Masters Thoughts: Thursday

Tiger Woods (Vuich/SI) Here are a few impressions from the opening round at Augusta National on Thursday:

  • The day was all about Tiger and judging by the golf he played - rightly so! While he received multiple fortuitous bounces (8, 9, 10, 11) he left his fair share of 8 footers out there. On Thursday he was a modern day Seve Ballesteros playing at full steam. Good to watch for sure.
  • That being said, Tiger still has a long way to go in improving his reaction to less than stellar shots. I saw and heard multiple GD's and what looked like an f-bomb.
  • Shingo - what happened to the hat?
  • Charl Schwartzel is the real deal! He played a fantastic opener and I look for him to still be around come Sunday. He gets my vote as the best swing in golf at the moment.
  • Aaah Freddy - that swing is perhaps even smoother and freer than it has ever looked. And I love the "golf sneakers", with no socks none the less, to go along with no glove. He looked and swung like a friend had pulled him off the couch for a quick evening 5 holes at their local track! Did you know that Fred is -77 for 12 rounds on the Champions Tour this year....! Yesterday was the lowest round he has ever had at Augusta National.

Freddy Couples (Beck/SI)

  • Each time I checked the leaderboard a different Champions Tour golfer was leading - first Langer, then Watson and finally Freddy Couples. What a great day for golf!
  • I can see the emergency meeting Thursday night with the superintendent: How do we get rid of these silly pine stamens? Why is there pine pollen floating on the ponds? And why are the scores so low? I'm sure every stamen you saw yesterday is already off property, but can you picture Augusta with no pine trees next year?
  • What happened to Ernie and Angel on the back nine yesterday? Els played a fine round, but spoiled it with an ugly double at the closer for 71 and Cabrera had it to -3 before dropping four shots in the final four holes for 73.
  • I love what Jack and Arnie did to start the tournament. Call me sentimental, I just think it adds so much to the event and it's tradition. Gary Player where are you?
  • KJ Choi is swinging and putting beautifully and I look for him to be around on Sunday. Playing with Tiger seemed to spur him on.
  • Does Matt Kuchar have the flattest back swing you have ever seen?
  • If you have not used the scoreboard at I would highly recommend it. It includes video highlights for multiple shots from each player - take a look!
  • It was good to see Trevor Immelman and Adam Scott have nice openers. Two young stars who have been missing for awhile.
  • In the battle of the long bombers Dustin Johnson (305.50 yds) currently holds a 1 yard advantage over playing partner Alvaro Quiros (304.50 yds)
  • Lookout for Phil.....lookout!

GIR Stats

FIR Stats

Putting Stats

Driving Distance Stats

News and Notes

Early moring golf anyone....?

  • Could there be many things better in life than getting up early on a beautiful day to play 18 or 36 holes with close friends on a really fun golf course?
  • The weather is getting better here in South Carolina and we are catching glimpses of Spring being just around the corner. I get the sense that most golfers have a case of "cabin fever" due to the taxing winter we have all experienced and are desperate to get out and play a little golf. Nothing turns my mind more to golf than warmth and sunshine after a long, cold winter.
  • Jim Furyk and Ernie Els have won on the PGA Tour the last two weeks - is it really 2010? Its starting to feel a bit like old times. Even Vijay and KJ Choi have been playing better lately!

Tiger Woods

  • As I'm sure you all know Tiger Woods is playing at Augusta. Tiger has surprised us all in many ways throughout his career, but this move truly puzzles me. I had always been under the impression that the man in the red shirt was about winning major championships, yet coming back at the Masters, instead of getting an additional prior event under his belt, tells me this is more about image and self preservation than major championship victories. What chance does he have of winning - really? By not playing at Bay Hill and starting at Augusta National he has said to me that he would rather preserve what is left of his "aura" (with substantial help from the good people in the green jackets!) than give himself another opportunity to get one notch closer to Jack.

