Gambling, Golf

The 2021 Masters

Recap:

What more needs to be said? Deki wins and your Hack is happy.

Respect for Augusta National’s Golf Course

We ended the week up 20.14 units bringing our YTD back down to minus 17.78 units. Matchups went 6-3-2 in our favor, but lost on all first round leader, Top 5 and Top 10 bets. Of course, we had the Deki +4500 ticket to win which was our 3rd outright winner of the year so far – Homa at the Genesis, JT at the Players and now Matsuyama at the Masters.

On the the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links next week.


Masters Sunday:

Welcome to “golf’s highest holy day” (tip of the hat to Will Bardwell’s Lying Four blog). Yes, it’s Masters Sunday once again and we all know the tournament doesn’t really start until the back nine today. One could argue that the real tournament started after yesterday’s rain delay. That’s when Deki blitzed the back with a 30 to take a 4 shot lead over Rose, Xander, Zalatoris, and Leishman. I’d argue that only two (2) players actually “moved” on Moving Day. Deki jumped up dramatically, and JT dropped down dramatically after his triple on the 13th. Your Hack is feeling good holding a Deki ticket to win at +4500, but it is the Masters and it’s always hard to follow up after a 65.

If the only Japanese player to hold a lead at the Masters stumbles, I still have Zalatoris (4 shots back) and Spieth (6 shots back) tickets that are live. Jordan may be too far back but he lost almost 2 1/2 strokes putting yesterday. Definitely not Spieth being Spieth. Can he light it up on Sunday like 2018 when he was chasing Reed?

We went 2-0-1 yesterday in matchups with the push between Phil and Molinari. Reed & Scheffler came through to win. Today, I’m taking Oosty (+100) > Kokrak and Leishman (+105) > Rose. Both for 2 units.

Finally, for your amusement, a repeat of the play of the day . . . .


Saturday Morning:

What a strange, strange trip we are on. DJ, Brooks, Rory, Day, Cantlay & Im all miss the cut at the Masters. Unfortunately, I had tickets on Day & Cantlay so we burnt 2 units on that speculation. On the plus side, your Hack still has live tickets on Spieth, JT, Deki, Si Woo, and Zalatoris. Of course, you have this . . .

Si Woo Kim Putting with his 3 Wood!

At +11000 to win, my boy snaps his putter in frustration and has to putt on 16, 17 and 18 with his 3 wood to finish round 2. Luckily, in got in to the house with 3 pars and shot 69 on the day and is sitting at T6 with Justin Thomas.

We went 0-1-1 on yesterday’s two matchup bets as Scott lost and Tommy Lad halved his match with Fitz. On the Thick Boy front, Bryson came storming back with his best putting round on Augusta National and killed my wagers that Rory and DJ would beat him. Of course, both of these favorites missing the cut didn’t help. I do still have JT > Bryson live and my Champ bet paid out with Lanto Griffin missing the cut.

With the leaderboard tightened up, today should be a fantastic watch. I place 3 matchup bets this morning – Phil (-105) > Molinaro, Reed (-125) over English, and Scheffler (-115) over Lord Tyrrell Hatton.

Have fun today!


Friday Morning:

I thought Deki had a chance to cash my first round leader ticket until he bogeyed coming in and Rose played the back 9 of his life. Good sweat though. I’m not buying Rosie going forward and put 2 units on Adam Scott to beat him in today’s matchup at +120. Also, put 2 units on Fleetwood (nice Ace) over Fitz today at -105.

Your Hack also live bet Hovland ( 1/2 unit @ +4500), Kokrak (1/2 unit @ +4500) and Scheffler (1/3 unit @ +6000) this morning.

Enjoy the golf all day. I’m playing at 11:30 and will update the blog tonight or tomorrow. Also, good luck to the Senator and the Voice playing in the Master’s Tournament today and this weekend at Ocean City and Cripple Creek.


Thursday Morning:

Just prior to cut-off, I updated my card adding First Rounder Leaders, Top 5, Top 10, and Tournament Matchups. You can see in the Tournament Matchups that I hate Bryson this week and am stacking against him versus other favorites. We’ll see how that goes. Scroll down to see my original post and LFG! It’s Master’s Thrusday.

First Round LeaderUnitsOdds
Cantlay0.502800
Brooks0.503300
Deki0.504500
Scheffler0.504500
Champ0.5010000
Palmer0.509000
Top 5 UnitsOdds
Si Woo Kim1.002000
Champ1.003000
Top 10UnitsOdds
Palmer1.00900
Fritelli1.001000
Tournament MatchupsUnitsOdds
Champ > Griffin2.00115
Rory > Bryson2.00105
DJ > Bryson2.00-135
JT > Bryson2.00110

Imagine sitting down to dinner here last night? It’s too bad Tiger was missing, but both JT and Rory said they visited him last week – wonder if they were looking for inspiration?

