Thursday, April 11, 2002

A Great Leaderboard

Big guns, ball-strikers and the wizards of the short game are all over the top of the Masters Leaderboard. The greens softened with Tuesday's and Wednesday's rain, and there was virtually no wind all day today. So despite the added length, about half the field is at level par or better.

A couple of items: (1) Driving accuracy isn't going to make it as a statistical category. The leader after Round One is Gary Player (100%) and among the leaders is Arnold Palmer. So what exactly does that tell us? Not much. (2) I like the IBM Leaderboard feature at the Masters website. You can download it and then just leave it on your computer. It refreshes every two minutes. There's some unnecessary pagination to get to the player scorecards, but with a high-speed connection, you can blow through that in a nanosecond. (3) In general, the USA Network/CBS coverage of the Masters is excellent. The CBS crew's camera work is sensational. The commentary is often smart and helpful. But then the boys in the booth start lactating about Augusta National and the Masters "tradition" and one's only hope is the mute button. What makes the Masters so compelling is the golf course and what happens on it. The faux emotion we can do without.

The return of Davis Love III is most welcome and it's also nice to see Nick Price and Bernard Langer in the thick of things. My friend Seth Kaplan and I have a side bet. He's got Greg Norman (-1) and I've got Nick Faldo (+3). I like my chances.