Flood Watch: Sizing up the Masters field

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Gold jacket, green jacket, whom donates a bowel movement? If you don’t understand my joke, stop whatever you’re doing and watch “Happy Gilmore.” If you do understand it, then there’s a good chance you know what this column is about. The first full week of April each year brings with it the first and, in my humble opinion, the greatest of golf’s four majors.

Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, has been getting a fine-tuning, a pedicure, a trim, whatever up-keeping synonym you’d like to use. Starting Monday with practice rounds, Masters week will attract approximately 100 golfers and thousands of patrons. I have to be honest; I’m completely jealous of the two groups I just mentioned. Walking Augusta National, even if behind the ropes, is at the top of my bucket list. So, if anyone has a spare $500 for a ticket to one practice round, please reach out – looking for a friend.

Do I wish I could take myself as-is and go play on golf’s greatest stage? Absolutely not. I went golfing Saturday at a local course and it was an experience, to say the least. On the first hole, I triple-bogeyed, three-putted, put a ball in the water and lost my dignity all in one fell swoop, so I can’t imagine what horrific tragedies Augusta would bestow upon my soul.

However, it has always been my childhood dream to make the walk up to the 18th green on Sunday at The Masters while leading, as well as in the last pairing to finish. For those who don’t watch golf: One, why are you still reading this? I was under the impression that most found golf extremely boring. And two, it’s customary for those watching the tournament to recognize the golfer that’s winning as they come to the green on their last hole. What a magical moment that would be, but that would require me to hit a wedge to two-feet and pop a drive 300-plus yards every other hole, neither of which are happening anytime soon.

As for the actual 2017 Masters tournament, I have my regular round of predictions that I’m going to give to you, even if you don’t want to hear them. When writing for the Vanguard at $0.03 per word, it’s tough to put food on the table each night

There is a bountiful group of players coming off of a missed-cut this past week at the Shell Houston Open, which, for the group of players including Jordan Spieth, Henrik Stenson and Patrick Reed, could be an ominous sign that this might not be their year at Augusta. Always be on the lookout for young-gunners Justin Thomas, Hideki Matsuyama and Jon Rahm, all of whom have had tremendous success this season and are built for Augusta.

Cross off Rory McIlroy on your list of picks for the week; I think Rors still has a lot of growing up to do before he finds himself being fitted for a Green Jacket. Phil Mickelson has been playing some fantastic golf this year, and three-time Masters Champion “Lefty” is going to be sure to make the most out of the dwindling competitive years he has left. Defending Masters Champion Danny Willett is right out. If you’re doing a fantasy golf league (yes, there’s such a thing) with some buddies this year, stay away from Danny Willett, because his best finish on the PGA Tour this year is T-69th, with two missed cuts in only six tournaments played in 2017.

I feel like I’m missing someone … ah yes, the best golfer in the world. Dustin Johnson has won three consecutive tournaments, each in dominant fashion. His most recent win was at the WGC Dell Match Play tournament in Austin, Texas. DJ played 112 holes of golf a week and a half ago, and he wasn’t losing a match for a single one of those holes. Dustin Johnson is the complete package; he bombs drives off the tee with accuracy, he puts his wedges close and the putter has definitely been working in his favor lately, all of which you need to win at Augusta.

Tiger Woods isn’t playing. That’s all I’m saying about it, and if you want to know more, just check anything that remotely resembles a sports media outlet.

Regardless of the outcome, if you think that I’m not going to be live-streaming The Masters on my mobile devices come Tuesday (yes, I live-stream practice rounds), you’re dead wrong. I’m truly looking forward to hanging out with Jim Nantz and friends to watch another Masters tournament, a tradition truly unlike any other.