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April 6, 2014

Woods' injury leaves void but golf moves on

(Continued)

We all root for Woods to have a speedy recovery because the sport needs him. “In all likelihood, he’s done for the year,” said Golf Digest’s Geoff Shackelford this week on The Golf Channel.

I have said for months that 2014 is a transitional year for golf. Many new faces are emerging and some of the familiar ones are seemingly drifting away. Steve Stricker hasn’t been nearly as effective this year as he was in 2013 playing an abbreviated schedule.

Granted, Jimmy Walker, Patrick Reed, Harris English and Jordan Spieth are far from household names. It’s been a weird year as many of the top named players have been out of form. It begs the question, who are the favorites next week at Augusta National?

The betting favorite is Rory McIlroy. He is due again to win a major championship. If he duplicates his wins in the U.S. Open and PGA, it will be in record-breaking fashion in terms of his margin of victory. Could that happen next week? I think it can.

Adam Scott figures to be a factor even though it will defy the odds to win back-to-back Masters. Dustin Johnson has played well at times, but will he put all facets of his mental game together over 72 holes. Nobody has played more consistently of late than Bubba Watson who finishes in the top 10 in virtually every event he plays in. Zach Johnson has won before at Augusta and he could be primed for another Green Jacket.

Whatever the case, this Masters will be well worth the watch.

It’s a special year at The Masters with the first Drive, Chip and Putt Championship to be conducted this morning on the hallowed grounds. Last year nearly 16,000 kids competed in 10 qualifiers around the U.S., with the hope of being one of the 88 boys and girls, ages 7-15 years old, to make it to the finals at Augusta National.

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