Tavistock Cup Logo 2010

  • An interesting note from the Tavistock Cup - Elin was present without Tiger at the lavish party thrown for participants and sponsors at Isleworth last night. Tiger was practicing at Augusta yesterday so read whatever you want into that.
  • My picks for Augusta currently are Phil and the Goose. Lefty has been very quiet lately but that frequently has no bearing on his play in the majors and the Goose has been resurgent with his new belly putter. The course suits his big power game and I really think he might do something there this year.
  • If anybody out there would like a golf lesson to "dust the rust" from their frigid golf games please give me a call at  (843)247-4688 if you are within reach of South Carolina or if not, shoot me a video via where I am listed as a V1 instructor. The cost for video lessons via V1 is $40 and turnaround time is 48 hours. I would appreciate the opportunity to help make 2010 a great year for golf.
  • A recent quote from a golfer who purchased "It's All About Impact"

"I have now read through your book, It's All About Impact, twice. It is very well-done with good, understandable explanations, and the photos illustrate well and definitely define "a picture is worth a thousand words"! I had actually played Monday and just focusing on the 84 degrees and impact made a noticeable difference with balance and actual ball contact. I still have a way to go to get the correct divot but it sure seemed to simplify thoughts. I actually started hitting with more distance without trying due to the more solid contact. Every day is a different day but this sure helps consistency. Thanks!!" DB


I hope "It's All About Impact" can do the same for you and your golf this year!

Please feel free to contact me with any golf queries, questions or ideas you may have. And thanks very much for reading!

Open Championship Notes

Wow!  After watching the happenings at Turnberry yesterday I can emphatically state that the Open Championship (and not the 'British Open' as we Americans prefer to call it!) is the greatest golf event in the world!  At what other championship would a 16 year old, an almost 60 year old and a champion all be involved in the awards ceremony?  From the history, to the ever changing weather, to the golf courses, to the true international 'openness' of the event I love everything about it. Stewart Cink:

Golf Greatest Kiss!

  • All the other contenders (Watson, Westwood, Wood and Els) bogeyed the final hole while Stewart made birdie.  A great recipe for winning major champioships - get in contention and then birdie the last!
  • While I felt bad for Old Tom, Stewart played beautifully in the playoff;  getting it up and down from a pot bunker from 35 yards; parring a par three that played all of 230 yards; and making simple birdies on the final two holes.  Flawless!
  • Did you notice how far short of the hole he landed his ball on the 72nd green?  It looked like 35 yards and finished beautifully.  The other contenders who bogeyed all landed their shots in the 15-20 yards range short and we know where they ended up.
  • Did Cink have anything to do with his handsome young sons? They look like exact, albeit male, replicas of their mom.
  • I am sure the Cink family will enjoy their vacation in Montana over the next two weeks.  Hopefully Dad's cell phone will not have service as he might be getting a few calls!

Old Tom Watson: (and I call him that with admiration!)

The great Tom Watson

  • What an amazing performance! Perhaps the greatest tournament ever played by a golfer over fifty? This Open week will always be remembered as the year of Tom Watson.
  • I spent a few hours with Mr. Watson on a charter plane a few years ago and was amazed at the toughness I sensed in the man.  Toughness in a positive way.  That toughness came out this week in his play on the back nine and even in his final swing in regulation.  In his press conference he indicated that he struck an 8 iron to the 72nd green and said, "I like it!" when the ball was in the air.  If only it was a nine iron!
  • What a gentleman!  Tom Watson should be applauded not only for his stellar play, but also for his self control, lack of emotional outburst and sportsmanship. Young golfers can learn so much from Tom Watson and his demeanour on the course this week. In fact all golfers, Tiger Woods included, can learn from him.
  • I never once saw him speak to his ball in flight or grimace at a poor strike or result.  Sergio, I hope you were watching and learning!
  • I love the way Tom gets into a shot - two waggles of the club and bang!  Every time!  He is a good one to emulate when it comes to a pre-shot routine.

The Golf Course:

Simply great Turnberry

  • Why can modern golf course designers not build golf courses like Turnberry today?  I cannot understand why notThe course is simple without any trickery or  manufactured hazards. 
  • I love links golf as it incorporates the two greatest hazards of all - wind and undulation!  All a golf course needs is a little exposure to wind, firm turf and a few well thought out humps and hollows and you have a gem.
  • While Turnberry looked green due to all the rain they have had this year, the course is not irrigated.  What is wrong with a little browning in a fairway?  It makes for firm ground conditions, allows the ball to roll and ultimately plays a whole lot better than the always fashionable plush green fairways.

As you can tell I like old school.  I like old school championships, golfers, courtesy and courses!  What do you like?