2017 Masters

Jordan Spieth is thee storyline heading into the Masters tomorrow and it isn’t the Cat not being there. It’s Jordan Spieth. Can Jordan pull a North Carolina and get back on the freeway after a car wreck? Can he shake the nightmare and put last year’s gag job in the rear view? The par 3 12th wrecked this dude last April. And with one arm in his second jacket, he put two in the drink, another in the trap, and made a 7 on his way to one of the biggest collapses in golf history.

Number 12 didn’t go anywhere, either. And it’s waiting for Spieth in the exact same spot it was last year. Golf is a cruel, cruel game. It can be the best there ever was and turn him into a muni-hack.

And I’m not saying that’s what Spieth is. Although I would say, the last I saw Tiger with a bat in his hand, he was. But this isn’t about Woods; he’s not showing up to play, he’s showing up to pimp his book. Woods is toast. He’s finished.

But Spieth is just getting started at 23. And I’m fascinated to see how he shows up at Augusta after last year’s disaster. And it says here, he’ll be just fine. This dude’s tough.  He’s still the 6th ranked player in the world. And has finished in the top ten in half the events he’s played this season. And despite last year’s catastrophy, he still loves Augusta.

Of course, most of the sharps are on Dustin Johnson: 3 straight wins on tour, a world number 1 ranking, the longest stick in the field, and a dead flat liner. A guy that three putted away a US Open at Chambers in 2015 and acted like he pushed one at the family fun center with Paulina. You look at that type of reaction and think, and think what the hell is his deal? Dude’s catatonic. Or not that bright. Or under the influence. Or all the above. Who knows.

I just know that whatever it is, it may be an even bigger asset than that Taylor Made rocket launcher dude has in his bag. And like Spieth, gagging on a major could wreck a dude’s life and his career; instead he bounced right back to win it at Oakmont in 2016. Credit for that.

But it guarantees nothing at Augusta. Because he’s played 7 times at the Masters, and is a collective plus 2 in the 28 rounds he’s played there. That’s not to say he can’t put it all together this week, especially considering he might be playing his best golf ever. He’s not only the best player in the world, he’s the hottest. But until I see it from him, on this track, I’m not throwing in with Johnson.

If I had to throw a few bones at someone this week, I’m looking elsewhere.

I’d look at Rory. A jacket short of a career slam and rolling into Georgia with the world number 2 ranking. And it’s not like Rory is on borrowed time. He’s only 27 and will probably have another 15 chances to score an invite to the champion’s dinner.

But the narrative is getting louder each year that he peels off of magnolia lane and out of Augusta without a new sport coat. I know, he’s just 27. But, he’s still looking for his first win here. And he wasn’t just supposed to win this event once. He’s supposed to win it multiple times. And in 8 tries he’s never finished better than 4th. And no one needs to remind him of that because .Word is he’s played 99 practice holes leading up to this week and feels great.

Don’t expect to hear a lot of about the defending champ Danny Willett this week. Because at 125 to 1, Vegas has Danny Willett and me at about the same odds to take this thing down. Not saying this dude can’t get around and score. He did play it at 5 under and win it last year. But the odds Vegas posted on this guy are less about him and more about the odds that whoever’s leading the tournament isn’t going to quad-bogey a par 3 on the back 9 on Sunday and cough it up to someone in waiting. I think the one time you’ll see Danny on Sunday is when he’s helping the new champion into their jacket.

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