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The Masters Page Created 5/19/08 Modified 04/11/16





Special Announcement - Friday 04/11/2014 - Save The Date! - 3:30 till ??



It's time to once again set up a Pros Table for The Raptor's Annual Masters Symposium.  This Erie tradition has been going on for almost 20 years.  Started as a small gathering at The Rathskeller Café in 1996, the event has been held with pride the past 10 years at the legendary Skeeter's Pub.

This year, The Symposium will be staged at the Bullfrogs Bar which is part of Andy's Pub up at 38th and Liberty. The Raptor met with Gary up at Bullfrogs last week and he will have our group stationed in an atrium area just to the left of the main bar with a handsome view of Little Caesar's Pizza - across Liberty Street. This is a cash bar but that shouldn't present too much of a bother to most folks The Raptor knows...

There is much to consider as the golf community prepares for the first major toonament of the 2014 season. There are a number of stories in play here. Tiger Woods has a bad back, Jason Day, winner of the recent WGC Match Play, has a sore thumb, Justin Rose, thought to be whole again after some poor post U S Open play is iffy, and Phil Mickelson has been a non factor in most of his appearances so far this season. Hunter Mahan withdrew from the Arnold Palmer while Rory McIlroy has shown some promise and there are a handful of young pros who are hungary to earn a win in the first major of 2014. The Symposium is a great way to kick off the season and The Raptor would be happy to see a large crowd.






The Raptor is here to announce The Masters Symposium - 2012.  This years event - to be held at Skeeter's Clubhouse & Grille on 7th and French is a perfect opportunity to get together with old friends and make new ones as we watch the always exciting Master Tooniment unfold.  The date is Friday April starts about 4:00PM...early birds welcome!

Is Augusta National And The Masters Really A Major  - Originally Posted 04/02/2012 

Come Thursday, the golf community will be buzzing about The Masters.  Through careful Marketing and a willing public the tournament is also considered a major.  First conducted in 1934 in the midst of a Great Depression, the tournament was the brainchild of several Augusta National Members along with influential members of the media such as Grantland Rice.

At that time Major League Baseball was America's Past Time and sports writers were in the habit of heading north from spring training during March to prepare for the arrival of the teams to their home base towns.  These writers were encouraged to stop in Augusta Georgia to perhaps drop a line or two into their daily newspapers regarding this informal invitational golf event. It did not hurt to note that the star of the tournament was the legendary Bobby Jones. Jones had retired from Championship Golf after his golf season of 1930 which included victories in four important tournaments. The United States and British Opens and the United States and British Amateurs.

The PGA Golf Tournament had been inaugurated in 1916 conducted yearly since the 1919 and may not have been considered a "major" at the time that The Masters was inaugurated.  The Masters always was and always will be an 'invitational" and it is The Raptor's profound opinion that for this reason, it can't be considered a major.

Consider the plight of Ernie Els.  Els is a top professional golfer from South Africa and he has had a slump as of late and is not qualified to earn an invitation to The Masters.  Els tried valiantly to qualify by improving his World Ranking into the top 50 palyers.  Not being successful on that criteria, he was forced to win this past weekends Texas Open.  Unsuccessful in this attempt. Mr. Els will be watching the event on TV.

With the US and British Amateur loosing credibility as a major after the World War II years, the popularity of professional golfers like Sam Snead, Bryron Nelson, Ben Hogan, Jimmy Demaret and Arnold Palmer thrust The Masters into the spotlight and created a groundswell of opinion which culminated in the naming of The Masters and The PGA as major tournaments.

Each year a large number of past champions play in The Masters.  For 99% of the past champs the possibility of winning the event is nil.  This year the list includes: Couples, Crenshaw, Langer, Lyle, Mize, O'Meara, Olazabal, Singh, Stadler, Watson, Weir and Woosnam.

With a limited field and almost 15 players who cant't win the remaining playing, 75 players does not represent a complete and desirous's no wonder that Tiger Woods is considered the favorite.

Pretty flowers, haunting music and cold mint juleps do not make a major...the players make the tournament and it's time to dump the Masters as a major and put The Players Championship in it's The Raptor is becoming increasingly concerned that some gomer like Charl Schwartzel is going to win again...


Hey...It's Toonament Time Again!  - Originally Posted 02/12/2012 

A quick peek at the Golf World Rankings can tell a lot about the upcoming Masters...

