Here are some thoughts:
- If you haven't heard, the 14-year-old kid from China (Guan) was assessed a slow-play penalty today. I find it quite ironic that a 14-year-old uses an anchored putter AND is a slow player. This is what the current generation of TOUR players has bred.
- I remember reading - and I think it was in Hank Haney's The Big Miss - that one time Tiger was so dialed in with his irons on the range - I want to say at a British Open - that Steve Williams had to tell him to aim a little to the right or left of the flag because he was seriously afraid he would hit the pin. Perhaps Joe LaCava didn't get the message, as Woods hit the pin on 15 and, instead of a kick-in birdie- the ball went into the water for an eventual "good" bogey.
- Fantasy - Most of my roster moves backfired in the second round in Yahoo!, but I'm only making one change for Saturday. Woods in for Mickelson. Tiger is a moving day legend at Augusta, so don't sit this one out. Phil might make a move, but he might not. Tiger will. The other three are Dustin Johnson, Justin Rose and Adam Scott.
I'm sure some of you know the stat better than I do, but it essentially states that you better be in the top five after the second round if you want to win the Masters and you often need to be in the final group on Sunday.
Knowing that and referring to Sunday's preview, here's what I think of those in the top 5's chances, as well as a few more just outside to watch.
- Jason Day - He was 20th on our power rankings, but eliminated as one who could win because of his missed cut in 2012. Given he was T2 in 2011, he's a threat.
- Freddie Couples (T2) - At 5-under and one back, we'll see what Boom Boom can do on the weekend. Eliminated as a potential winner due to age, and 39th on our power rankings. I still don't like his chances to win, but would love to be wrong.
- Marc Leishman (T2) - The first round leader began his slow fade in the second round. We eliminated him as a potential winner because he hadn't made a cut and was only making his second start. I expect him to hang around for a while on Saturday, but eventually be fighting for a top 12 and a trip back for next year on Sunday.
- Angel Cabrera (T4) - At 4-under and two back, he was 23rd in our power rankings and DID meet the criteria for a potential winner. He was also our pick in the Golf Channel Group 4. Hard to see him winning, but he will be around in the end.
- Jim Furyk (T4) - We eliminated him as a winner because he had made one more start than O'Meara before he won his first Masters. Let's be honest. If he steps on the 18th tee with a one-stroke lead, that tee shot will find the trees.
- Brandt Snedeker (T4) - He fit the criteria of a winner and I even mentioned that he was a "perfect fit" on paper. He was eerily similar to 2003 Mike Weir leading into this tournament with a torrid West Coast Swing. Form was scary after the injury, but he's a closer now. If I had to pick one person currently in the top five to win, it would be Sneds.
- At 3-under and tied for seventh, there is a large group of players that could make a huge leap on moving day. Among them are a group of guys highly considered primed for their first major. They are Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Jason Dufner, K.J. Choi and Justin Rose. Oh, and a guy named Tiger Woods. I'll go out on a limb and predict that one of these guys will shoot a 66 or 67 tomorrow and earn a spot in the final group. Woods is the favorite to do so, but don't sleep on any of them. Of those, only Choi didn't meet the criteria of a winner I established.
- The rest - It's a big ask to leap all of those at 3-under or better, but don't count out Rory McIlroy (2-under), Charl Schwartzel (2-under) or Dustin Johnson. It will take at least a third-round 67 or 68 for one of these guys to really jump into the conversation, but they all could do it.
- Feels like 10- or 11-under will win this one. That would probably be bad for a guy like Couples, but ideal for someone like Snedeker or Cabrera.
Enjoy the third round of the Masters!