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Golf Barometer: The Body is Willing, but the Head is Weak

David Ferris

David Ferris

Ferris covers the PGA Tour for RotoWire. He is an award-winning sports writer and a veteran fantasy columnist. He also is a scratch golfer.

Get out the clipboard and the walking scoreboard; let's tally up the Masters, Barometer style:

UPGRADE

Adam Scott:
Maybe he's not too pretty to win majors after all. Scott made up for the sure win he lost at the British last year, and now he has the runway cleared to win a few more through the peak of his career (so long as the pending equipment changes don't halt his putting stroke). And kudos to caddy Stevie Williams, who's now 1-up on Tiger Woods in their post-divorce major count.

Angel Cabrera:
He's still a factor in majors at age 43, a confident driver, a decisive ball striker. Cabrera was also genuine class in defeat, showing joy for his friend and international teammate when Scott's win was complete. We need more guys like The Duck on the big stage.

Fred Couples:
Best fairway gait of all time, and no one is close. The ball striking remains sublime, and will be until the day he retires. Freddie's putter comes and goes, we all know that, and obviously the cranky back problems never really go away. But there's not a better follow during Masters week, especially when a few putts drop. Couples grabbing a T13 check (and contending for two-plus days) goes down as one of the primary highlights of the week.

DOWNGRADE

Masters Officials:
Was there really a need to slap a one-stroke penalty on a 14-year-old amateur? Let's not pretend slow play is a new thing on tour or at Augusta; it's been a problem for decades, even going back to Jack Nicklaus, one of the original turtles. The Tiger Woods penalty decision was likely the right call, but it took far too long to be adjudicated.

Rory McIlroy:
There's obviously a big difference from contending at the Valero Texas Open and contending for a green jacket. McIlroy still looks like a student who hasn't done his homework; his game has been rusty almost the entire season. Reps, young fella ... reps.

Sergio Garcia:
He charged out of the gate with a brilliant 66, then almost talked his way out of contention in the media room. It's no shock anymore - you can see all the reasons Garcia has never won a major tournament. The talent has always been there, but the head has never been right. The 76 on Friday came as a shock to absolutely no one.

Ian Poulter:
He was never close to making the cut, and this no-show bit in the majors is getting a little frustrating. It's wonderful to see Poulter turn into Superman in the Ryder Cup and Accenture Match-Play, but it's still a stroke-play world - and in that arena, Poulter is still, sadly, a little bit of an underachiever.

Phil Mickelson:
The 71-76 start took him out of contention, and he didn't seem engaged during Saturday's 77, either. Lefty's the knuckleballer of the truly elite players - he can throw a three-hit shutout on any given week, then kick it around four days later. It's shocking to see him lose his form at Augusta, but maybe we have to recalibrate him on the eve of his 43rd birthday.

CBS Sports:
The smarmy Jim Nantz show at the Masters has been overdone for years, and Nick Faldo seemed to go too far with his Javerting of Tiger Woods. And how many times did they have to play the Adam Scott Australia angle? It's fine to have a narrative, but no one wants it crammed down his throat. On the plus side, the pictures were pretty and the flow of the coverage was handled well.

HOLDING STEADY

Tiger Woods:
The mess at the 15th hole Friday was surreal to say the least; the bad luck of a flagstick hit, a curious drop, the slowest penalty adjudication ever. But we have to give Woods credit for a T4 on a week where he never had his top gear.

Brandt Snedeker:
It was frustrating to see the final-round 75 when the event was there for him to seize, but sometimes the Masters requires this sort of apprenticeship before you break through. Snedeker remains the best putter in creation, and someone who should win 2-3 green jackets before he's done.

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