This week it’s WrestleMania – the annual Super Bowl of Wrestling, if you didn’t know, in Texas – and next week it could be TigerMania in Georgia.
Being a fan of both wrestling – insert you own sarcastic remarks – and golf I am excited.
I won’t bore you with details of why this year’s WrestleMania is a big deal – it is, trust me, because for the first time ever since this extravaganza began in 1985 it will be spread over two days – because this is a golf blog, not a grappling blog. I will never call wrestling by the tired and trite word rassling because…
Okay, back to golf.
Tiger Woods (Bridgestone Tour B XS) has been bothered, pestered, deluged and otherwise repeatedly asked by the media if he will play at The Masters. He has been non-committal because he is still physically recovering from the single-car accident in February, 2021 in which he suffered multiple injuries, notably one of his legs.
Woods has overcome multiple injuries in his career, and his victory in the 2019 Masters marked one of the biggest moments in sports history, far more than just a golf achievement.
He is now tied with Sam Snead in total PGA wins with 82. That’s why there is excitement in the golf world for him to break it, but there is even more anticipation for this year’s Masters. The reality is golf needs Woods, probably as much as he needs golf. No one moves the needle such as Woods.
Woods’ former arch-rival, Phil Mickelson (Callaway Chrome Soft X), will not be in the Masters as he continues to take time to sort out his life after the whole Dubai Super Golf League controversy. Whether it was his decision to skip the tournament he has won three times, or he was given advice to stay away by the Augusta National governing body, is irrelevant. The Masters is far bigger than Mickelson, and the reality is most of the golf world has already forgiven him for his one-man crusade to pad his pockets with a reported $100 million guaranteed he would have received for playing in the rogue tour. Mickelson has lost untold millions of dollars in lost sponsorship money over the fallout from the whole controversy.
As someone who has always admired Mickelson as both a golfer and a person, I truly hope his break from the tour is allowing him the time to reset himself. It is one thing to try and overcome a serious physical issue; it is quite another to recover from a mental and emotional one.
No one can deny Mickelson’s place as one of the top golfers of the post-millennium generation, and his victory in the PGA Championship in 2021 was literally one for the ages winning it at 50, the oldest player to record a triumph in the majors.
Imagine if Tiger and Phil were in this year’s Masters? That would be one for this history books. One is definitely out; the other is iffy. More will be known later this week as news filters out about his practice rounds. Incidentally, if you want to bet on Tiger winning the tournament, the odds are more than 60-1. I guess for a small wager, it is worth it, but personally I think it will be huge if he’s in the field and even makes the cut. The course is simply too demanding, if only from a physical perspective even if allowed to use a cart, for someone with a history of significant injuries.
SCOTTIE TOO HOTTIE: Last week I definitively said Scottie Scheffler (Titleist Pro V1) would win the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, so I was the least bit surprised by his victory. If it isn’t already apparent he is for real, well, I guess the only thing he needs to prove now is winning a major. He is neither flashy nor charismatic, maybe even dull. But the newest superstar in the sport has shown a degree of consistency and is now the top-ranked golfer in the world. Along with the Mullet Man Cameron Smith (Titleist Pro V1x), who clearly has swagger, Scheffler has become part of the new breed of 20-somethings dominating the PGA Tour.
My only concern now is when I do I next use Scheffler in the PGA Golf pool. I’ve only used him once and won with the pick. I can only use him one more time because entrants are only allowed to use a player twice the whole season.
Last year’s PG Golf pool winner Patrick Davis told me his strategy was to keep his key players for the big tournaments. That’s why I have saved Scheffler, whereas otherwise I would have used him already, in particular last week. It was a walkover and there was a huge pot, so I missed out bigtime and don’t know if I will get an easier spot the whole season.
It makes sense to use him in a major because there’s more cache and cash from a strategical point of view, but anything can happen in this crazy sport.
Last year, my first year in the tournament, was to use the best players right away because I believed there was always the possibility their play may go south or, possibly, suffer an injury that would sideline them indefinitely. My strategy worked well as I was cruising in first, but I dropped down significantly and wasn’t a factor in the stretch run when Patrick made some nice scores.
I listened to Patrick this year, which may or may not have been a mistake. We shall see. I sit 21st in the field of 31, having dropped six spots last week, when my picks, Max Homa (Titleist Pro V1) and Joaquin Niemann (Titleist Pro V1x), were sent packing early. I am more than $5 million behind frontrunner EPKRAR – I have no idea what those letters mean – while Patrick sits 30th and is about $5.6 million in arrears.
Incidentally, my buddy Andy Bankuti, whom I have referenced often in this blog because of how he predicted months ago that Scheffler would be the breakout star this year, cashed on him last week. He bet $20 and received a return of $420 at odds of 21-1.
I like Canadian Corey Conners (Titleist Pro V1) this week after his third-place finish last week.