Third Round Thoughts and Insights


'You can't win the tournament on Saturday, but you can lose it.'
Sayings become clichs because they are proven to be accurate.
The weekend has come to Augusta, and the complexion of the tournament will change. The players who best manage their mistakes will have the opportunity to win. Managing mistakes at Augusta requires precise knowledge of the course. The subtle dangers that lurk are incredibly severe and can only be discovered and ingrained through repeatedly playing the course under tournament conditions. A player who has such knowledge and a commitment to his game has the advantage this weekend.
There can be no uncertainty in a player's decision making at Augusta National if he hopes to have any chance at victory. He must commit to a game plan, and commit to each decision he makes throughout the day. Lack of commitment often leads to an imprecise shot and unfortunate results. The penal nature of Augusta, and specifically its greens, guarantees that imprecise shots will not go unpunished.
As the weather changes and the wind comes up, commitment will be in short supply. Wind will dry out the greens and all the treachery of the course will be in play. Add to that the indecision on club selection inherent in wind play and only the strongest minded players will survive today with a chance to win.
- Let's not argue semantics. If Tiger Woods wins this week, he will have accomplished something no one has ever done. Let's marvel at the achievement. History will provide the appropriate moniker.
- Tiger has never failed to perform in a situation of historical significance. By the time he ends his career, that will no longer be the case, but it's true today.
- Someone in the last 3 groups will lose their shot at a green jacket on Saturday.
- A surprising name will be in the final 3 groups on Sunday.
- Wind will dry the most exposed greens the fastest. Greens that are not surrounded by trees will be the quickest this weekend. The most exposed greens include 2, 7, 9, 14, 17 & 18.
- I have a hunch that Sunday will present a first. We will either see the first player to ever hold all four Major Championship titles simultaneously, or the first Major Championship trophy for the victor.