Worth Watching


Augusta National released Tuesday afternoon its opening-round tee times for the 2008 Masters Tournament. Here are a few groups worth keeping an eye on:
8 a.m. ET: Ben Curtis, Shaun Micheel
How many times do you think these two guys have been paired together over the last five years? Do tournament committees think Curtis and Micheel, both surprise major champions in 2003, look at the pairing sheet, laugh, wag their fingers and say in a Steve Martin voice, You guys . Those silly Augusta octogenarians.
8:22 a.m. ET: Mark OMeara, Trip Kuehne (a), Ian Poulter
A couple of weeks ago the Golf Guy (Yes, I know the Golf Guy personally. And, yes, ladies, he's single.) was out at the Tavistock Cup and said that OMeara was doing a TV interview after his Isleworth team victory when Poulter (a Lake Nona guy) ran over and doused him with champagne. OMeara played it off on TV, but then gave Poulter a death stare that would have petrified Charles Bronson. Poulter, of course, either didnt notice or didnt care.
8:44 a.m. ET: Gary Player, Miguel Angel Jimenez, D.J. Trahan
How many holes before Jimenez gets tired of the 72-year-old Player yapping in his ear about how hes the most physically fit man in this or any other universe, and that if the Spaniard would quit smoking cigars, do a few crunches and get a decent haircut he might actually contend in a major championship, before he picks him up and dumps him in Raes Creek?
9:39 a.m. ET: Fred Couples, Jerry Kelly, Anders Hansen
Player should have been put in the same group with Couples, who is trying to break the South Africans record mark of 23 consecutive cuts made at the Masters. Couples tied it last year. Should he break it this time around dont be surprised if Player says Couples was the guy he was talking about at last years Open Championship.
10:23 a.m. ET: Zach Johnson, Luke Donald, Geoff Ogilvy
Johnson will be trying to join Tiger Woods, Nick Faldo and Jack Nicklaus as the only men to successfully defend their titles in this event. He will be trying to avoid sharing the company of Mike Weir, however, who was the last defending champion to miss the cut.
10:45 a.m. ET: Tiger Woods, Angel Cabrera, Stuart Appleby
Who held the 54-hole lead in last years Masters? That would be Stuart Appleby, who shot 75 on Sunday and finished in a tie for seventh. As they were in the final round of 2007, Appleby and Woods will again be grouped in Rds. 1 and 2 in 08. But if youre looking for someone to stand up to Tiger this week dont look to the Australian, but rather to the third member of this threesome. Cabrera has the length, the confidence (2007 U.S. Open champion) and the record (three top-10s at the Masters) to give Tiger a run. Maybe.
11:18 a.m. ET: Craig Stadler, Johnson Wagner, Steve Flesch
Johnson Wagner won last weeks Shell Houston Open to make the Masters field at the 11th hour and said even rounds of 90-90 this week could wipe the smile off his face. So the Masters committee put him with Stadler. That will do it.
12:02 p.m. ET: Soren Hansen, Daniel Chopra, Richard Sterne
Winner! Most Non-Descript Threesome in the Tournament. Ever.
1:08 p.m. ET: Bubba Watson, Sergio Garcia, Mark Calcavecchia
Bubba has the length. Sergio has the accuracy. Calc has the savvy. If they could combine their skills ' and find a fourth member who could actually putt ' they might have a chance to win this week.
1:41 p.m. ET: Phil Mickelson, Andres Romero, K.J. Choi
This is the only group over the first two rounds in which all three players have won on TOUR this season. All eyes will be on Mickelson, but dont overlook Choi. He finished third here in 2004.
2:03 p.m. ET: Aaron Baddeley, Camilo Villegas, Lee Westwood
The final group of the opening round. Baddeley is a chic pick to do well this week because of his stellar putting. However, he tied for 52nd last year and missed the cut in two tries as an amateur. Nothing would give Johnson more pleasure ' aside from winning it again himself ' than slipping the green jacket onto his good friend this coming Sunday.

Related Links:
  • Complete first-round tee times
  • Full Coverage - The Masters