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Hooks and Cuts: Masters Movers and Shakers

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Twenty-one-year-old Rory McIlroy winning a Masters wouldn’t be as profound as 21-year-old Tiger winning, given the social ramifications, but it would catapult Rory out of the pack of “could-be-might-be” young stars to “the” star.

And those who’ve won majors in their early 20s went on to become some of the greatest players ever. Their names are Tiger, Jack and Seve. We’re getting ahead of ourselves, granted, but it’s worth pondering.

Here are some more Hooks and Cuts from the Masters:

  • Augusta National is the place to be, but the Wallace House at nearby Augusta Country Club isn’t bad, if you like golf. Golf Channel is headquartered there all week and we enjoyed a parade of legends into our interview room. Arnold Palmer, Tom Watson, Raymond Floyd and Greg Norman have all talked Masters. Gary Player and Ben Crenshaw are on tap. Make of it what you will, but Arnold, Tom, Raymond and Greg are still fit and trim.
  • Rickie Fowler playing alongside Rory McIlroy put together an impressive second nine that included a birdie at 18 for a round of 70, keeping alive the possibility of an orange and green couture clash on Sunday night.
  • Tiger’s fine with 71, but still we’re not sure. We were never, not sure.
  • Rory’s game is big, more than big enough for the best of the big hitter’s parks, Augusta National.
  • Arnold said that he wouldn’t be surprised to see a young guy win, and that was before Rory’s 65. He also related that early in his career some thought he couldn’t win at Augusta National because he didn’t hit the ball high enough. “I learned where to hit it,” he said. “Not how high to hit it.” The great ones tend to figure a way, though Trevino never did here and he’s a great one.
  • Masters movers and shakers must be thrilled with the performance of Hideki Matsuyama, validating the invitation to the winner of the Asian Amateur.
  • I’d love to take a bucket of balls and try to hit slinging drivers at 13. A guy can dream can’t he?
  • Why not Y.E.?
  • Freddy’s setting us up for a weekend of high hopes and flinched 4 footers.
  • It’s just the ceremonial first tee shot, but I look at Jack and half expect him to walk after his drive and carve out an opening 70, just to throw a charge into the tournament.
  • With sun and heat and the ball carrying deep the weekend could be an epic, long hitting birdie-eagle, two-shots-back-to-one-ahead, in-an-instant free for all.