It’s Masters morning, and old guys have already withdrawn

Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player are in the clubhouse after one shot. (Brant Sanderlin, AJC)

Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player are in the clubhouse after one shot. (Brant Sanderlin, AJC)

Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player are in the clubhouse after one shot. (Brant Sanderlin, AJC)

AUGUSTA — Three old guys were a little short off the tee at 7:40 a.m, then withdrew. Slackers.

The 79th Masters officially opened after ceremonial tee shots by Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player. What a cool gig that is — hit a shot, have a press conference, eat lunch, take the rest of the week off. Every profession needs an equivalent to that for honored retirees. (Honored retired sportswriter: Ask the first question in a news conference, mock the answer, leave, go to dinner.)

Back to today. Tiger Woods tees off at 1:48. I point that out first for: 1) Page views; 2) Just to irritate the loud 2 percent of readers who complain, “Why do you always write about Tiger Woods.”

Spoke to Ben Crenshaw and Jordan Spieth, who practiced with Woods on Wednesday. (Click here to read a column on the retiring Crenshaw and his final Masters.)  Both said Woods is hitting the ball well and suggested he could challenge this week. Woods was entertaining at his news conference this week and is exuding more confidence than ever, by my expectations aren’t as high, given recent results and the fact he’s coming back from a nine-week layoff.

My pick for the tournament: Jordan Spieth (1:15 p.m. tee time). The 21-year-old 2013 PGA Rookie of the Year nearly became the youngest Masters winner a year ago, leading by two strokes on Sunday, before settling for a second-place tie, three shots behind Bubba Watson.

I got Watson (9:24 a.m.) with the fifth pick in our annual Masters’ draft. A value pick. He’s trying to become only the fourth champion to successfully defend a title (Nicklaus, Nick Faldo, Woods).

Rory McIlroy (10:41 a.m.) is the wagering favorite. He has won four majors but never the Masters, and has had his share of meltdowns in Augusta.

As I finish this, Charley Hoffman, Gary Woodland and Vijay Singh are tied for the lead at 1-under. I don’t expect that to last.

Who’s your pick?

Some recent ramblings from the digital jukebox
— MyAJC: On eve of final Masters, Ben Crenshaw embracing every moment
— MyAJC: Woods loose, confident, but is he really ready for Masters
— MyAJC: Braves stop the noise with opening victory
— AJC: Short takes: Small ball, Teheran, bullpen and a Braves’ win
— AJC: LIVE: Braves (or what’s left of them) open series vs. Marlins
— AJC: Braves’ deal saves budget (Upton) but drives nail in season (Kimbrel)
— MyAJC: Trade reaffirms Braves’ decision to go backward before forward
— MyAJC: With expectations low, at least Braves won’t underachieve
— AJC: Hawks’ biggest nightmare: Millsap suffers shoulder injury
— MyAJC: Hawks’ turnaround started with trade of Joe Johnson — and he knows it
— AJC: (Updated) Hank Haney was right — Tiger Woods to play in Masters
— AJC: Braves’ deal for Trevor Cahill illustrates concerns about rotation
— MyAJC: Real news would be Tiger Woods making shots
— AJC: Tiger Woods’ plane in Augusta but status for Masters still uncertain
— AJC: Are Braves really second-worst team in majors (thank you, Philly)?
— AJC: Falcons will pay appropriate penalties for dumb decision
— MyAJC: Paul Millsap: The 6-8 kid who couldn’t dunk now leading Hawks
— AJC: Hawks clinch East, act like it’s no big deal (which is probably good)
— MyAJC: NBA needs to curtail resting of players
— AJC: Will Falcons, others avoid losing draft picks this year?
— MyAJC: Basketball is where Georgia State’s focus should be
— AJC: New reality at Georgia State: What Ron Hunter wants, he gets
— MyAJC: Hawks get drilled, and concerns may be growing
— MyAJC: Georgia better but still not where it needs to be
— AJC: Mark Fox returns subtle fire at Brian Gregory before tournament
— MyAJC: Gregory knows he needs to make most of his extended lifeline
— AJC: Gregory says he gave Izzo ‘everything’ he has on Georgia
— AJC: Timing is everything, as Tech keeps Gregory
— AJC: Tech expected to keep Gregory, but former coach (Hewitt) fired again

 

Reader Comments 0

28 comments
OH IO
OH IO

So, is the AJC putting you up for the duration, Shultzie?