Rank Player Chances Rank Player Chances
 Luke Donald,  Eng 
60.00% 26
 Simon Dyson,  Eng 
 Rory McIlroy,  Nir 
75.00% 27
 Alvaro Quiros,  Esp 
 Lee Westwood,  Eng 
60.00% 28
 Thomas Bjorn,  Dnk 
 Martin Kaymer,  Deu 
40.00% 29
 Louis Oosthuizen,  Zaf 
 Steve Stricker,  USA 
25.00% 30
 David Toms,  USA 
 Webb Simpson,  USA 
15.00% 31
 Kim Kyung-Tae,  Kor 
 Jason Day,  Aus 
40.00% 32
 Bo Van Pelt,  USA 
 Adam Scott,  Aus 
25.00% 33
 Robert Karlsson,  Swe 
 Charl Schwartzel,  Zaf 
40.00% 34
 Peter Hanson,  Swe 
 Dustin Johnson,  USA 
65.00% 35
 Jason Dufner,  USA 
 Graeme McDowell,  Nir 
45.00% 36
 Anders Hansen,  Dnk 
 Matt Kuchar,  USA 
25.00% 37
 Rickie Fowler,  USA 
 Nick Watney,  USA 
25.00% 38
 Martin Laird,  Sco 
 K.J. Choi,  Kor 
25.00% 39
 Fredrik Jacobson,  Swe 
 Brandt Snedeker,  USA 
15.00% 40
 Bae Sang-moon,  Kor 
 Sergio Garcia,  Esp 
10.00% 41
 Mark Wilson,  USA 
 Phil Mickelson,  USA 
65.00% 42
 John Senden,  Aus 
 Tiger Woods,  USA 
75.00% 43
 Francesco Molinari,  Ita 
 Bubba Watson,  USA 
40.00% 44
 Geoff Ogilvy,  Aus 
 Justin Rose,  Eng 
40.00% 45
 Zach Johnson,  USA 
 Hunter Mahan,  USA 
25.00% 46
 Ben Crane,  USA 
 Ian Poulter,  Eng 
25.00% 47
 Paul Lawrie,  Sco 
 Bill Haas,  USA 
15.00% 48
 Retief Goosen,  Zaf 
 Paul Casey,  Eng 
15.00% 49
 Gonzalo Fdez-Castano,  Esp 
 Keegan Bradley,  USA 
25.00% 50
 Miguel A Jimenez,  Esp 



From The Raptor's perspective, it appears that Rory McIlroy has a good chance of redemption after last years meltdown....also included in the mix will be past champions, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods and Zack Johnson as well as top players such as Luke Donald and Lee Westwood.  Westwood has just finished second in the Dubai Tournament as The Raptor writes this.  He is striking the ball better than ever but his short game is suspect...perhaps it's time for him to adopt a alternative putter such as the belly or broomstick...ask Adam Scott. Lee...this years darkhorse has to be Dustin Johnson.  This is a player who knows how to win and he knows how to loose too.  Johnson is coming off some knee surgery but he is in top physical condition and lets face it he can bomb it...only time will tell.

The Raptor can safely state that golf at the professional level is really compelling at this point...Tiger Woods is surging, Phil Mickelson is coming along, players like Westwood and McIlroy are playing awesome golf as of late and there are a crop of young players such as Webb Simpson, Jason Day, Keegan Bradley and last weeks winner, Kyle Stanley that can bring it. Golf equipment continues to amaze and there is a real buzz for this years events.  This should be good!


He Can't Get No Respect  - Originally Posted 04/12/2011 

Well...another Master Golf Toonament has come and gone and golf enthusiasts are left with a nagging series of questions based on the results...the event was hotly contested and most felt it was one of the all time exciting finishes.  If the statement, "the toonament begins on the back nine on Sunday" is any indication of what hapens year in and out at Augusta National...consider this...Rory McIlroy had dominated the leader board for three and 1/2 rounds and still clung to a share of the lead at the 10th tee...even though all hell was breaking loose around him...

Pictured Here Is Rory McIlroy Of Northern Ireland...His Compelling Meltdown During Sunday's Masters Toonament Was A Devastating Death Watch


Unfortunately his errant tee shot on the 10th, which ended up...where no man has gone before...except perhaps President Eisenhower...sealed his fate...McIlroy stumbled to a 43 on the back nine and will need to work out the demons which are presently eating at his brain.

