It’s a tradition unlike any other. Golfers at the 82nd edition of the Masters Tournament tee off Thursday at Augusta National.
aspiring caddies wannabe golf insiders Mark Bergin, Eric Heubusch, Lara Saavedra and Justin Nunez try to answer questions ahead of the first of golf’s four major championships.
(Insert “Caddyshack” joke here)
What is your tweet-length prediction for the 2018 Masters?
Mark Bergin: I’m still amazed Tiger Woods --in 2018 mind you -- was at one point the favorite in Las Vegas to win the Masters. I’ll take someone else in the field to win the tournament. Other favorites include Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson or Sergio Garcia.
Eric Heubusch: Tiger Woods will get twice the television airtime as whoever wins, barring el Tigre himself takes it.
Lara Saavedra: Rory McIlroy will edge out Tiger Woods in an extra hole playoff and complete a Grand Slam -- Woods’ hope for a major win falls short.
Justin Nunez: Tiger. Woods.
Is the Tiger Woods hype worth it?
Bergin: This question needs to be broken into two parts. Tiger Woods’ ability to captivate the casual fan’s interest and his ability as a golfer.
Woods not only moves the needle, he is the needle. His second-place finish at the Valspar Championship helped generate the PGA Tour’s largest television audience in five years, not including the majors.
The “Tiger is back” argument from a golfing standpoint is tiresome though. I’m amazed there isn’t a prop bet for his 129.2 mph clubhead speed, which is the fastest recorded by any player on the PGA Tour this season.
It’s as if people are trying to manufacture made-up storylines to sell the lie that “he’s back” as a golfer. The line in golf between good and great is too marginal for this to be true.
Here are some facts:
• Woods last won a major at the U.S. Open on June 16, 2008.
• He last won the Masters on April 10, 2005. Twitter hadn’t even been invented yet!
• Woods is seeking to win his 15th major.
The casual fan does not realize there are several other compelling storylines worth watching at the Masters, including Rory McIlroy seeking to complete the career grand slam, Phil Mickelson trying to become the oldest Masters winner and Bubba Watson vying for his third green jacket.
Heubusch: Tiger is golf’s gateway drug: even some of the young stars on tour admitted to Woods influencing their interest in golf. On the sport’s biggest stage, the PGA needs the Tiger hype. Think of it as a recruiting tool.
Saavedra: Tiger Woods is good for the game of golf. Fans and critics continue to document his every move and show up in droves to watch him play. We all love redemption stories, and everyone is waiting to see if Woods can win another major.
Nunez: Absolutely. Having seen Tiger Woods in person at Valspar, he alone was worth the ticket cost and made that tournament relevant.
You should’ve seen how many other quality golfers -- Justin Rose, Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia, Patrick Reed, Steve Stricker, Jimmy Walker and Matt Kuchar -- got no fan love simply because everyone was infatuated, following Woods.
If Tiger is wearing red on Sunday, there’s no better draw in sports.
What would you do with the $11 million if you won the Masters?
Bergin: Keep the monetary reward. I’d want the notoriety of being the baddest golfer on the planet and the green jacket to go along with it.
Heubusch: I would go back to school and get a degree in history so my teachers can remind me how much of a golf legend I am.
Saavedra: Save, invest and travel the world with what’s left.
Nunez: Mansion. Cars. Personal entourage that does absolutely nothing but take my money. If I’m winning the Masters, I’m obviously a Big Baller.
How lucky is announcer Jim Nantz?
Bergin: Every year, he gets to announce the Final Four before heading to Augusta.
His biggest punishment this year was the women’s Final Four was more exciting than the men’s.
Is there a sports broadcaster with a better gig than Jim Nance?
Heubusch: Not as lucky as Tony Romo. That guy got saved from playing for the Dallas Cowboys, now he is doing something way more productive in the booth!
Oh no Jim Nantz, what is you doin? “Me Me” pic.twitter.com/ExqsyH2J7G— Big Cat (@BarstoolBigCat) April 1, 2018
Nunez: Honestly, give me Gus Johnson every day of the week. Nothing gets me more hyped than hearing, “COLD BLOODED!”