Jordan Spieth Henrik Stenson Billy Horschel
1:48 p.m. 10:30 a.m. Tiger Woods Jamie Donaldson Jimmy Walker
1:59 p.m. 10:41 a.m. Jason Day Sergio Garcia Rickie Fowler

I am sure when you look at my list, you are wondering what I was thinking. Remember these are the players I think will be fun to watch and I have an interest in. Who do you think should be added to the list?

Of these above pairings, a couple of things jump out at me: Watson and Scott are both paired with amateurs, McIlroy’s group is potentially the toughest, and the Reed, Keegan, Poulter group might see fireworks! Oh the fun of it all!

On a side note, Jack Nicklaus shot a hole-in-one at the Par 3 Tournament today…..only like Jack can!

The timings and groups are set, all that is left is 4 days of exciting Masters Golf!

I am a grateful golfer…..Watching the Masters!