There they are. They’re poised, and ready to end the drought that has lasted……forever. The Aussies have stacked the deck at The 2013 Masters to once, and for all, get that Green Jacket that has avoided players from Down Under since the birth of Augusta. I call it the Greg Norman Curse.
In 1986, Greg Norman birdied four of the last five holes, and needed only par at 18 to tie Jack Nicklaus, and force a playoff. He made bogey at 18, and Jack won his sixth, and final Green Jacket.
Norman came back in 1987, and made the playoff with Larry Mize. You remember…everytime they mention Greg Norman, and the Masters, they show you the video. Mize holed out a remarkable 45-yard pitch shot to birdie the second playoff hole and win the Masters.
In 1996, Norman tied the course record 63 in the first round, and had a six shot lead over Nick Faldo going into the final round. He shot 78 in the final round, and Faldo shot 67 to win by five strokes. I remember watching this tournament, and feel like this was where the Norman Curse began.
The Aussie fate at Augusta National is in the hands of Marc Leishman, Jason Day, and Adam Scott. Yes..the same Adam Scott who blew a four shot final round lead at Royal Lytham St. Annes last July to lose the British Open to an aging Ernie Els. Scott is one shot out of the lead going into Sunday’s action, with Jason Day, and Marc Leishman two back.
Here’s the problem you have….The eventual Masters champion has come out of the final Sunday pairing 19 out of the last 22 years, with Zach Johnson (2007), Charl Schwartzel (2011) and Bubba Watson (2012) the exceptions.
Brandt Snedeker looks to have his game back in control after returning from rib injuries. He struggled at Bay Hill, and Houston, but is playing well again, and will be a formidable foe today. Angel Cabrera always competes at Augusta. He is a tough competitor, and is tough when he is in the final mix at the Masters.
Adam Scott will be paired in the final round, with Marc Leishman, and because Jason Day let his putter get away in the closing holes on Saturday, will be paired with Accenture Match Play Champ, Matt Kuchar.
There is a lot of fire power just behind the Aussie attack, including Tim Clark, who was one of the hottest players on the golf course during moving day who shot a -5 under 67, and moved up 30 positions. Playing with Clark, is four-time winner, Tiger Woods. I don’t see a winner coming from any further back, but Rickie Fowler, and Steve Stricker are lurking.
The opening…Angel Cabrera can be a tough playing partner. There is always the possibility that he blows up Brandt Snedeker’s game like he did Rory McIlroy in 2011, and in the process leave an opening for the Aussie Attack. But then…There’s the Greg Norman Curse.
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