Tournament: The Masters, April 5-8, 2018
Course: Augusta National Golf Club, 7,435 yards, par 72
Purse: $11,000,000 (Winner reportedly to receive $2,000,000)
Defending Champion: Sergio Garcia. The prodigy-turned-best-player-never-to-have-won-a-major was tied for the lead going into Sunday with Justin Rose. They battled back and forth with a very dramatic second nine - Sergio making an all-world par on 13 and a much needed eagle on 15 before missing a winning putt on 18. But in a 1 hole playoff, Rose was out of position from the start and Sergio knocked down a birdie putt anyway to capture his first major title. And on Seve Ballesteros’ 70th birthday no less (a mentor to Sergio, also a Spaniard and a 2-time winner himself before passing away in 2011).
Fun Fact: Seriously, what fun fact can there be about The Masters that everyone doesn’t already know?
Television: Thursday/Friday 3:00 pm - 7:30 pm EDT (ESPN); Saturday 3:00 pm - 7:00 pm EDT (CBS); Sunday 2:00 pm - 7:00 pm EDT (CBS). There is also a ton of streaming available at Masters.com
Dawgs in the Field (Four): Brian Harman, Kevin Kisner, Russell Henley, Bubba Watson.
Well folks, the par 3 tournament, the Champions Dinner, the practice rounds, and all the hoopla is behind us and today is an actual Masters tournament day. We’ve already set the stage, and we’ve delved into our favorite Masters tournaments, and we’ve given a breakdown of the Bulldogs putting peg to ground. And with the information above, you should be all set to enjoy one of the best weeks of the year outside of college football season.
To hone in your watching and fandom, here are the tee times for our Georgia golfers so plan your screen time accordingly:
9:25 am EDT: Brian Harman will be paired with 1998 champion Mark O’Meara and amateur Henry Ellis of England. O’Meara is frankly old, and Ellis is a FSU Seminole but qualified by winning last year’s British Amateur.
11:04 am EDT: Bubba Watson is grouped with Henrik Stenson of Sweden and Jason Day of Australia (though he’s been in the States for a decade). This is definitely a marquee matchup. Stenson is #14 in the world rankings, is the defending British Open champ, and has been playing very good golf. Day was #1 in the world as recently as 2 years ago, is #11 currently, has already won this year, and has 3 top 10s in his Masters history.
12:32 pm EDT: Russell Henley draws 1987 Masters Champ Larry Mize (who is also old, though a native of Augusta) and draws Shubhankar Sharma from Eastman. Kidding, of course, he’s actually from Jammu, India and his game is absolutely no joke. Sharma played very well in both the WGC Mexico Championship and the WGC Dell Match Play, and has a nice resume’ for a 21 year old pro.
1:05 pm EDT: Kevin Kisner is lucky enough to play with Thomas Pieters of Germany and Xander Schauffele. Pieters is a tall lanky German with prodigious power; he hasn’t broken through for a win in the US yet, but we will see him this fall in the Ryder Cup for Europe. Schauffele is a native of San Diego and as a rookie captured a top 5 in the US Open, won the Greenbrier Classic and the Tour Championship. While not containing big names, these are three players with serious, serious game.
Other Pairings of Note:
10:42 am EDT: Tiger Woods, Marc Leishman, Mick Fleetwood (this is a very strong group, but very different players with contrasting styles).
10:53 am EDT: Sergio Garcia, Justin Thomas, Doc Redman. Per usual, the defending champ (Garcia) is paired the first 2 days with the reigning US Amateur champion (Redman). Thomas is #2 in the world and can jump to #1 in the world with a victory this week (already won twice this season).
1:27 pm EDT: Phil Mickelson, Rickie Fowler, Matt Kuchar
1:38 pm EDT: Adam Scott, Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm
1:49 pm EDT: Jordan Spieth, Alex Noren, Louis Oosthuizen
2:00 pm EDT: Justin Rose, Dustin Johnson, Rafael Cabrera Bello
Maybe the Tournament Committee is pandering to CBS and the crowds, maybe they’re not. But these four consecutive groups have some serious starpower and the TV cameras will be turned their way for sure.
Feel free to use this as an open comment thread for today’s action. And as always...