Two weeks ago I wrote an article about how the next Masters champion may come from a win at either Bay Hill or Redstone based upon what I believed to be circumstances of "fate". With Mickelson coming from behind to win at the SHO this week, a green jacket reality moment at Augusta National is settling in with oddsmakers as well.
To recap the ESPN.com analysis: There have only been six instances since 1960 when a player won an event either one or two weeks prior to winning the Masters. It's happened just twice since 1990 and in five year increments: Tiger Woods in 2001 (The Players Championship) and Phil Mickelson in 2006 (won the BellSouth the prior week).
This next five-year increment is at hand and so it stands to reason that either Mickelson or Martin Laird could become the 75th Masters Champion.
Humble Phil feels confident after a SHO-ing this week that he can win the first major of 2011. "It feels really good for me to have played well and gained some momentum heading into next week," Mickelson said. "I needed to have a week where I kind of put it together."
But even Mickelson mentioned after his round that there were a few holes in which he lost "focus". Focus and rolling in the putts are the keys (in my opinion) to winning any golf tournament.
If in fact rolling in the putts is any indication of a win, then according to Colin Montgomerie, Laird has the potential to be a "world star."
Martin Laird with Arnold Palmer at Bay Hill
Monty said, "He (Laird) had a putting lesson from Dave Stockton and it's clearly worked because if you saw those last four putts he holed at Bay Hill, every one was dead centre. If he can putt half as well as that at Augusta he has a chance."In spite of Montgomerie's "cooing" over Laird's ability on the golf course, Mickelson's odds currently stand at 5-1; Laird's odds are at 66-1.Traditionally, the winner of the Masters had assistance with putting on his green jacket. Phil won last year so if he wins again the question is, "Will Mickelson don his own Masters jacket?" It certainly would be memorable but, in the old-world tradition of the event, other likely candidates to give Phil a hand would be:
Angel Cabrera (2009), Trevor Immelman (2008), Zach Johnson (2007) or Tiger Woods (2005).
As in past years, live coverage of the Masters Tournament, April 4-10th, will be available from Amen Corner holes No 15 & 16, the Practice Range and the par 3 contest on Masters.org.
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