If you’re like me, a regular guy’s guy with golf on his brain in this week of weeks in April, you’ve been looping “Live from the Masters” on the Golf Channel, and by now you’ve seen it all and seen it all again.
You’ve seen the 20-year retrospective of Tiger Woods’ 12-stroke victory in the 1997 Masters, and you know there were more black players on the PGA Tour in 1977, 20 years before Woods’s groundbreaking Masters, than there are this year.
You’ve heard from the talking heads, as you heard here, that Dustin Johnson will beat you, if he’s on, because he’s better, right now, than anyone.
You revisited Jordan Spieth’s epic fail last year on Sunday’s second nine, and you know more about the steel-eyed guy who took advantage. We told you a little about Danny Willett when he made some noise at The Open Championship in 2015:
“2:55 p.m. St Andrews time (6:55 a.m. PDT), July 17, 2015 He’s making it look easy, Danny Willett is, and he’s the easy story early in this rain-delayed second round at the Old Course. I’m wondering who he is, too. The things you learn when you check in with the crack Grey Goatee research staff (suddenly unavailable) or The Open app on my smartphone (very available): Englishman, 27 years old, ranked 39th in the world, former English Amateur champion, third at this year’s WGC Match Play in San Francisco.
“Willett got to minus-10 on a bogey-free card with birdies on 9 and 10 to go three up on Zach Johnson (one-under today) and Dustin Johnson, who hasn’t teed off and won’t for a while.”
Willett was up to No. 12 in the world by the time he won the Masters; a spotty early season has him sitting at No. 17 this week. Will it be Willett at the Masters? Nope.
One name not mentioned on “Live from the Masters” Tuesday evening, and I would have noticed, because I stared at my television set long enough, was Henrik Stenson, the big Swede out of Sweden, winner of The Open Championship last summer. He, like Willett, was a first-time major winner in 2016, as was D. Johnson (U.S. Open) and Jimmy Walker (PGA Championship).
The 40-year-old Stenson’s best Masters finish in 11 visits to Augusta was a tie for 14th in 2014. We predicted he among the major one-timers would be first to win a second. Will he do it at the Masters? Nah. But you can’t just not mention him.