- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 6, 2006

If the Rover were so inclined (read: unmarried or the family bread winner), he would be tempted to dial up the British bookmakers at William Hill and have a tipple, as they say, on Tiger Woods to win this week at 13-3 (that’s 4.33-1). Every other bookmaker on the planet has Woods listed between 3-1 and 7-2; does Mr. Hill know something the rest of us don’t? Offering Woods at better than 4-1 at a major is the surest route we know to bankruptcy. …

Watching Augusta National general chairman Hootie Johnson handle questions from the fourth estate is another of the Rover’s favorite Masters traditions. Johnson handles the media with a majestic dismissive confidence few men have equaled; think King Henry VIII entertaining divorce attorneys. Simply hearing him short circuit Christine Brennan in his elegant drawl each year is worth the trip to Augusta. …

With the world focused on the poor health of Earl Woods, little has been made of the fact that two-time champion Byron Nelson (1937 and 1942) is not at Augusta for Masters week for the first time since 1935. The 94-year-old legend and longtime host of the Champions Dinner did not feel well enough to make the trip from his home in Roanoke, Texas.

“It certainly wasn’t the same without Byron,” said two-time champion Ben Crenshaw (1984 and 1995), who took over Nelson’s duties as MC.

Barker Davis

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