Welcome to the major championship of the 2011: the Masters. While the Masters carries many traditions, the one that stands out the most is the awarding of the green jacket. Upon winning the tournament, the champion is helped into a green jacket by the winner from the year before. Like the Stanley cup, the champion has one year to wear the jacket anywhere he pleases. Once he returns to the Masters the following year, he leaves his jacket in the clubhouse, where he can always find it whenever he comes back for a visit. Granted, last years winner, Phil Mickelson, had already won the Masters before, so unless he gained or lost a significant amount of weight he wore the same jacket he had in 2006. Originally, jackets were worn by members of the club during the Masters tournament so fans could easily find them if they had any questions. Giving the jackets to winners is a way of saying “Welcome to the Club!”
Tournament: The Masters Tournament
Date: April 7th to the 10th
Location: Augusta National Golf Club, Augusta, Georgia
Defending Champion: Phil Mickelson (-16)
About the course: Unlike the other majors, the Masters does not change locations, making past success a much greater indicator of future performance. Granted, just because the course has moved, doesn’t mean it hasn’t changed. From 2001 to 2006 the course went from 6,925 yards to 7,445 yards, an increase of 520 yards. That’s the equivalent of adding a reasonable par 5 to the course without actually changing the expected par. This course and Tiger Woods hold a particularly special connection. In 1997, Woods won the tournament by shooting 18-under, a course record. His 12 stroke win was the greatest margin of victory ever, three strokes greater than Jack Nicklaus’s nine stroke victory in 1965, the second highest margin of victory. Some people claim the additional length were an attempt to “Tiger Proof” the course. There might be something to the claim, as he has not won since the modifications in 2006.
Golfers to watch: Phil Mickelson won the Shell Houston Open by shooting 18 birdies over his final two rounds, similar to last year at the Masters when he shot nine birdies and two eagles over his final two rounds. It appears Phil is heating up at just the right time again. Plus, he’s finished outside the top 10 at the Masters only once since 1999. He looks to be your go-to guy in fantasy golf this week. Matt Kuchar continues to play well, getting his sixth top 10 finish in eight tries this year at the Shell Houston Open. He’s continual strong showings make him a great candidate to win week in and week out. After shooting back-to-back one over par on Friday and Saturday, Ryan Moore kept his composure and shot a four under 68 on Sunday at last years Masters. Now making his second professional appearance at the Masters he’ll be looking to improve on last years 14th place finish. Steve Stricker has three top 10 finishes, and his fourth place finish at the Shell sets him up nicely for this week. After finishing fifth and third at the Transitions and Arnold Palmer, respectively, Justin Rose should not be forgotten heading into this weekend. This may be looking a little too deep, but Miguel Angel Jimenez did win three times in 2010 on the European Tour, including defeating Lee Westwood in a playoff. Also, he has three top 12 finishes in the last five years at the Masters. The only golfer in the top seven who doesn’t have a shot at moving into the No. 1 golfer spot after this weekend, Paul Casey has only one win on the PGA tour ever. This will not be his weekend to get number two.
Looking for a weekly fantasy golf experience? Our friends at Fantazzle have just what you need. The Masters is set to tee off April 7th, so check out Fantazzle’s Fantasy Golf Challenge before the boys tee it up.