1 Charl Schwartzel South Africa -14 F -6 69 71 68 66 274
T2 Jason Day Australia -12 F -4 72 64 72 68 276
T2 Adam Scott Australia -12 F -5 72 70 67 67 276
T4 Tiger Woods United States -10 F -5 71 66 74 67 278
T4 Geoff Ogilvy Australia -10 F -5 69 69 73 67 278
T4 Luke Donald Great Britain -10 F -3 72 68 69 69 278
7 Angel Cabrera Argentina -9 F -1 71 70 67 71 279
T8 Bo Van Pelt United States -8 F -2 73 69 68 70 280
T8 K J Choi Korea -8 F E 67 70 71 72 280
10 Ryan Palmer United States -6 F -2 71 72 69 70 282


If there was ever anyone who was destined to win a golf toonament it had to be Charl Schwartzzel...

Pictured here is 2011 Masters Toonament Winner, Charl Schwartzel, Receiving The Green Jacket From Last Years Winner, Phil Mickelson...

Schwartzel is all of 26 years old and he hails from South Africa . He is the product of a comprehensive training program which has been developed under the guidance of major toonament winner Ernie Els.  It should be noted that last years British Open winner, Louis Oosthhaizen is also a product of the same program.  Some examples of the final round excitement at this years Masters can be seen in this table...

Name Comment
Charl Schwartzel Chip In For Birdie On Hole 1, Fly In For Eagle On Hole 3, 4 Birdies Hole 16 To 18
Jason Day Shot 32 On Back Nine , Birdied 17th And 18th Hole In Final Round
Adam Scott Used A Untraditional Long Putter And Rolled In Many Important Putts - All The Chicks Dig Him
Tiger Woods Five Birdies And One Eagle In Final Round, Missed Short Putts On 4 Holes In Final Round
Geoff Ogilvy Five Straight Birdies On Holes 12 Through 16 - Shot 31 On Final Round
Luke Donald Two Bogeys And A Double Bogey In Final Round - Chipped In For Birdie On Final Hole
Angel Cabrera Had Poor Putting Final Round - Could Have Been A Contender
Bo Van Pelt Had Two Eagles And Two Bogeys On Back Nine 
K J Choi Had Three Bogeys On Back Nine…Shot 38 In Final Round
Ryan Palmer Shot 38 On Front Nine In Final Round With A Double Bogey Start…Shot 32 On Back Nine

It was interesting to hear Supra Dopes like Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wibon talking yesterday about Schwartzel...neither of them had ever heard of him...The Raptor had though...he was a factor during the past few seasons in many major events especially The British Open

Who could blame Rory for folding under the pressure...while he was playing the first hole, Schwartzel was holing out his eagle on 3...then while Rory was stumbling on hole 3, Woods electrified the patrons with a incredible eagle of his own on hole number did he do it? After a well struck drive Tiger mashed a metal fairway club 275 yards up the hill and placed the ball 5 feet below the flagstick...ho hum...

Tiger...It was Good To Have U Back Man!...

It was like that all about Bo Van Pelt scoring eagles on both par 5's on the back nine...or Adam Scott striking precise approach shots all day long and using a gulp...long putter to advance up the leader still looked great Adam...the ladies were humming!

Unfortunately, the final story at the end of the day was not a celebration of sorts for Mr. Schwartzel but a complaint against Mr. see Tiger has no respect for "the game" and when CBS dispatched Jim Macatee to ask Tiger some post round questions, naturally Tiger came off as a petulant punk and subsequently Tiger is now considered the villain rather than the hero...

The Raptor was aware of Tiger's attitude...I saw the interview....I cringed...for cryin' out loud Tiger...why can't you just play the game with in "the game" for 15 seconds and say some thing artful like:

Macatee: " that you shot 67 today...even though you shot 74 yesterday, do you think you are back?"...

Tiger: "Hi that was an exciting round...I really thought I had something going after I made that eagle on 8...unfortunately, I lost a lot of momentum scrambling for par on 9 and had difficulty with my putter on the inward 9.  I want to thank the patrons for their support and I think I will go sign a few autographs for the kids...thanks"

But...that's not what happened....Tiger probably felt like crap...I know I would have but because he wasn't able to craft a talking points statement for the enthusiasts of "the game" he is looked upon as having no respect for "the game"'s too bad Tiger couldn't have grabbed the microphone Macatee stuffed in his face and told the world to kiss it...that would have made it all worthwhile...hang in there Tiger...see you at Congressional...


Let's Get Together - Originally Posted 03/09/11 

The Raptor is almost...but not quite embarrassed to announce The Masters Symposium - 2011.  This years event - to be held at Skeeter' Clubhouse on 7th and French is a perfect opportunity to get together with old friends and make new ones as we watch the always exciting Master Tooniment unfold.  Now...why is The Raptor embarrassed?

