With the 2015 Masters getting underway at Augusta National on Thursday, there are plenty of odds-on-favorites and long-shots to discuss. But first, we must discuss something else, something just as important – if not more important – that will have a major influence on who contends and who doesn’t contend this weekend.
What’s our forecast looking like?
“Well, it’s looking like it’s going to be hot and humid starting the week off,” Golfweek Magazine senior writer David Dusek said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “We could hit a thunderstorm, 80s, humid – the ball’s going to really be traveling. If we do get rain, obviously the advantage goes to the big hitters. The important part, though, is it looks like Saturday and Sunday, the weather is cleared through: 80 degrees, no call for rain. We’ll see what happens with the wind as that front sort of goes through, but the golf course so far (will be) played soft (and) played long. That would give a big advantage to the longer hitters. The longer the rain stays away, the firmer, the faster the golf course plays, the more players stay in contention and are really genuinely in this thing. But if it gets wet and it plays long, then it’s gong to be a big-hitter paradise in Augusta National.”
All right, and now for the contenders. While Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy figure to be the center of attention this week, Scott Ferrall wants to watch one golfer above all others: Jordan Spieth, who was runner-up at the Masters last year – at the age of 20.
Now 21, Spieth has only gotten better.
“Jordan Spieth is a kid who intended to not turn pro before he finished college at the University of Texas,” Dusek said. “He was a baller, and we knew he was going to be a big-time player. We didn’t think he was going to be quite this much, quite this fast. But one of my colleagues had a chance to talk to (two-time Masters winner) Ben Crenshaw and corner him here at Augusta National earlier this week and ask him (about the first time he saw Spieth).”
As it turns out, Crenshaw was very impressed with what he saw.
“He said, ‘I looked the kid up sand down, and I thought I was looking at Wyatt Earp,’” Dusek relayed. “‘This kid is fearless. He’s got a lot of game. He’s smart. He is mature beyond his years.’”
Spieth showed exactly that in 2014.
“If you think about it, a year ago, he’s in the final group on Sunday in the Masters, paired up with Bubba Watson in his very first trip around, playing his first Masters,” Dusek said. “He’s got big cojones. He showed it at the Ryder cup, which is the event that puts more pressure on American golfers than any other. He came through there, teamed up with Patrick Reed and they were the best pairing that we had for the American side. His composure is excellent, his putting is excellent. There’s no reason why, as crazy as it is, that this kid can’t win at Augusta this week.”
Spieth has a 1:41 p.m. ET tee time on Thursday along with Henrik Stenson and Billy Horschel.