Phil Mickelson told the media on Tuesday that he was perparing for a “birdie-fest” at The Masters this year. He should know, winning the tournament three times and finishing in the top-5 in several others.
The course is soft, yet not it’s intimidating discructive self.
“It seems that some of the planning I have made may go by the wayside,” he said. “As soft as the golf course is, you can fire at a lot of pins.”
His biggest fear is the backlog of 20-year old whippersnappers will become a lot more aggressive at the pin locations, making it a whole lot easier to parlay their underdog status into a huge payday. With little regard for the barriers protecting the greens, those who don’t know better could get a lot riskier.
“Unless something changes,” he said. “It’s going to be a birdie-fest.”
Not that Mickelson has been known to be the most prudent, sensible golfer. Some of his shining moments on the course have been some of the most ill-advised. Like when he hit an impossible approach shot out of the pines on 13 at the 2010 Masters that could still be considered the shot of his career. His 20 years at the Masters has been one giant defacto trial-and-error, needing over 10 tournaments to finally win the thing. That kind of experience, even with the adjusted course conditions, make Mickelson a threat this weekend. In fact, the more tempting course conditions could actually end up a pitfall for some golfers.
“If the green speeds get a little bit quicker and get a little firmer, I think we’ll see some of the young players make some mistakes that will cost them the tournament,” he said. “The experienced players who position the ball properly and vary their risk-reward shot making, I think they will have an easier time staying on the leaderboard.”
Mickelson is almost a lock to finish inside the top-10, with -130 odds, according to Masters Betting Odds at Bovada.lv.
If he were to finish anywhere outside the top-10 it would be a huge upset. 2012 Masters Betting odds list a +250 payday if he ends up between 11th and 22nd. Worse than that and it’s a +280 bounty.
But simply having the experience and awareness to realize this course is different than year’s past is a huge benefit.