Let us all bow our heads in respect to this week's important religious holidays. Of course I am talking about each round of the Masters tournament in Augusta, Georgia, which marks the real beginning of the golf season. With some help from my main man Patrick Lyons, who Tom O'Donnell is in training to be, we have several important issues to tackle. The first being the fate of one Greg Norman. The Shark could potentially be playing in his final Masters; he needs to finish very high in the money in order to earn another exemption. Let's hope that the Shark doesn't keep up his "tradition unlike any other" and tantalize us with the hopes of a victory, only to collapse on the final day. Greg Norman is one player I would never wish that on again.
I'll never forget the 1996 Masters. Even though I was only 11 years old, I had been playing golf for about 6 years already and had already learned the significance of the Masters. I remember my mom telling me that Greg Norman had never won the Masters before and that this year had to be his year. After an opening round 63 Norman seemed well on his way, and he had a stranglehold on the Green Jacket after three days with a six shot lead. Then it happened. On the final day Norman completed one of the most amazing collapses of all time. His six shot lead evaporated after only 12 holes. After nearly chipping in for eagle on 15 (see picture), Norman hit his tee shot on the next hole into the water and secured the collapse en route to a 78 in the final round. Nick Faldo shot a 67 and cruised to victory by 5 strokes. Normally, I would laugh at meltdowns like this, but I remember even at a young age feeling sick to my stomach about this collapse. Last year, Norman held a 2 shot lead at +2 going into the final round of the British Open only to shoot 7 over in the final round and watch Padraig Harrington (Donk's boy) kiss the Claret Jug. I couldn't help but feel that awful feeling for the poor fella. Bittersweet as it was again, at least it earned Norman this final chance at Masters glory. I'd love to see Norman, Greg win the Green Jacket this year, but I don't know if he or I could handle another one of his collapses. I will certainly be pulling for him.
With the Shark pushing 55 though, he may not have the fire power capable of winning this tournament. The year after his collapse in 1996, Tiger Woods took home the Masters Championship and ushered in the young gun era in golf. With that said, here are some guys that I think are capable of winning this year.
Tiger Woods- Obviously. Woods is a 4 time champ and his win at the Arnold Palmer Classic has everyone buzzing that he is back. Winning the Masters would double stamp it. And we all know that you can't triple stamp a double stamp.
Fat Phil- I hope not. I hate him so
Zach Johnson- The 2007 Masters Champ is coming off of a good week at the Arnold Palmer Classic as well. Apparently he is also tight with Jesus. That could be a good sign on Easter weekend.
Rory McIlroy- This is the Donk's sleeper pick. The 19 year old Northern Irishman won the Dubai Classic, and played very well at the Match Play Championship. He looks like he needs a good beating to me though.
Geoff Ogilvy- He has never finished in the top 10 in the Masters but is dominating this year with wins at the Mercedes Benz Championship and the Accenture Match Play Championship. I also saw him play at TPC Boston last year and he was good. Tip from the pros right there.
Padraig Harrington- The Donk's boy has won the past two majors and is looking to complete the "Paddy Slam". Sounds awful, but that's what we're gonna call it. He'll have some extra incentive to prove that his two most recent majors weren't flukes either with Tiger back in the field now.
Boo Weekley- It is unlikely, but I don't think anyone besides Norman winning would make me happier. The dude is sponsored by Mossy Oak and sells autographed tins of dip. If he were to catch the spirit of the south and win the Green Jacket, it would probably make for the best story.
Now all that's left is to huddle up with the family this weekend and watch someone rise to golf's elite status. Maybe eat a few Cadbury eggs while you're at it. That's all I got. Donk, did I cover it all?