Here we are gang. Cue the Brent Musberger voice, “You ARE looking live, No. 1 tee box, Augusta, Georgia at the shrine of golf. It doesn’t get any bigger than this.”
Fore please, the 5-at-10 is on the tee. Here we go...
Billy Payne, left, chairman of Augusta National and the Masters, introduces Jack Nicklaus before the first round of the Masters golf tournament Thursday, April 7, 2011, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
The green jacket can’t be won today — there have been less than five players go wire-to-wire and win — but it certainly can be lost today.
Most of the big numbers today will come from predictable sources — Fuzzy Zoeller is not going to be on the leaderboard tonight.
That said, there will be at least one greybeard make an inspired charge (Fred Couple is always a safe pick here) and one hotshot that posts something like 79 (this is Rickie Bieber/Fowler’s first Masters).
Two of the game’s most influential players — Jack and Arnie — served as the honorary starters this morning, and each piped one down the middle to the delight of the crowd.
Phil Mickelson walks up the ninth hole during a practice round for the Masters golf tournament Wednesday, April 6, 2011, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
The “Mastering the masterful Masters top-5 masters challenge”
We’re off, and the 5-at-10 is committed to updating our leaderboard each evening. (This depends on what we get done with our chores — the TFP Sports editor can be a harsh task master.)
Anyhoo, here are the competitors this week. Good luck to all. (The prize plan right now is a Masters cap — one size fits all — except for Pretend Al Davis, who wanted a Masters velvet sweatsuit. Settle down Al.)
Here’s our field:
BIspy4 — Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson, Martin Kaymer, Graeme McDowell, Lee Westwood
Mcpell — Phil Mickelson, Martin Kaymer, Lee Westwood, Matt Kuchar, Eldrick "Tiger" Woods
CelticVol — Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson, Justin Rose, Lee Westwood, Tiger Woods
EC — Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler, Bubba Watson, Martin Kaymer, Phil Mickelson
Bigbearzzz — Tiger Woods, Justin Rose, Matt Kuchar, Bubba Watson, Phil Mickelson
WC777 — Tiger Woods, Jonny Vegas, Anthony Kim, Bubba Watson, Phil Mickelson (also known as Dill Pickelson)
ElJefe — Bubba Watson, Fred Couples, Phil Mickelson, Reitef Goosen, Bo Van Pelt
Kburgess — Bubba Watson, Anthony Kim, Aaron Baddeley, KJ Choi, and Rickie Bieber (Fowler)
OTWatcher — Phil Mickleson, Matt Kuchar, Justin Rose, Fred Couples, Lee Westwood.
scole023 — Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Anthony Kim, Lee Westwood, Dustin Johnson
BigHacker — Tiger Woods, Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer, Dustin Johnson, Gary Woodland
Mrs. 5-at-10 — Matt Kuchar, Lee Westwood, Bubba Watson, Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson
5-at-10 — Matt Kuchar, Nick Watney, Justin Rose, Phil Mickelson, Lee Westwood
TFP golf writer David Uchiyama — Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson, Lee Westwood, Dustin Johnson, Anthony Kim
Pretend Al Davis ("I'm coming for you EC.") — Ditka (What do you mean he's not in it? He's Ditka for the Love of Gene Sarazen's Sand Iron.) OK, Tiger ("Duh."), Jason Bohn ("He went to Alabama like Stabler and Namath."), Charley Hoffman ("If there was ever a golfer that looked like a "Raider Golfer," it's this guy."), Bo Van Pelt ("Giants used to have a stud linebacker named Brad Van Pelt, maybe they're related."), Mark Wilson ("Former BYU QB right? Throws a good deep ball right? He was pretty good with us the first time in the 80s. No. That was Marc with a "C" you say? Take him anyway.)
