The above headline is the cry of
golfers, who believe the powers that rule over sacred Augusta National made
course changes because of Tiger Woods.
The fact is, it doesn’t matter
whether the course is longer or the rough higher. It all comes down to handling
the super-slick greens. Woods, naturally is the favorite. LVSC opened Tiger at
2-1. Gold Coast was more generous at 3-1.
There’s just no way that Woods
can’t be considered a factor at this, or any other, Masters. In fact, Woods
becomes the favorite in any tournament he chooses to enter.
Can he add another Green Jacket to the
one he earned last year? We’ll know late Sunday night. For sure, history
follows Tiger in every major championship he competes in from this point
There isn’t the pressure of
completing the Golden Slam like last year at Augusta when ÂÃ‚ÂTiger sought to own
all four major titles (Masters, U.S. Open, PGA and British at the same time, but
not in the same calendar year.
No, this year Tiger is calmer and
rested. Woods did not compete last week at the Houston Open, but the challenge
he faces will come from that winner, in general, and the International golfers
the strong feeling here is that an armada of very capable “foreigners” will
be right with ÂÃ‚ÂTiger at the top of the leaderboard when the tourney really
begins Sunday on the back nine.
Open champion Retief Goosen opened at 17-1 at Gold Coast and seems a
solid pick off his impressive win over Phil Mickelson and Jesper Parnevik at
Ernie Els (4-1) is the third top choice
behind Woods and David Duval, who was runnerup to Woods last year. Els, from
South Africa, is playing his best golf in five years.
Sergio Garcia (9-1) had a taste of the
Masters drama several years ago when he pushed Tiger. Jose Maria Olazabal and
Parnevik are part of the “field” at 11-2 at the Gold Coast. Olazabal has won
the Masters twice and has played well on the Florida portion of the PGA Tour as
he prepared for Augusta.
Parnevik has been second twice at the
British Open and finished with a 65
last week at Atlanta to place second.
Mickelson is listed at 5-1, a good
price for a golfer that most believe is destined sooner or later to win a major.
Vijay Singh (12-1) won two weeks ago at
Houston with a record score, then took last week off. The additional length
plays into his game.
The Masters also favors experienced
players like Greg Norman, Nick Price, Nick Faldo and Fred Couples.
Chris DiMarco (20-1), arguably the most consistent golfer this year on the PGA Tour, could steal the show.
|C. Howell III||18-1|
Courtesy of Gold Coast