My crystal ball this week finally started working again, but it had been out of effective use for so long that it needed polishing and I saw through its glass darkly. Here’s how I summed up my Masters predictions, first:
But here’s how I see it: First, for whatever reason, I foresee a Tiger Woods meltdown, with something huge like a 10 on the 13th hole, or somesuch — and Tiger will still finish in the top 10 despite it. I see a past champion such as Trevor Immelman or Mike Weir riding a hot putter to challenge the lead in the first day or two before fading. I see Fred Couples again pulling an ageless routine and staying on the leaderboard well into the third round. I see Sergio Garcia making a serious, serious run for the title, along with Cabrera,….
I was right about some big Tiger deal on a back-nine par five costing him the tourney, and him still finishing in the top 10 despite it. Trevor Immelman was indeed well up on the leader board through half of the second round, due to a hot putter, before fading. Fred Couples did pull an ageless routine and was well up the leaderboard through 16 holes of the third round. Sergio Garcia did make a serious run for the title, as did Cabrera. Not bad.
Then, of the winner, I wrote:
will be a former winner of the Players Championship, a guy with seven other PGA Tour Victories including at Jack Nicklaus’ Memorial and Tiger Woods’ event at Congressional, a guy with nine other international victories, a guy who finished sixth this past week in San Antonio, a guy with three top 10s in the last nine Masters, including two of the past three. He even led the event with eight holes remaining in 2010, before a Mickelson birdie barrage left him in Phil’s wake. His deft short game (ninth this year in the stat known as “scrambling”) allows him to avoid bogeys that would catch other players when they fail to stay on Augusta’s famously difficult greens.
I got the credentials almost exactly right, but the wrong man. The champion was indeed a former winner of the Players Championship and seven other PGA Tour victories (exactly). They included a title at an event hosted by a legend of the game (but it was Byron Nelson, not Nicklaus) and the event in DC (but it was the old Booz Allen classic at Avenel, not the Tiger Woods event literally across the street from Avenel at Congressional). I saw a guy within one title of having 10 “other international” victories, but it was 11 titles, not nine. But the guy who won had three top 10s inthe past 11 Masters, not three in the past nine. (In other words, on the international titles and the Masters top 10s, I got the 11s and nines reversed.) And my guy led the event on the final nine holes not in 2010 before a last-minute birdie barrage, but instead in 2011 (and the barrage-maker was Charl Schwartzel, not Mickelson). Finally, my pick and the actual winner both hail from the Pacific, and both entered the tournament in the top 10 in the statistic known as “Scrambling” — but I turned the number upside down: Scott is sixth in scrambling, Choi was ninth.
Obviously, my psychic waves are back in action, giving me all the right details to look for — but, as I said, that darn crystal ball was just cloudy enough that I couldn’t quite see the guy’s face, so I applied the right criteria to the wrong man. And I knew one of his top challengers would be the oft-overlooked Angel Cabrera. So… next time I’ll polish my crystal ball and you, my readers, should be able to make millions in Las Vegas by betting on the guy I predict.
[And what, exactly, does this emoticon mean?: 😉 ]
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