AUGUSTA – Stuff worth looking for Sunday at the Masters:
Is it win or place for Jordan Spieth?
Is there any other choice? Spieth is making out like the ultimate horse for this course. Until further notice there are only two choices for him every time he arrives at Augusta National: Do I finish first or second?
That’s all he has done in his three previous appearances here, and look who pulled in right behind the leaders Saturday. Not even Tiger Woods could claim such a concentrated period of dominance. For instance, after Woods’ went 18 under in 1997 (the score Spieth matched in his 2015 victory), he finished eighth and 18th the next two years.
Third-round leader Justin Rose addressed Spieth’s affinity for this place: “It’s a second‑shot golf course, and he’s a good iron player. He’s very sharp with that. He’s got a great golfing brain. This is a very strategic golf course and you have to make good, smart decisions out there. It tempts you at times. It can dangle the carrot. You need to be on top of your thinking and he’s very good at that. And his putting speaks for itself.”
Spieth will seek to become the first fellow to win a Masters champion with a quadruple bogey besmirching his four day’s work (that happened Thursday at No. 15).
Who will stand up on the back nine?
You know the adage. The Masters doesn’t start until the back nine on Sunday. Which begs the question: Why have we been here all week?
Anyway, here’s a look at how the top contenders have done on the back side through the first three rounds this week. You be the judge.
Justin Rose, 3 under (he shot a 5 under 31 Saturday). Sergio Garcia, 2 under. Charley Hoffman 2 under. Jordan Spieth 1 under (with that quadruple bogey on the first day). Ryan Moore 1 under. Rickie Fowler 1 over. Adam Scott 2 over.
Could these final pairings get any more comfortable?
The closing pair of twosomes Sunday couldn’t have been better matched. They held the 81st Masters and a buddy movie broke out.
In the penultimate pairing, there are Americans Spieth and Fowler, who just last year went on a bro-romp in the Bahamas along with fellow pros Justin Thomas and Smylie Kaufman. The probably won’t wear Hawaiian shirts to the first tee Sunday, but that bears watching.
Paired last are Justin Rose and Sergio Garcia, who only have four shared Ryder Cup experiences together. And most of those have been very fond memories.
We’ll see if such familiarity breeds good golf.
And here’s an idea: Why not just throw them all together and play a Ryder Cup-style four-ball match?
Can anyone ambush the leaders from behind?
Art Wall Jr. (1959) was the only Masters winner who began Sunday outside the top 10.
Average finish of the last 10 54-hole Masters leaders: 3.6.
Those at the top at the beginning of the day are bound to be hanging around up there at the end.
Is a playoff inevitable?
With so many players of pedigree jammed so closely together on the leaderboard, how can 18 holes today be enough to separate out one?
The Masters is due for some extra holes – the last playoff coming four years ago when Adam Scott defeated Angel Cabrera in the rain.
Admit it, you’d like a little more Masters. You want to eat dinner on a TV tray while the light grows dim at Augusta National.
This leaderboard deserves a dash of extra drama.