Friday, April 07, 2006

Masters, Day 2: I should start by saying that I failed to mention the biggest story of the day yesterday, which was Ben Crenshaw's 1 under par start. In addition to being a sentimental favorite at Augusta*, the best part was that it highlighted the fact that under the right conditions (dry, hard, fast) it doesn't take a long ball specialist to play the course well. Crenshaw couldn't hit it all that far when he was in his prime, and now he's 53 and playing the Senior circuit (but they're active seniors!). If he can play under par, anyone can.

Of course, he won't win, but it's good theater for Thursday-Friday and gives Jim Nantz and company something nostalgic to talk about with no Jack or Arnie in the field.

*Crenshaw is a two time Masters winner, '84 and '95, with his second providing a tear-jerker moment on the final hole when he tapped in for the win. His teacher/mentor, and a legend in the game named Harvey Penick, had died the previous weekend and Cresnshaw was a pallbearer at his funeral the day before the tournament started. The week was one long "win one for Harvey" march. Golfers are suckers for that kind of thing.

Midday Update: New leader, Chad Campbell. In case you're saying "Who?" he's a guy who everyone has been looking for to do big things for a couple years. He's inconsistent as hell, but when he's on he can be great. A very streaky putter, especially. When he gets in contention he can win. In Palm Springs. Augusta may be different story.

Crenshaw is still under par at the turn, and good for him.

Not a lot of big surprises other than that. Tiger has yet to make a run, but it's early (he's on about #4 right now). Nick O'Hern is in the top ten, but he's yet to win in America, I think. Good player, but very young, so don't look to him to win. Billy Mayfair was almost out of the game due to injuries a couple years ago and had to play last year on medical exemptions (players with a certain number of years/dollars won can get a one year exemption if they lose a season to injuries/health). Good to see him playing well, as he's a good guy. Darren Clarke, my pick for a "Best Player Never To Have Won A Major." Has a good chance to lose that mantle this week. Good luck to him, and anyone else who enjoys a pint and a cigar. Golf needs more of them (pros, that is. Most amateurs are already on board).

Enough for now. Back to work.

One More Thing: In the David Duval/Charles Coody runoff, Coody has surged into the lead with a 74 today. That's pretty damn good playing for anyone, especially a 69 year old. Duval is on track to shoot another round of 80 or more. Go David!

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