Golf Channel Analyst Brandel Chamblee is in Augusta, Georgia this week for the 76th Masters Tournament. Chamblee led after the first round of the 1999 Masters in his first and only appearance in the year’s first Major on his way to a T18 finish.
When he sees Tiger Woods, he sees a lot of good things with his swing and the numbers confirm that good things are happening. It seems that Tiger is more mechanical with his swing now than he has been in the past. When you play on feel, you are able to access more information and be more flexible in certain situations. However, when you are more mechanical you are limited in how you can respond to certain situations.
He is excited as anyone to see how Tiger Woods will play this week in large part because he is such a different player than he was when he won 3 Green Jackets between 1997 and 2002. There are a number of holes at Augusta National – including 1, 11, 17, and 18 – where he has had trouble in the past because of a big miss to the left and he is interested to see how he performs off the tee on those and other holes.
The course is soft at Augusta National due to all of the rain that has fallen this week and it is the softest that it has been since 2003. Many first time players made the cut in 2003 because the soft conditions took away many nuances that rookies usually struggle with. We may see a large number of first time players make the cut and even contend for that same reason this year.
Rory McIlroy is showing some of the fastest growth of any successful player in the history of golf. Everyone recognizes something special in Rory McIlroy and many have believed this since we first saw him as an amateur in the 2007 Open Championship. The fire that Rory has on the course reminds many of Tiger Woods and if he continues to play well and win, the comparisons with Tiger Woods will continue.