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The Masters 2014 Preview: Saying Goodbye to Tiger Woods and Hello to Bubba Watson

The Masters - Round One

The Masters has arrived. The world’s best golfers – minus Tiger Woods – have traveled to Augusta National to officially tee off the golf season and compete in a Tradition Unlike Any Other. As is our tradition, I sat down with beloved commenter and resident golf nut, Spencer096. Things get emotional quickly, but by the end we decide that the future is bright and golf will inevitably win again. If you’re at work, you can follow the official Masters leaderboard and the ESPN leaderboard. And if anything cool happens, we’ll post a gif or something. Promise.

Stephen Douglas: Shall we?

spencer096: You know, I’m really not feeling it this year.

SD: What!?

spencer096: This…you know…thing.

SD: Well this is certainly a shock. We usually have a lot of fun with this conversation that you type up and I take credit for.

spencer096: I know…

SD: I mean, have you seen Webb Simpson’s son? Adorable. How can you be down?

57217341RB129_The_Masters_Fspencer096: Yeah, he’s adorable. It’s not that.

SD: What is it?

spencer096: You know…

SD: Is it Tiger?

spencer096: Yea…

SD: Aw buddy…don’t be sad. I’m sure it’ll still be fun.

spencer096: I know, I know. It’s just…

SD: You’re among friends, dude. Come on, what’s up?

spencer096: Like…you know that feeling when, one day you wake up and see your dog and it’s like they’re not even your dog anymore? It’s that point where you just have to face reality and accept the fact that you and your best buddy’s time together on this planet is…

SD: Dude…

spencer096: …it’s like we keep going to the metaphorical dog park and I keep thinking he’s going to be back to his old self, snatching that metaphorical frisbee out of the air like a friggin’ champ. [sniffle]

SD: [lip quivers]

The Masters - Final Roundspencer096: It just won’t be the same without him.

[bursts into tears]

[Stephen and spencer096 hug]

SD: [sniffs] Hey, I know what’ll cheer us up…we’ll get you a new puppy!

spencer096: Yea? [sniffs]

SD: How about this guy? His name’s Bubba and he’s a big, lanky goofball! He loves being able to run around big open spaces and jump all over the place.

spencer096: Listen, I can’t keep going with these dog metaphors…

SD: Good, that was getting heavy.

spencer096: I love Bubba at Augusta. Always will. He’s so creative and crazy long that he’s got such an advantage that it’d be foolish not to take him. He’s got 5 top 10’s in 8 events with a win and two runners up, is statistically impressive and has won here before. He’s not my pick, but he’s on my shortlist of guys who’ll win.

SD: The last few years’ champions have all fit a similar mold. Adam Scott, Bubba, Charl Schwartzel, Phil and Angel Cabrera could all be classified as bombers and, for the most part, could all be considered legitimate contenders heading in, but what other players of this style do you think could have a shot this weekend?

spencer096: Jason Day’s the guy to watch. He’s broken through and started winning and has matured into one of the better players in the world ever since he first made headlines calling out Tiger as a teenager. He finished tied for 2nd here in 2011, 3rd last year and has a couple of 2nds in the US Open and a top 10 at the PGA last year for good measure. It’s only a matter of time until Jason Day wins a major and everyone knows it.

SD: I know we’ve been beating this word to death, but would you say it’s almost a certainty that a bomber will win the Masters?

spencer096: I would.

BMW International Open 25th Anniversary Party - For BMWSD: Then Dustin Johnson’s probably another candidate. He’s won and finished runner up twice too, so would you include him amongst the other favorites? Plus, Paulina Gretzky is good for pageviews!

spencer096: All of that makes sense from both a golf and business sense!

SD: What about…

spencer096: Sergio?

SD: …I was going to say Webb Simpson.

spencer096: Liar.

SD: Swear to late 90′s / early 2000′s Tiger Woods.

spencer096: [sigh] I think Webb Simpson is a snazzy dresser.

SD: He is pretty preppy.

spencer096: I bet his mom bronzed his baby boat shoes.

SD: Can you blame her?

spencer096: I WANNA TALK TO SIMPSON! FLY ME TO THE MOON…

SD: Can we get back on track please?

spencer096: I don’t care how many top 10’s Matt Kuchar has, he’s not going to win the Masters.

SD: I didn’t say anything about Kuchar.

spencer096: Sure. Just like you weren’t going to bring up Sergio.

rory-carolineSD: I wasn’t!

spencer096: LIAR!

SD: Can we wrap this up? After this I need to go Google pictures of puppies. Who’s your pick to win this year’s Masters?

spencer096: Even if Tiger were healthy, I’d still have Rory, Bubba, Dustin Johnson, Jason Day, Adam Scott and Phil as favorites over him. I wish he were here to prove me wrong, but he’s not, which is both a blessing and a curse. He makes the Masters more fun when he’s contending, and while it’ll be great to have a Masters without the hype and bluster, and get a stacked, wide open field, it’ll still be weird not having Tiger around.

I have this gut feeling that this will be Rory’s week and he’ll get his first Green Jacket, but my money’s on Jason Day. I think he’s such a good driver and putter, and in such fantastic form of late, that he’ll break through and enter that elite echelon of world class golfers.

SD: Wait, what about Sergio?

spencer096: Can I go back to the dog metaphor?

SD: Sure.

spencer096: Had to put him down.

SD: This has been really depressing.

spencer096: Yeah. Good thing we can go golfing to take our minds off it.

SD: Golf wins again!

spencer096: It always does!

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