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2017 US Open golf

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The 2017 Masters: Cancelled Tiger, Injured Johnson

If you’re watching the 2017 Masters, and we will, you won’t see Tiger Woods, so don’t ask.

Any casual golf fan with two neurons to rub together knows that Tiger is finished, or close to it. He last placed in the top five of a major in 2013, and hasn’t won one since 2008. People were betting on him to win the damn thing when he last won a tournament in 2013. This isn’t a slight, just an observation that an oft-injured player on the wrong side of 40 won’t be returning to form.

Nevertheless, Augusta will lack for his presence, even if not a premier contender anymore. Meanwhile, the death of Arnold Palmer in September created a tremendous loss for professional golf. Augusta National, the site of some of his greatest triumphs, will honor him this week. His shadow will hang heavily over Amen Corner and all legs of the course.

2017 Masters: Top Contenders

As for the guys who do have a shot at winning, Dustin Johnson would top the list but for his bad back. It turns out that he (apparently) fell down the stairs on Wednesday afternoon. Even if he plays today, one wonders how much the injury will affect him. Remember, however, that these people are professionals, and Dustin Johnson can do things with a five-iron and putter at 50 percent that some of us never will at 100 percent.

Rory McIlroy, the world’s number two behind Johnson, is always a threat to win the tournament. The insanely fit Northern Irishman has only made news for a round of golf with Donald Trump in 2017.

Jason Day, number three in the world, is dealing with the illness of his mother as he prepares for the 2017 Masters. Winning this in the face of what he’s dealt with personally would be a sincere credit to him.

And then there’s Jordan Spieth. He won the green jacket in 2015 and probably should have won it again in 2016. The only problem is that he blew a five-stroke lead on the back nine to lose to Danny Willett. Spieth quadruple bogeyed at 12 and that, as they say, was that. Rae’s Creek can be a cruel mistress. Will he slay his demons and make it a second Masters win in three years?

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