Barney's Masters Newsletter
Today the fun begins at Augusta and the long wait to see the Masters is over. It always feels that this is the beginning of the golfing season and even more so this year as it ties in with Easter.
The debate as to the potential winners has been in full swing (pun intended) in the golf press, along with conjecture as to how those players on the LIV circuit will fare. For golfers everywhere and especially in the UK the overriding hope is that Rory McIlroy will win and complete his career major slam. Clearly each year the pressure on him mounts and certainly his current form is excellent. Having finished 2nd last year with final round fireworks of 64, he can hopefully carry on where he left off. Interestingly, the weather forecast for the Augusta area doesn't look great (sounds familiar as it's a bank holiday) and if the course plays longer it won't harm his prospects with his prestigious striking. His driving is quite remarkable in length and accuracy and in the recent PGA Play platform I was asked about his keys, so I thought you all might find this interesting. Please click this link here.
Of course there are plenty of great players who are keen to thwart Rory on his quest. Defending champion Scottie Scheffler is in terrific form and it's not beyond possibilities that he could join the likes of Jack Nicklaus, Nick Faldo and Tiger Woods in defending the Green Jacket.
As to my thoughts on the winner, I don't want to put the mockers on Rory. So although I had a late thought on Shane Lowry, due to the fact he's such a good player in bad conditions and the weekend could look more like an Open Championship than a Masters, I've decided to plump for Jason Day. The sweet swinging Australian is in excellent form and I am a great admirer of his short game which will be tested to the utmost around this iconic golf course.
It is on my bucket list to visit the hallowed turf one year as I've come to terms with the fact my golf won't get me an invite to play there! Although on my recent visit to Florida my dear friend Kevin Craig invited me to play with him and his super son in law TJ around his course Golden Ocala. It is a stunning golf course and it features eight tribute holes from St Andrews, Muirfield, Baltusrol, Royal Troon and Augusta National. I have to say they are masterfully done (see what I did there) and I've included a flyover of their recreation of the 12th at Augusta. Please click this link here.
This is us about to take on Rae's Creek. The day we played the pin was tucked in the corner and conventional wisdom from the greats is to play to the middle of the green and hopefully two putt from there. However I pulled my shot and fortunately went to around 8ft (and it looked as if i'd meant it!) and managed to trundle the putt in from there. So this weekend spare a thought for Mrs P as cameras move onto the 12th and I say for the umpteenth time "ooh I made a two there!"
I do hope you all have a chance to watch this great event as sadly the BBC have decided not to cover it for the first time in 50 years. The coverage on Sky Sports is truly comprehensive and I'll definitely be tuning in to see the ceremonial tee shots of Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Tom Watson tomorrow and then watch the drama unfold over the weekend.
Wishing you all inspired golf and a great Easter.
All the best
Fellow of the PGA