Sandy Lyle in 1988 -- the only golfer who has won the week before the Masters, then followed it by winning at Augusta. Now the defending Masters champ will try to retrace Lyle's footsteps after winning the BellSouth in a playoff Monday. Mickelson's taking a positive approach. "I look at it as a great way to build some momentum," he said.
Annika, of course, won't be at Augusta. But maybe playing in a men's major is the next step for her. If she completes the LPGA Slam this year, would that earn her enough credibility for Hootie Johnson to offer her an invite? (OK, we know the answer to that one). Augusta, which fancies long hitters, isn't the right track for her anyway, but what about a U.S. or British Open spot in her future? Just asking ...
Singh will enter the Masters as the world's top-ranked player, the first time in his career he's gone into a major at No. 1. "I think it's good to be No. 1," he said, "but my direction here is not to keep the No. 1, but to win a major. The Masters." If Singh doesn't win, Tiger Woods or Ernie Els could pry that No. 1 ranking away from him this week.
The Big Easy battled the flu last week, even staying in bed most of one day. He still felt a little weak during a rainy practice round at Augusta last Friday, but on his Web site, he says he's "raring to go. I was hitting the ball great in that last round of the Players Championship and overall I feel like I'm swinging the club well and have got the golf ball under control."
Just another busy week for Tiger. Apple announced a partnership with Woods to promote the company's new operating system. Then after Jesper Parnevik forgot to bring his clubs to Augusta (too weird to even make up), Tiger picks up the Swede's clubs and delivers them. Now Tiger hopes to deliver a win to break his 0-for-10 major drought.
Goosen was the only other Big Five member besides Mickelson to play BellSouth, but it didn't go nearly as well. Other than his back nine in the second round when he posted a 32, he was even-par for the other 45 holes at Sugarloaf. Goosen, in fact, has yet to put four good rounds together this year -- which might just mean he's due.
Olazabal won twice at Augusta in the '90s and has two top 10 Masters finishes in this decade. He enters this year with plenty of momentum. Consider his last three starts: tie for 9th at the Chrysler, tie for 6th at Doral, playoff loss at BellSouth. If you're in a Masters pool, Olazabal is a name you need to remember.
From 1988 to 1991, the British Isles owned the Masters, with wins by Lyle, Nick Faldo (twice) and Ian Woosnam. Since then, only one Great Brit (Faldo again in '96) has won the Green Jacket. Can the Englishman Donald be next in line? Probably not this year, since this is his first Masters appearance. But give him time.
Toms has played 24 competitive rounds at Augusta -- and only once has he shot in the 60s. That was on the Sunday of his first Masters back in 1998 when he produced a jaw-dropping 64. He finished tied for sixth, which remains his best finish at Augusta. Toms hopes the course conditions stay firm and the greens stay fast so he'll have a chance against the longer hitters.
Scott tied for ninth in his first Masters in 2002, tied for 23rd the following year ... then shot an opening-round 80 last year and missed the cut. But his coach, Butch Harmon, thinks Scott is ready to win a major. "In fact, I think he will contend in all four of them this year," Harmon told reporters Monday. "It takes a little bit of luck to get one, but he is definitely capable and Augusta is good for him."
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