You see, the golf community in Erie, PA has morphed into a bunch of haves and have not's.   So if The Raptor sends out an invite to get together, it is pretty much scoffed at (with a sniff and a cough) by about 50% of the individuals on the distribution list. Oh well...but The Raptor still hopes to see you at Skeeter's on Friday April 8th, 2011 at 4:00PM...


Only Five Months To Go - Originally Posted 11/17/10 

Golf season is pretty much over for 2010 and it certainly was an interesting one...but, it's only five months till the hype starts all over...The Raptor is hoping Rickie Fowler takes the 2011 top prize along with the coveted green jacket...we shall once again look forward to seeing everyone in April, 2011 at our favorite golf place...Skeeter's Clubhouse...

Originally Posted 04/16/2010 

Well...almost a week has gone by since the 2010 Tooniment has ended and it was a grand spectacle in every way.  The leaderboard contained a who's who of golf's finest competitors and it's time to sit back and access the winners and loosers.

Winner #1 - Phil Mickelson

Mickleson played an absolutely awesome tooniment.  He hovered around the leader board on Thursday and Friday and made a serious CHHAARRGGEE! on Saturday...check this out...three, count em'...three 67's on his card...that is impressive!...and who can forget some of his shenanigans on Saturday and Sunday.  Mickelson was coasting along during his third round until he reached the back nine where he defied the odds and produced a eagle - eagle - birdie montage on holes 13, 14 and 15 to vault up the leaderboard and gain a spot in the all important final pairing on Sunday.

On Sunday, paired with eventual runner up, Lee Westwood, Mickelson lurched through holes 9, 10 and 11 with some serious short game magic and electrified the fans (The Raptor refuses to use the word patron here) with a birdie - birdie barrage at holes 12 and 13 to seal the deal.  The birdie on 13 could have been worse though.  Consider that Mickelson had blocked his tee ball into the pine trees and was faced with a tantalizing visual from about 200 yards to the flagstick.

The hole was located seriously close to Rae's Creek which protects the putting surface.  Phil ball was sitting on some loose pine straw and he had to negotiate some pine trees which stood in his way...the result...

Congratulations to Phil Mickelson...Masters Champion...2010

Final Position Player Country TODAY TOTAL R1 R2 R3 R4 TOTAL
1 Phil Mickelson USA -5 -16 67 71 67 67 272
2 Lee Westwood England -1 -13 67 69 68 71 275
3 Anthony Kim USA -7 -12 68 70 73 65 276
T4 K.J. Choi Korea -3 -11 67 71 70 69 277
T4 Tiger Woods USA -3 -11 68 70 70 69 277
6 Fred Couples USA -2 -9 66 75 68 70 279
7 Nick Watney USA -7 -8 68 76 71 65 280
T8 Y.E. Yang Korea -2 -7 67 72 72 70 281
T8 Hunter Mahan USA -1 -7 71 71 68 71 281
T10 Ricky Barnes USA 1 -5 68 70 72 73 283
T10 Ian Poulter England 1 -5 68 68 74 73 283
T12 Miguel Angel Jimenez Spain -6 -3 72 75 72 66 285
T12 Jerry Kelly USA E -3 72 74 67 72 285
T14 Ryan Moore USA -4 -2 72 73 73 68 286
T14 David Toms USA -1 -2 69 75 71 71 286
T14 Trevor Immelman South Africa E -2 69 73 72 72 286
T14 Steve Marino USA 1 -2 71 73 69 73 286
T18 Ernie Els South Africa -4 -1 71 73 75 68 287
T18 Scott Verplank USA -4 -1 73 73 73 68 287
T18 Adam Scott Australia -1 -1 69 75 72 71 287
T18 Angel Cabrera Argentina -1 -1 73 74 69 71 287
T18 Heath Slocum USA E -1 72 73 70 72 287
T18 Tom Watson USA 1 -1 67 74 73 73 287
T24 Ben Crane USA -4 E 71 75 74 68 288
T24 Matt Kuchar USA -1 E 70 73 74 71 288



There is no need to perform some deep analysis of these numbers but The Raptor finds some compelling facts here.  First, while the field of 96 players was international in every sense...the top performers were by and large from the United States.  This probably means absolutely nothing except that for the most part, K J Choi, the closest foriegn born competitor needed to shoot a 63 on Sunday and could only muster a ho-hum 69...

What? are you kidding me!...the course was a monster! has been stretched out to about 7,500 yards in length, the green speeds are about 14 or 14 on the meter and the environment is always changing - especially the wind which can be difficult to pin down.

