I have a feeling you all know the Masters begins Thursday. I also have a feeling you generally possess the knowledge that one Eldrick Tont Woods will not be attending these ceremonies as he recovers from back surgery.
For some, that breeds the following questions: What's the point? Can't they just, like, reschedule or something for when Woods is healthy? I mean, c'mon, right?
Well, no, sir or madam, they may not. Believe it or not, both golf and the Masters tournament existed prior to Tiger Woods. And, barring some catastrophic world disaster, it will exist long after Woods trades in his golf cart for a beach chair. Of course, all involved with the Masters probably would reschedule to accommodate Woods if it wouldn't be wildly impractical and inappropriate.
But I digress.
Woods' absence, which has already eclipsed every other storyline surrounding golfers actually playing the sport this weekend, has created an interesting dilemma, though. No one has any idea who to pick. Even if he's nine years (!!!) removed from his last green jacket, anyone looking to sound relatively intelligent about the sport could default to Tiger and say some variation of "you can never count him out."
And then everyone nods because, well, he's still the best player in the world. Yes, even six years removed from a major championship.
The so-called "wide open" field (a fallacy, but whatever) has created a somewhat fun cottage industry as everyone remotely connected to this week at Augusta has scrambled to find inventive picks. Where do they do that? Twitter, of course.
Now that I'm done answering my own rhetorical questions as narrative device, here's a look at a few early predictions from around the web.
Let's start off with one of the most noted experts in the golf world: Tennessee Titans head coach Ken Whisenhunt. Wait...what? OK, not so much an expert. More like a dude who's from Augusta who decided to throw his gusto behind Brandt Snedeker, as noted by Paul Kuharsky of ESPN:
Rory McIlroy, who took over Woods' spot as the prohibitive favorite to some, thinks a ton of people in the field can win. But he's not above throwing some shade fellow European Ian Woosnam's way, as noted by Stephanie Wei:
McIlroy asked how many players in Masters field can win. Given a list, he starts going down it..."Cink, yes. Clark, yes. Ian Woosnam, no."— Stephanie Wei (@StephanieWei) April 8, 2014
Green Bay Packers cornerback Davon House is throwing his money behind McIlroy (maybe):
Samesies for Gary Player, who told Gold.com the Northern Irishman is "ready" to get over his past demons:
At 34 years old, it's safe to say a ton of the golf fandom has given up on Sergio Garcia ever winning a major. Which, of course, is funny if you'd take a second and think about the trajectory of Phil Mickelson's career. But Garcia is playing well and up to being the sixth-ranked golfer in the world again. His recent play was enough for countryman and European Tour player Pablo Larrazabal to pick the semi-upset last week:
Something tells me former Pistons guard Kim English and Harris English aren't actually brothers. Just a guess:
All of these selections seem a little down the middle for your taste? Here's a name you haven't heard too often coming into this week, courtesy of Bill Cooney of PGA Tour Digital:
The Pick is in: Patrick Reed. Sleeper: Russell Henley. #Masters— Bill Cooney (@BillCooney4653) April 8, 2014
Of course, I'm sure we all recognize the inherent silliness of this all. There are 97 golfers in the field. There are maybe 25 or so of them that actually have a legitimate shot from a logical standpoint, but recent history tells us logic isn't exactly the best way to pick a winner. The separation from the best and also-rans is arguably thinner than it's ever been in this sport.
I still wouldn't be able to pick Trevor Immelman out of a police lineup, but he still has a more recent green jacket than Woods'. Charl Schwartzel's only PGA Tour victory came at Augusta. We've gone relatively high profile each of the last two years with Adam Scott and Bubba Watson, but that's kind of the point.
We have no idea. And now that Woods is out, we really have no idea. This will be fun. Or a disaster. Either way, it'll be a golf tournament (I hope).