Charlie Sheen — Tiger Woods, Davis Love III, Jhonny Vegas, Ryan Moore (winning), Fred Couples
SportTalk 102.3's Dr. B (he is a doctor after all) — Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Paul Casey, Dustin Johnson, Martin Laird
SportTalk 102.3's Quake — Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Matt Kuchar, Dustin Johnson, Anthony Kim
SportTalk 102.3's Cowboy Joe (he is a cowboy after all) — Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Justin Rose, Luke Donald, Matt Kuchar
Nick Bonsanto from ESPN 105.1 — Phil Mickleson, Tiger Woods, Mike Weir, KJ Choi, Bubba Watson
In this Dec. 29, 2010, file photo, South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia throws a pass during practice for the Chick-fil-A Bowl NCAA college football game against Florida State in Atlanta. Garcia has been indefinitely suspended from the football program. Athletic director Eric Hyman announced the suspension Wednesday, but did not give a reason. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)
Wonder how the rest of the SoCon will prepare for Stephen Garcia?
OK, maybe that’s a stretch, but it’s even money right now whether Stephen Garcia will be back at South Carolina.
Garcia has started for most of his previous three seasons in Columbia and he’s been in and out of the doghouse during that entire stretch, as well.
Now he’s been suspended — his fifth, yes, FIFTH suspension — for the rest of spring practice and it could carry over into the fall.
“If he’s back, he’s back,” USC coach Steve Spurrier told the AP (No word whether he used his Ivan Drago voice from Rocky III when Drago said of Apollo Creed, “If he dies, he dies.”
If Garcia’s done at South Carolina, that means Connor Shaw becomes the a trending topic in Columbia and across the SEC. This Gamecocks offense has a lot of pieces — running back Marcus Lattimore and receiver Alshon Jeffery are among the nation’s best — but bad quarterback play is hard to overcome.
So is bad bad quarterback behavior.
Duke's Kyrie Irving (1) drives against Arizona during the first half of a West regional semifinal in the NCAA college basketball tournament Thursday, March 24, 2011, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Playoffs take shape; draft picks pondering
The NBA playoff positions are starting to take shape. We’ll cover this more in the days ahead.
Some of the big college hoops names are declaring for the NBA draft, too.
Wednesday, Duke’s Kyrie Irving declared for the draft. Irving battled injuries as a freshman in Durham, played all of nine games for the Blue Devils and will likely be the No. 1 overall pick.
Irving is a special player and has the speed and skills to be a big-time NBA point guard. However, this as much as anything is the ultimate testament that something is wrong with the one-and-done draft system in college hoops.
So be it.
Also listed in the top five of draft prospects is Enos Kanter, the foreign big man who was ruled ineligible at Kentucky. Does that make Kanter a none-and-done?
Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray passes against Vanderbilt in Nashville last fall. Tennessee won 24-10. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
This and that
— Check out TFP’s UT ace Patrick Brown’s story on Tyler Bray, the Vols quarterback. Simply put, if he improves so does the mood of every Johnny Vols Fan.
— The powers that be in golf have changed their rules. The USGA and the R & A have altered rule No. 33-7/4.5. What does it mean, well, here’s the breakdown. If a player violates a rule that he had no way of knowing he violated (like Paddy Harrington did on a recent European Tour event when his ball moved the distance of a dimple) and ultimately signs an incorrect scorecard, that player will not be DQed. The penalty will be assessed, but the player will be allowed to continue. That said, Judge Smails, winter rules or improving your lie after “being interfered with” still are not covered.
— Braves stumbled 5-4 Wednesday. Wow, how about that missed call at the plate? Think Bobby Cox would have got tossed on that one? C’mon Fredi, mix it up a little bit.
— Sweet Jerry Remy, the Red Sox have fallen to 0-5. Nothing else to add here, just throwing that out there.
— In the SteelerFan, overstated, quick-reaction of fans, well in the first group off today at Augusta, Ross Fisher made bogey on No. 1. At this pace he’ll miss the cut at shoot 36-over. Not good at all.
Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...