Augusta is in the Air

The Masters is right around the corner and I thought I’d share some odds with you. As of the beginning of March, Tiger Woods still remains the favorite to win this year’s coveted “Green Jacket”. Rory and Phil are close on his tail and Snedeker’s recent hot streak has him rounding out the top 4. We know that Tiger has what it takes to win. When it comes down to it, he is the most dominant Sunday player on the PGA Tour, but what about the others? We saw a few years ago when young Rory McIlroy imploded in the middle of his Sunday round at Augusta, only to make an amazing stand and win the US Open at Congressional later that year. If Rory won the US Open because he had something to prove after crashing and burning at the 2011 Masters, he certainly has something to prove this year. At the WGC Match Play tournament this last week, Rory got the boot early; that might be enough motivation for him to break some records at Augusta come April. We know “Lefty” is a stick. He’s won the Masters 3 times, plus he’s having an outstanding start to the 2013 season. With a win in Phoenix and no missed cuts, Mickelson has a good shot to be in contention come Sunday. Snedeker is the hottest of the 4 going into Augusta. In 2013 he has 4 top-ten finishes in only 5 events played, making him the leader on the PGA Tour money list and the FedEx Cup standings.

Here are the LVH SuperBook odds as of the last week in February:

TIGER WOODS 5-1

RORY McILROY 7-1

PHIL MICKELSON 12-1

BRANDT SNEDEKER 15-1

LUKE DONALD 25-1

LEE WESTWOOD 25-1

ADAM SCOTT 25-1

JUSTIN ROSE 25-1

BUBBA WATSON 25-1

DUSTIN JOHNSON 25-1

LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN 25-1

CHARL SCHWARTZEL 30-1

JASON DUFNER 30-1

NICK WATNEY 40-1

RICKIE FOWLER 40-1

HUNTER MAHAN 40-1

MATT KUCHAR 40-1

KEEGAN BRADLEY 40-1

SERGIO GARCIA 40-1

JASON DAY 50-1

IAN POULTER 50-1

BO VAN PELT 50-1

WEBB SIMPSON 50-1

Drive for Show, Scramble for Dough?

Through the first 6 tournaments of the 2013 season, I think its safe to say that short game is the money maker. Let me throw some statistics your way. The top 5 players on the PGA Tour in scrambling percentage are all ranked inside the top 12 money earners through the first 6 PGA Tour events. These names include Chris Kirk, Brandt Snedeker, Brian Stuard, Charles Howell III, and James Driscoll. All 5 of these players have converted par or better on more than 72% of their missed greens in regulation. Imagine what that would do for your game… if you are a bogey golfer and you made par or better three quarters of the time when you miss the green in regulation, you would probably lower your handicap from an 18 to a measly 4. And to top it all off, NONE of those same 5 “professional scramblers” rank better than 40th in average driving distance. In fact, only 2 of the top 5 of the longest drivers on tour through 6 events this year even break the top 12 in the money earning category.

So, the next time you feel like going to beat some golf balls at the driving range, think twice about what’s going to improve your score. Sure a 300 yard drive with a little draw that splits the fairway looks pretty, but I got news for you: there are no pictures on a scorecard, only numbers. If you get bored on the putting green, find someone to challenge. Play for nickels, quarters, and dimes on the golf course. Use training tools and drills when you are practicing your short game.

Kathy Whitworth once said, “It’s usually the player who misses those three-footers, not the putter.” With that in mind, remember that a 300 yard drive counts the same as a 3 foot putt.

If you would like more statistics and standings, visit the PGA Tour homepage.

What portion of every practice session do you spend on or around the putting green?

Photo via The Washington Post