Winner #2 - Take Anthony Kim for example...a recent winner on tour, he played respectably till Sunday and put together a putting exhibition on Sunday which resulted in a final round 65.  On the other hand, Nick Watney (a Raptor Fav) also played hard Sunday and bolstered his confidence by also shooting a 65...that is some excellent golf!

And what about Tiger?...he sucked, right?...Well, lets not be too hasty here.  Tiger finished respectably enough tying for 4th with the previously mentioned Choi.  But, Sunday, lets face it...he just didn't have an A game.  After serious preparation at the range, he went to the first tee and hit an amateurish duck hook into the 9th fairway...he stumbled along through 6 holes and was fading into oblivion till a typical Tiger event occurred.  All he did was loft an iron shot onto the 7th green which banked hard right and settled into the cup for an eagle 2. Woods also scored another eagle 3 on the 13th hole which steadied his round again.  By the time it was over he had fought his way to a valiant 69.  The Raptor was impressed for sure...but here is where it gets a little hazy...

Once Tiger finished with his round he was forced to go through a painful interview with CBS travelling dork, Peter Kostis.  Naturally, Kostis being the kind of journalist he wants to be...asked Tiger the all important question regarding his anger on the golf course.  The theory was that Tiger was going to satisfy "golf dicks" like Tom Watson, John Hawkins and Jim Nance and smile a lot more and make sure to wave to the fans, even though he is playing poorly.  Tiger has every right to handle himself anyway he wants to when it comes to his golf.  Unfortunately, dicks like Hawkins and Nance can't play golf anymore so they harangue Woods because he has developed into such a creep.  However, that will all change soon...Woods has entered into the Quail Hollow Tournament...redemption can't be too far removed.

Biggest looser - from The Raptor's perspective it has to be Augusta National.  The course has undergone a lot of revamping to Tiger Proof it and all everyone does is thank Masters Chairman...Billy Payne for setting to pins in easy spots so the crowd can roar.  How tough is that?  So, the eventual winner was 16 under par!  Does that mean that next year, Payne will have to toughen up the course even more to piss off everybody? Let's face it...with the type of equipment the players use coupled with their training, fitness and practice routine,  next year, someone who has a hot putter might get to 20 under par...that will probably initiate a new round of course changes...what's next? more water?


Originally Posted 03/18/2010 

It's become a rite of spring for The Raptor.  For the past 15 years, The Raptor has gathered with the Erie Golf Community to spend a Friday afternoon catching a glimpse of the Augusta National Golf Club, home of the annual Masters Toooonament.  

This year the faithful will again gather to enjoy the golf and a good time on Friday April 9th, 2010 at Skeeter's Clubhouse starting at around 4:00 PM - Skeeter's is Erie's Cathedral of Golf and it is conveniently located at 7th and French Street near the Tullio Center.

The Raptor absolutely guarantees that Tiger Woods will be playing in this years event!.So plan on attending...



Masters Facts

Augusta National Golf Club, located in the American city of Augusta, Georgia, is one of the most storied and exclusive golf clubs in the world. Founded by Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts and designed by Alister MacKenzie on the site of a former indigo plantation, the club opened for play in January 1933. Since 1934 it has played host to the annual Masters Tournament, one of the four major championships in professional golf. It is currently ranked the number one course in Golf Digest's list of America's 100 greatest courses.

Augusta National is regarded as one of the most revered golf courses on the PGA Tour. Since the Masters is held at the same venue every year, patrons have the unique opportunity to become familiar with the course, something the other three rotating majors do not afford. The club itself invites a select few members to join each year, but it is not possible to request a membership directly.

The course is well known for its botanic beauty, being lined with stunning azaleas and hundred year old trees. As the Masters is held on the first weekend following the first full week in April, the trees and shrubs bordering the course are always in full bloom during the tournament. Each hole on the course is named after the tree or shrub with which it has become associated

Hole # Name Par Yards
1 Tea Olive 4 455
2 Pink Dogwood 5 575
3 Flowering Peach 4 350
4 Flowering Crab Apple 3 240
5 Magnolia 4 455
6 Juniper 3 180
7 Pampas 4 450
8 Yellow Jasmine 5 570
9 Carolina Cherry 4 460
Hole # Name Par Yards
10 Camellia 4 495
11 White Dogwood 4 505
12 Golden Bell 3 155
13 Azalea 5 510
14 Chinese Fir 4 440
15 Firethorn 5 530
16 Redbud 3 170
17 Nandina 4 440
18 Holly 4 465








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