The Masters - A Quick Six

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With Masters Week in full swing we asked The Golf Channel's Mark Lye and Brian Hewitt and thegolfchannel.com's George White and Mercer Baggs to answer a few questions about the 70th edition of The Masters.
 

 
1) Will Tiger repeat as Masters champion?
 
Mark Lye
No. I dont like where his game is right now. He probably has the best shot of anybody to win. But Ill definitely take the field over him.
 
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods will be gunning for his fifth green jacket this week at Augusta national.
George White
My prediction- Tiger will repeat as champion. Of course, there is only about a 1 in 10 chance ' ever! But yeah, I think he has a better chance than anyone.
 
Brian Hewitt
The added length will only make Tiger better at Augusta National.
 
Mercer Baggs
No. Most everyone seems ready to give Tiger his fifth green jacket ' thus putting him one back of Jacks record, but his game is a bit too erratic at the moment. Ill take the field.
 
2) If Tiger does win, can he claim the Grand Slam in 2006?
 
Mark Lye
No. Ill think hell hit a roadblock at Winged Foot ' not his style of golf course.
 
George White
I dont think Tiger ' or anyone ' will ever win the Grand Slam in one year. But if anyone has ever had a chance to do it, Tiger is it. The chances are ' oh, maybe one in 100.
 
Brian Hewitt
Yes, he can. The toughest of the four will be U.S. Open at Winged Foot.
 
Mercer Baggs
No. Woods may well bookend major titles this season, winning the Masters and the PGA at Medinah, site of his 1999 PGA triumph, but Winged Foots rough will grab him at the U.S. Open and Royal Liverpools unfamiliarity will likely lead to a surprise British Open champion.
 
3) Which player has the best chance of taking away the green jacket from Tiger?
 
Mark Lye
Vijay, Goosen. I like the way they are trending right now. Vijay is playing better and better and Retiefs putting is getting very good.
 
George White
Davis Love III
 
Brian Hewitt
Phil Mickelson because of his record at The Masters.
 
Mercer Baggs
I would love to say Ernie Els, because no one would love to win this event more than he, but Im going with Retief Goosen. Goosen has a good track record at this event. He also has the length, accuracy and mentality to survive Augustas latest test.
 
4) Who is your dark horse contender at Augusta this year?
 
Mark Lye
Angel Cabrera. Hes plenty long and has a good record here.
 
George White
Geoff Ogilvy
 
Brian Hewitt
Geoff Ogilvy hits it long, can putt and is loaded with confidence.
 
Mercer Baggs
Rod Pampling. Ryan Moore was my original selection, but a hand injury forced him out. Pampling should have plenty of confidence with his Bay Hill victory and he tied for fifth in his Masters debut last year.
 
5) Are Augustas constant changes good for the tournament?
 
Mark Lye
No, I dont like the changes at all. I think that theyve ruined a couple of holes ' No. 7, No. 1. The fourth hole is now 250; I think 220-230 is plenty long.
 
George White
No, they are not. Every year, fewer and fewer people have a realistic chance to win ' maybe 8 to 10 this year? This on top of a field that already is only 100 or so, and about one-fourth of those are people whose winning days are either long behind them or long in the future.
 
Brian Hewitt
Changes are good but they haven't always made the RIGHT changes.
 
Mercer Baggs
No. At some point youve got to allow Augusta National to be Augusta National. Let the greens be the courses primary defense, allow creativity to be an asset and let birdies on the back nine win. Making the event play like a U.S. Open takes away significantly from the aura of this tournament.
 
6) Should Jack Nicklaus play this event one more time?
 
Mark Lye
Yes, let everyone know that its his last time.
 
George White
Jack shouldnt play this event again. However, he has every bit as much right as do about 30-40 of the guys who will tee it up.
 
Brian Hewitt
I'm not sure I want to see Jack Nicklaus playing a course where, if the wind's playing the wrong way, he can't get home on certain Par 4s.
 
Mercer Baggs
No. He left on his own terms, which is good enough for me. And no one wants to watch the games greatest champion get swallowed whole by a juiced-up version of the course he conquered six times.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - 70th Masters Tournament