April 5, 2007


This one is built for two
: Woods and Mickelson have dominated, winning five of the last six years. The only thing missing has been a Sunday showdown on the back nine. (Chris Dufresne, April 5, 2007, LA Times)

The 71st Masters should get off without a hitch this morning, provided honorary starter Arnold Palmer doesn't bomb his drive straight off the tee, have a flashback, and follow that little white pill down the fairway.

Palmer all but promised he wouldn't give chase.

"I think I'll let it go wherever it goes," Palmer said of his ceremonial tee shot.

This isn't 1964, the year Palmer won the last of his four green jackets.

This isn't even 1997, the year a young Tiger Woods stormed Augusta National and turned golf head-over-spikes with his course record, one three-putt in four days, 18-under 270, winning by 12 shots after shooting four-over 40 on his opening nine.

Ernie Els said he joked to Woods last week: "If I knew then what's happened now, I would have told you to stay in college for five years."

Nothing was ever the same after that Sunday in '97 and, paradoxically, nothing much has changed.

Ten years later, Augusta National is different and so is Woods.

But it's still Augusta and it's still Tiger.

The course has been tightened and lengthened and so de-Tigerized it seems almost unfathomable Woods could challenge his own course record.

"You'd have to play some serious golf," Woods admitted.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 5, 2007 6:33 AM

Well, based on Lefty's start -- 4+ at the turn -- there won't be a Sunday showdown on the back 9 this year either.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at April 5, 2007 12:46 PM