Gary Player Masters Diary: This Masters Is Still Wide Open
What a fascinating round! I’ve been saying for years that very few people realize that there’s serious competition on the Champions Tour, and now we have six senior players who made the cut: Fred Couples, Bernhard Langer, Larry Mize, Vijay Singh, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Sandy Lyle. Those guys played like hell, especially when you consider how many young champions they had to beat. Miguel Angel Jimenez shot a 66 today! That’s a hell of a score for a man who’s playing his first senior tour event next week. He’s also a super guy, so I said to him, “If you win this tournament, you’ll be the president of Spain, so please let me come visit you without a visa!”
It’s still wide open. Bubba Watson should be ahead by four shots right now, but he three-putted 13 from 30 feet straight up the hill, he hit an 8-iron or a 9-iron into the par-5 15 and made 5, and he-three putted 16 from just off the edge of the green. I was listening to the television coverage, and all they kept talking about was his nerves. There are no nerves yet! On the last nine holes, there’s going to be nerves, but not yet. These guys are used to playing under pressure. They’re not standing there cracking. His short game was just terrible.
Everyone struggled on Amen Corner today. They all had irons to the green, and they were making bogeys, and that’s the difference now. Jordan Spieth drove into the trees on 15, chipped it out and made birdie, but Bubba Watson hit an 8- or 9-iron to the green with his second shot and made par, while Jonas Blixt and Thomas Bjorn hit the fairway and made bogey. How can we explain this game? We all know a hell of a lot about nothing!
Before the round started today, we all had a little bet on who would win on Sunday, and I put my money on Jordan Spieth. He could be a star. My formula: I think if you win three majors, I classify you as "very good," if you win between three and five majors, I make you a star; if you win six or more majors, I make you a superstar. So Spieth has a lot of work to do, but he has lots of potential.
It’ll be the most important round of his life tomorrow, and if he wins, he’ll be well on his way to stardom.
Gary Player will be sharing his thoughts on the Masters and recounting his adventures at Augusta National for Golf.com throughout the week. You can follow him @garyplayer.