Jim Souhan analyzes the local sports scene and advises you to never take his betting advice. He likes old guitars and old music, never eats press box hot dogs, and can be heard on 1500ESPN at 2:05 p.m. weekdays, and Sundays from 10 a.m.-noon.
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The green jackets have stuck 13 pins within six paces of the edge for today. I just walked the course and what struck me were the placements on 12 and 13. Not that they're unusual, but they could be pivotal, once again.
On 12, the pin is back right. Anything short will probably roll back into the creek. Long leaves a delicate chip or pitch. If a player doesn't feel he needs a birdie there, he might be wise to hit it in the front bunker and take his chances at getting up and down.
On 13, the pin is front right. It's an easy target for a short club, because of the natural backstop of the ridge. It's a very tough target if you want to go for it in two, although the greens have been remarkably receptive this week because of the damp conditions.
At noon, I'll be live on SouhanUnfiltered.com talking about today ,and the week at The Masters.
Good morning from Augusta National, site of my favorite sporting event. It's a little overcast but not threatening this morning. The course should be a little damp but the pin placements are brutal. Will be fascinating to see how players like Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods approach this setup. They'll need to fire at pins, but doing so will bring in great risk.
My favorite quote from Tiger Woods that I didn't use in today's coverage illustrates that he's thinking about winning, even though he's 10 shots back.
``You saw what happened in '96,'' Woods said. ``You saw what happened with Rory in 2011. You never know around this golf course. Anything can happen.''
Woods references Greg Norman's epic choke job and McIlroy's disastrous back nine on Sunday.
Woods is trying to get into Jordan Spieth's head.
We'll find out this afternoon whether mind games make any difference with Spieth.
Remember, playing in the final pairing at The Masters last year, Spieth shot a 72. That wasn't good enough to beat Bubba Watson, but it wasn't a choke.
I'll be doing a live show from The Masters at noon today at SouhanUnfiltered.com. Please tune in, or listen later.
Jordan Spieth holds a five-shot lead over Charley Hoffman and a seven-shot lead over the rest of the field.
Who has the best chance to catch him?
I'd say Dustin Johnson. Johnson made three eagles and a birdie on the par-5s on Friday. He's seven shots back. If Spieth makes a mistake on a par 5 - maybe hitting one into the water on 13 or 15 - Johnson could make up a chunk of the deficit in one hole.
It was interesting to hear Jim Furyk and Phil Mickelson talk about Spieth. They were complimentary, but they also noted that a damp, slow course allowed Spieth to get up and down frequently. That might be more difficult if the greens start running fast.
Gotta love a couple of the Saturday pairings.
Bubba Watson, who has won two of the last three Masters, will play with Rory McIlroy, who needs The Masters to complete the career grand slam.
Tiger Woods, who doesn't like Sergio Garcia, will play with Garcia, who doesn't like Woods.
McIlroy on whether he has a chance to win: ``I'd have to shoot something like 14-under on the weekend, and Jordan would have to play a couple of average rounds, and it doesn't look like either of those things are going to happen.''
I'll be doing a live podcast from The Masters at 10 a.m. on Saturday on SouhanUnfiltered.com. You can listen live or later. Thanks.
Just walked the first couple of holes. Jordan Spieth hit his first drive down the middle, had a two-putt par on No. 1 and a pitch-and-chip for birdie on No. 2. He has played 20 holes at Augusta and birdied half of them this year. He's at 9-under, four shots ahead of the field and five ahead of Ernie Els who has dropped a shot.
It's been 31 years since a player took the sole lead after round 1 and held on to win. Ben Crenshaw, one of Spieth's mentors, was the last.
According to Justin Ray of The Golf Chennel, in Tiger Woods' last six outings at majors, he is a combined 32-over.
Spieth has played five career rounds at The Masters without ever finishing a round outside the top five.
It's an overcast day. It's supposed to storm this afternoon. Right now, the course is a little soft and there is little wind, and the pin placements are not particularly difficult, so there could be some low scores this morning.
I'll be on TwinCitieisHitShow.com shortly with Rusty Gatenby. I'll be on 105.1 The Ticket with Bob Sansevere at 3:30, and I'm doing a live show from The Masters with Sean Barnard at 10 a.m. on Saturday at my site, SouhanUnfiltered.com.
Thanks for reading and listening.
I've written about Tiger, Rory, Spieth, Hoffman and Bubba so far this week, all available at startribune.com.
Wtih the blog, I like to be more informal, just to tell you what I got to see on the course.
-The fans (patrons!) I was around on Thursday reacted to Tiger Woods like he was in his prime. He generated the biggest galleries and drew the biggest cheers. I was stunned at how good his short game looked, given his troubles earlier this year, but he's having his old dispersion problems. In short, he doesn't know which way his misses will head.
His flailing shot from behind a tree on 17 was classic, old-school Tiger stuff. Fun to see even if he's in no condition to contend. He may, however, make the cut, which is more than I expected from him this week. And he has continued to play the nice guy, both in interviews and on the course. He put his arm around someone else's caddy walking to the putting green today, and was laughing and joking. I don't know if that's good for his competitive spirit, but it's interesting.
-Phil Mickelson still crushes his driver, and shot a 70 to tie for 12th.
-Rory McIlroy is seven shots behind Jordan Spieth. That's not insurmountable...unless Spieth is going to have a breakthrough week and run away from the field. McIlroy made two big mistakes when I was following him - hooking his drive into the creek on No. 2 and settling for par on a par-5, and having a chip roll back to his feet on No. 6, and salvaging bogey.
Those are his two flaws - hooking his driver and saving strokes with his short game. When he's on, he hits so many greens and dominates so many par-5s that his flaws don't hurt him.
-Justin Rose and Jason Day are the players on the first page of the leaderboard who, to me, offer the toughest competition to Spieth going forward, although Billy Horschel sounded very confident when he said, ``I'd love to be in the last pairing with Jordan on Sunday.''
Check in to Startribune.com for full coverage from The Masters.
Told you the Twins would score this season.
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