Has your stance on Tiger's major chances changed?
In Masters Fourball, NCG writers Dan Murphy, Alex Perry, Mark Townsend and Steve Carroll take it in turns to ask each other an Augusta related question.
Alex: Go back 12 months, what was your stance on Tiger winning another major. Back to present, and how, if at all, has said stance changed?
Dan: I have never completely given up on Tiger and this year has clearly been a massive step in the right direction. His game is trending positively. Curiously, I think he has brought less game to Augusta and finished higher at various points in the last 10 years.
Steve: I’d have given you more chance. I wasn’t sure he’d ever play again. I’m still not sure he wins another major. He had some decent years following his last one at Torrey Pines and didn’t get over the hump. He’s 42 now and history tells you it’s difficult – although not impossible.
Mark: A year ago I didn’t give him a chance, I’m not sure how you could given what the outlook was at the time. Now I’ve no real idea, definitely think there will be another win on tour and a close shave in the Open but if it was a yes/no answer then I’d go with no.
Mark: Each to their own and all that but there are some pretty bad Sunday outfits at Augusta. Should I ever get into The Masters, and then make the cut, you could expect to see me in some grey slacks and a baby blue polo. What would you turn out in for the final round?
Dan: Grey trousers, a pastel-yellow polo and a navy blue jumper. Would get too hot on the 3rd but strangely would never remove the jumper. Partly because I never add or remove layers when play is in progress and partly in case the short was a touch too yellow.
Alex: It would have to be something that would go with the Green Jacket, so basically nothing. I would keep it as simple as possible, probably a white and grey polo and dark grey or black slacks. (Basically what I wear on the course now.)
Steve: I consider red to be exotic and usually wear anything that helps me blend seamlessly into a crowd. So navy blue polo and black trousers.
Steve: After watching Jordan Spieth risk everything at the 13th, and come out on top, what you think of the suggestions that it could be lengthened?
Mark: People talk about just moving the tee to the left which would change the angle. Bubba made eagle but like it the way it is particularly coming after 10, 11 and 12. The green is funky enough for even a mid-iron in.
Dan: The only problem I have with the 13th is that going for the green has become a no-brainer. Even from the pine straw, Spieth reckoned that he may as well have a tilt at it because the penalty for missing is probably only one shot. These boys back themselves to get up and down from a flat, fairway lie to save par after the penalty drop.
Alex: He missed the putt, but I want to see players playing those kinds of shots to get into that kind of position to make eagle, not laying up and then flicking one over the water. That would be boring.
Dan: What exactly is it with Jordan Spieth and Augusta? Why him and why here?
Mark: This is ridiculous but I still think he’s underrated. He’s 24, has three majors, could have had a few more and nearly won the Grand Slam. His iron play is now incredible, we all know about the putter but, in terms of Augusta, I just think he has a brilliant game plan for the place and, a bit like Mickelson, he hits some wides but they’re in the right spot to have a shot at a recovery. What he did at the Open last July still blows my mind. His golfing intelligence, for me, is the best in the business.
Steve: He’s had no right to play like this after the season he’s had. I don’t think I’ll be letting a Masters go now by in the significant future without popping some money his way.
He still has his demons here – witness the celebration after hitting the 12th – but he’s clearly inspired at Augusta, the tactical problems the course asks suits his game and when the putter gets hot he’s very hard to beat. No one has more heart.
Alex: A handful of players just have it at Augusta National. It was Tiger before Spieth and Jack before him. Is there an explanation for it? Spieth will be finishing in the top 10 here for years to come.