Sportswriters root not for teams or individuals, but for stories. Here's what I'm rooting for this weekend:
I want to see these players on the leaderboard, tightly packed through Sunday afternoon, for these reasons:
-Tiger Woods: Golf is more interesting when he's in contention. He doesn't have to win. In fact, I think of him the way I think of the Yankees: I want them to be good enough to matter, and flawed enough that they don't win it all. Tiger remains the biggest story in golf, like it or not.
-Dustin Johnson: He could have three majors by now, and his game should fit Augusta National perfecty. And maybe it does now. He's hitting his driver a mile and his short game is improved. If he can dominate the par-5s - and he should be able to dominate the par-5s - he might win here the way Tiger used to.
-Matt Kuchar: Likable, humble player who is more than good enough to win a major but hasn't yet.
-David Lynn or someone like him: You want to have one unkown stepping into the arena with the big names, just to see whether his nerves will hold up. Lynn is a prankster. How about Lynn playing with Tiger on Sunday afternoon and substituting an exploding ball on the first tee?
-Rickie Fowler: Another young player with the talent to win, but who may not be ready for a major.
-Keegan Bradley and Ian Poulter: Two players who loved the Ryder Cup competition. Both are far off the pace, but it would be fun to see them bring that fire to Augusta.
-Fred Couples: He loves this place. This place loves him. I followed him for a few holes this morning, and the crowds around him were bigger than the ones around Tiger early on Thursday.
-Jason Dufner: For this reason: He's a reminder that this is a game of skill and intelligence. He's a reminder because he might have the worse body I've seen on a professional athlete since Larry Casian pitched for the Twins.
He's short and chubby. He has multiple chins. He has no muscle mass to speak of. He walks and looks like he may fall asleep at any moment. He's well off the pace, as well, but I'd love to see him make a run.
It rained pretty heavy this morning, and the course is playing tough right now. Matt Kuchar has birdied the second to reach 5-under, good for second place, one shot behind Marc Leishman. The weather is supposed to clear this afternoon.