It’s all about Augusta now. The good people in Houston run a nice little tournament, but that’s like being Jennifer Lawrence’s sister. You know, the one with the nice personality. Someone is going to win this week, but only his family and his accountant will remember it. That’s what happens when the Masters is so deliciously close. Until then…
1. Jimmy Walker. Dang, so much for making him my Masters dark horse — with his fifth win in the last 18 months, J-Walk now has to be elevated to a strong favorite.
2. Cristie Kerr. What a long, interesting career it’s been for this ultimate grinder. Seventeen career wins speaks to the quantity and quality of her golf.
3. Lydia Ko. What this kid is doing is utterly mind-boggling. A streak of 28 consecutive under par rounds tells you all you need to know about her intensity, consistency and, oh yeah, talent.
4. Richie Ramsay. The Scots may have invented golf but they haven’t done much of note this century, so Ramsay’s win in Morocco counts as big news.
5. Tiger Woods. He contributed $10,000 to start a scholarship at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore in the memory of Charlie Sifford. Somewhere, Earl is smiling.
1. Tom Lehman. He gagged a four-footer on the final green to hand a senior-tour victory to David Frost. Afterward he said he misread it. Funny how no pro ever makes a bad stroke under pressure.
2. Phil. Needing desperately to generate some momentum for the Masters, he played Saturday’s front nine at the Texas Open in 40, then topped that on Sunday with a 42.
3. Henrik Stenson. Augusta National should set up perfectly for this bomber, but the flu just knocked him out of the field in Houston and forced him to cancel a scouting trip to Augusta. Then again, maybe reduced expectations will be a good thing for this flighty character.
4. George Coetzee. In Morocco, he was in prime position to punch his ticket to Augusta, but he got off to a nervy start and ultimately finished two shots short. Which two shots? Well, no doubt Coetzee will be thinking about that for a good long while.
5. Jordan Spieth. It looked like we might get a Texas shootout until J-Spy bogeyed four holes in the middle of the round to allow Walker to cruise home. Yeah, that’s how good this kid is: a second place finish to move to No. 4 in the world counts as a mild disappointment.