Yes, it’s Wednesday before the Masters and your Hack is basically trembling with excitement. Can DJ go back to back in 6 months? Will Keopka’s knee collapse? Can Rory finally complete his Grand Slam? Will a rookie win for the first time since Fred Couples? Will Spieth do Spieth things? Will the “Big Golfer” Bryson over power Augusta? Or, will Ian Woosnam simply explode on the course from eating too many Waffle House home fires?

I wonder about all these things, but what has me really juiced is turning around my bankroll this week. I’ve saved Jordan for my One and Done all year and he’s my guy at Augusta – even coming off last week’s win in Texas. I’m not as worried about his driver because you can miss fairways at the Masters. It’s all about putting the ball on the right part of the green and making putts. That’s what Spieth has been doing so well and I’m all in.

Before unveiling my betting card, I have to share the funniest thing I’ve seen this week from Augusta.

At least we know now what Vijay was thinking . . . . I’m off to play our Wednesday game with the boys at Cripple Creek later today. Here’s my early betting card for the Masters which I’ll update tonight.

Masters Betting Card

OutrightsUnitsOdds
Spieth3.001000
JT3.001100
Cantlay1.502000
Casey1.003500
Deki0.754500
Day0.505000
Zalatoris0.508000
Homa0.259000
Si Woo Kim0.2511000

Golf

Tiger and Time

This is perhaps the best thing I’ve read about what happened on Sunday.  Tip of the hat to my friend John Pearson who sent it to me yesterday.  I still shake myself at times . . . did it really happen?
People still look past me. It baffles me that still happens after all these years. Yes, I know I am petite and pretty and, if you will allow a modicum of immodestly, I ooze with Southern charm. If I was in Hollywood, I am sure I would be Doris Day. I apologize if that’s an old reference. I am old. I fear that I have not kept up with the times.
People sense my friendliness. That is good. I am friendly. I welcome everyone. My bridge is always open. I optimistically set the table for 2 every time.  But I am not to be underestimated.
My name is Golden Bell. I am the 12th hole at Augusta National.

 

