It's Thursday and The Stack is here and unfortunately there is not a ton to talk about. First off congrats to Geno Auriemma and the Connecticut Lady Huskies who improved to 8-0 in national championship games under Geno with their 93-60 trouncing of the Louisville Cardinals. UCONN used a 19-0 first half run to put the game away. Aueriemma is one special coach. Congrats on the season. The Boston Red Sox consecutive sellout streak of 820 games ended Wednesday night. Fans just don't have a ton of expectations for the team this year and given what has happened the past couple of years are making a statement with their wallets. Red Sox ownership...listen up. Antoine Winfield may soon be a Seattle Seahawk. Should we just put them in the Super Bowl right now? Otherwise that's pretty much it apart from the Masters which tees off today so let's get right to that in "the stack" for today, Thursday, April 11:
Take a ride down Magnolia Lane to Augusta National. The Masters is here. And this year, for the first time in a long time, it begins and ends with Tiger Woods. He is back, at least Tiger version 2.0. He tees off today at 10:45 AM ET. While he's only played five events this year, he's won three of them. And he's won his last two tournaments he's played in (WGC Cadillac Championship and the Arnold Palmer Invitational). His confidence is up, his play is remarkable and the Masters is a tournament he feels very comfortable at. He has four green jackets already. Don't see why he can't win a fifth.
Of course there will be some stiff competition. Rory McIlroy played well last week in San Antonio at the Valero Texas Open and while he didn't win the tournament, his play was certainly better than it has been so far this year. That certainly gives him a little momentum going into the Masters. At the very least, he has a confidence boost.
McIlroy isn't the only player on the course that could make life difficult for Tiger. Brandt Snedeker seems to be playing really well. He won a major last year and has a win on tour this year and four top ten finishes. His game looks really good. Phil Mickelson is a guy who loves the Masters having won a couple of green jackets himself. But is Mickelson fading into the background? If there was ever a course that could take Mickelson to the top, it's the Masters and maybe Torrey Pines in San Diego. Mickelson will play well in this tournament.
Haven't even mentioned Bubba Watson, the defending Masters champion. He had one of the best, most clutch all-time shots at the Masters last year in the playoffs from the pine straw that led him to victory. But this year hasn't been Watson's year thus far. He did have a hole-in-one during a practice round so maybe good things will happen once again this year.
Of course there is a player under the radar that can win the Masters. Charl Schwartzel, remember him? It's not inconceivable that it will happen again. In fact, sixteen of the last seventeen major have been won by a different player. The Masters is a fantastic tournament. Can't wait for it to tee off today. And I'm taking Tiger Woods to win the Masters. He is in such a rhythm right now. I don't know if I'm quite ready to take "Tiger or the field" yet, but Tiger is my pick to win the Masters. It's going to great. Enjoy it everybody.
Coming up Friday: Thursday Masters reaction plus other top stories in sports