Who is tending to Lilly?

OH IO
OH IO

Patrick Reed T9 @ -2. 



maxman2660
maxman2660

looking at these old farts makes me think,DAMN IT SUCKS GETTING OLD

Wilbo
Wilbo

@maxman2660  Screw you. There is opportunity and fun in aging just like there is in everywhere else. What I hate is the paintywaist fruitcakes who whine cry moan n groan all the time about getting old. You had your chance as a young person, suckah. Grow up and move along.

maxman2660
maxman2660

@Wilbo @maxman2660 hey D.A. don't see anything fun in becoming a decrepit,impotent shell of your former youthful self

Wilbo
Wilbo

@maxman2660


Well, then, Max, don't become a decrepit, impotent shell of your former youthful self. I don't care how old you are or how out of shape you have gotten yourself, there is still plenty that you can do. Some of it on a very intense and competitive level if that's what you feel like you need, but much more on a still intense but much more relaxed and lighthearted approach. You can swim and that's a great way to get started if you're out of shape, inflexible or not real strong. You can run if your knees are good. Mountain biking is a blast, but something you need to pursue carefully and w good coaching until you catch on. You can road bike almost anywhere... Easy stuff like yoga and classes at the Y or another gym can lead to good things. Just get out there and do something. If you're a heterosexual male, there are lots of strong mature females getting out & active. Don't compare yourself to anybody. Do what you can do and be dedicated to it until you can do more. Look for a partner(s). Start slowly if you need to. Stretch a LOT!!! Have fun, buddy. Do it, do it, do it! It's out there for you, you just have to find it and get busy. You don't have to do the same thing or things or have the same stats you had years ago, but you can do something intense and satisfying. The longer you wait, the harder it is to start.... Go!

OH IO
OH IO

How many Pimento Cheese's down so far, Schultzie?

WDE
WDE

@OH IO the over/under is 4 with a hook !

JONBONBON
JONBONBON

What is a black guy doing there??  One of the few events in the world you can go to without any 'bad mammajamma's"

Wilbo
Wilbo

Dear, Shooltzee, you freakin useless 1/2 wit jerk, please let me congratulate you on so aptly continuing this piece of trash paper's long sad history of writing boob articles about totally irrelevant crap when there is an actual meaningful story right under your ugly and cowardly nose.


So here you are using up bandwidth w 3 old men and a used up cretin - I guess you think you write for E Tonight or some such - when 2 members of Atlanta's best hope for a playoff run in quite a long time have been arrested in NY a week and a half before the playoffs begin.


Not even a peep about that, huh, you insipid dolt?


Maybe Mark Bradley will have a comment if he doesn't hear a hot story about a little girls softball team having a bake sale.

Wilbo
Wilbo

How stupid of me! Bradley writing an informative article? Nope. The worst team in baseball won 3 whole games, guess that'll be fodder for about a month...

OH IO
OH IO

@TheCarnivore


I saw Choi at the PGA/Athletic Club. Built like a Sherman Tank,. 

OH IO
OH IO

Patrick Reed

Quackmeyer
Quackmeyer

@OH IO  LOL, good one OH IO!  I could have guessed who picked Patrick Reed without looking at your avatar.  My only surprise is that you didn't pick Bubba Watson also.  Voted by their peers the 2 most disliked players on tour.  With Bubba being #1.  I like your comments when you decide to tone them down a little and don't repeat yourself so often.

Quackmeyer
Quackmeyer

@OH IO @Quackmeyer  Not all guys with swagger p_ss off their playing partners.  He's just young but he has never been voted the 'best guy to hang with' award.  But neither was Jack!  I love this week!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

maxman2660
maxman2660

@Quackmeyer @OH IO MET BUBBA ONCE AND HE IS WITHOUT  A DOUBT A  PHONY PR!CK,EVERYBODY THINKS GOOD OLD BUBBA,YEAH RIGHT

PJ25
PJ25

As soon as Tiger's play goes down hill, it will be because of his back of course. 
It won't be because he's not as good as he used to be. 

OH IO
OH IO

@Andy123


We shall see. I'm rooting for Tiger to be in the hunt come Sunday. 

WDE
WDE

@OH IO @Andy123  I hate to agree with you Buckeye but in this case I do.

Quackmeyer
Quackmeyer

I liked McElroy till he did a 'David Duval' on his body over the winter.  Not a factor, imho, until get gets his golf body back.