I am 155 yards long, and I am surrounded by azaleas and sand and water and trees. I am less a golf hole and more a vacation spot. My likeness hangs in offices and living rooms around the world. I look as innocuous and dreamy as a postcard from Hawaii.
But I am to be taken seriously. The winds swirl unpredictably around me. They say I was built on an Indian burial ground. I do not talk about my past. But I can tell you that I have broken many hearts.
I broke Arnold Palmer’s heart. That was in ’59, I guess. I revered Arnie, and over time he came to revere me, but he was still young then, full of spirit and too much certainty. He led when he arrived at my door. He then hit his ball into the water and made triple bogey and lost the tournament. I felt heartsick for him. But I am not easy.
Time after time in the years since then, they have come to me with a sparkle of glory and a touch of arrogance reflecting in their eyes, and they have looked beyond me, to opportunities that await, to a dream they have had had since they were children, to a jacket that they long to wear. And they have left my green broken. I have crushed so many hopes. Seve Ballesteros. Gary Player. Greg Norman. Jordan Spieth. I cannot remember them all.
It happens every year.
On this Sunday, the hopers and dreamers began arriving much earlier in the day than I expected. They don’t usually show up until late afternoon, as the sun falls behind the Magnolia and Juniper trees, but on this Sunday they started marching up in groups of three in the morning. I believe the weather brought them out early.
The names change. The faces don’t. In the early afternoon, a powerful man named Brooks Koepka showed up. There is no doubt in my mind that Brooks has the strength to hit a golf ball miles over me. But I watched instead as he hit the ball without assurance. I could tell instantly that his shot would land short and roll back into the water. I tried to stop it. I always try to stop it. But there is not much I can do … once, I recall, I was able to stop the golf ball for a friendly sort named Fred Couples. But ever since then the groundskeepers have kept my grass shorter.
There was nothing I could do to save Brooks Koepka’s ball.
The same was true for Ian Poulter’s golf ball. Poulter is English, from what I can tell, and he also hit a high, equivocal shot that bounced well short and rolled back into Rae’s Creek. Later, the same thing happened to a tall fellow named Tony Finau. Each time the ball dropped into Rae’s Creek, I heard those familiar groans that have always tormented me.
I am haunted by waters.
Then the next group, the last group, came up. A man with a beautiful name, Francesco Molinari, walked to the tee. What a name. I have grown to love beautiful names — Ian Baker-Finch and Seve Ballesteros and Gary Player and Jose Maria Olazabal and Jimmy Demaret.  And standing next to him, there was an older golfer wearing red, he had a familiar face, and I couldn’t take my eyes off him.
There are only a few who have ever turned this place inside out. Arnie was one of those; he was so captivating and fetching and affable. The fans at Augusta loved him so dearly, so fervently, that they called themselves “Arnie’s Army.” I often thought of myself as a member of Arnie’s Army.
Then there was Jack Nicklaus. I will not lie, he was my favorite. I don’t know if the fans loved Jack with quite the same zeal and warmth that they loved Arnie, but I know they admired him. He was so admirable. He kept his head. He never beat himself. He played the right shot again and again.
And Jack always made me feel seen. I’ve heard that he called me the toughest little hole in the world. That is the most meaningful thing anyone has ever said about me. I have been called beautiful so often that it has lost its meaning. But tough! Yes! It’s true. Jack used to say that he always aimed for the same spot — to that safe space of land between my front and back bunkers — even if it meant aiming away from the flag.
I loved him for that. Jack respected me.
There were others too who inspired ear-shattering roars, Sam and Tom and Seve and Phil and so on.
But Tiger Woods is different from all of them.
I remember when he first came to Augusta. He was only an amateur then, a teenager, but full of unimaginable promise and talent and skill (I heard Jack predicted Tiger would win as many green jackets and he and Arnie had won combined). I’m told that when they asked Tiger what he hoped to accomplish his first time around at the hallowed Masters he said, without hesitation: “Win.”
It was a brazen and presumptuous thing for a young man to say — the correct answer apparently being something to the effect of “I’m just happy to be here” — and I am sure some of the older men harrumphed and grumbled. But modesty didn’t fit Tiger or his talents. He came to conquier and when he was 21, he did. He thundered through this golf course like no one ever had before. When he was done, records were shattered, imaginations detonated, and I overheard people say that they would need to change Augusta National just to accommodate Tiger’s prodigious abilities.
They did change Augusta National considerably, lengthening some holes, adding contours and rises in various places, reworking various parts of the course. But they did not change me — if you will allow me to speak immodestly again, I am timeless — and they did not prevent Tiger Woods from winning again and again.. He had won four times before he turned 30.
And the roars for him were unlike those even for Arnie and Jack. I think that’s because Tiger wasn’t adored like Arnie, and he wasn’t lionized like Jack. No there was something else about him, something more aspirational. I am not sure I can describe it — I am no poet, I am the subject of poetry — but as I understand it, Tiger offered to take the crowd to a place where golf had never gone. He was an astronaut. He hit shots no one had ever hit. He saw possibilities where others saw tree branches and double bogeys. He brought order to a disorderly game.
Anyway, that’s how I have heard it described.
Then, one day, something with Tiger Woods changed. One hears things, but I am not one to partake in rumors. But I could see that Tiger no longer commanded the game the way he had. The crowds still shouted for him, but their cheers were less confident and more nervous. He grew older. He seemed to have a different swing every time I saw him. And then, some years, he did not show up at all.
I did not expect to see Tiger Woods compete again.
The cycle doesn’t often go in that direction.
When the last group of Sunday approached, I glanced at the little walking leaderboard and saw that the Italian with the beautiful name, Francesco Molinari, had 13 red. And Tiger Woods had 11 red. The Masters was in the balance.
And I waited with hope.
Molinari hit first. He reached back with his club, and I offered a silent prayer for him, like I do for every golfer. But as soon as he hit the ball, I could see that he had made the mistake that has wrecked so many. He aimed toward the flag. And he had lacked conviction. The ball fluttered in the wind, and landed short, rolled back into the creek and those agonizing groans came. I saw the crestfallen look on Molinari’s face. I have seen that look so many times. I never get used to it.
Then Tiger Woods stepped to the tee.
I looked at him closely. Was this really Tiger Woods, the bold and impertinent kid who believed that nothing was beyond his powers? I could not tell. I began to say my silent prayer for him … but then I stopped because I noticed something. He was not that Tiger Woods. He moved more gingerly. His face was wider. His weather-worn face suggested that he had seen things.
And as he began his swing, I caught something in Woods’ glance, something unusual, something I had not seen in, well, in a long time.
Deference.
He aimed his shot away from the flag.
He hit it to that space between my front and back bunker. The ball landed and settled 40 feet from the hole but dry and safe. It was the shot that young golfers feel too proud and too strong to hit. It was Jack Nicklaus’ shot. And now, it was Tiger Woods’ shot.
And I knew right then that Tiger would go on to win the Masters.
I could tell from the roars that he did go on to win. I settled in and just listened for those roars like I do ever Masters Sunday. And they were louder than any I have heard in more than 30 years. I have since heard that as he walked off the last hole, Tiger was seen hugging his children, who were not born when he won here the first time. And I heard he took a look up to the sky to think about his father, Earl, who passed away a dozen years ago.
I am not capable of tears. Or at least I didn’t think I was capable for tears.
If there’s one thing I have learned as a most famous golf hole, it is that time, like Rae’s Creek, rushes in one direction. You cannot expect it to stop for anything or anyone. And yet, I’ve been around Augusta long enough to know that every now and again, on special days, time does stop, or at least it pauses. On Sunday, it stopped for Tiger. I think that means time stopped for all of us too.

Continue reading