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Brickyard Crossing Pro Offers Masters Preview, Prediction

One glides quietly on the lush green grass of Augusta National Golf Club. The other roars on the asphalt of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Still, the similarities between The Masters and the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil are many and almost uncanny.

The Masters is the biggest event in golf, while the “500” is the world’s most prestigious auto race. Both events are American icons and annual rites of spring. Winners are guaranteed immortality through rich traditions of triumph, with The Masters’ champion receiving a green jacket in Butler Cabin and the Indianapolis 500 winner drinking a bottle of milk in the winner’s circle.

Golf and auto racing also intersect through the Brickyard Crossing Golf Course at IMS, one of the most unique courses in the world. The Pete Dye-designed, 18-hole championship course includes four holes inside the famous IMS oval, where the Indianapolis 500 and Brickyard 400 are contested.

So who better to ask for Masters’ predictions and any similarities between Augusta National and Brickyard Crossing than Jeff Williams, PGA director of golf at Brickyard Crossing? Jeff is at Augusta for a few days this week, but he took a bit of time to preview what to expect this Thursday through Sunday on the manicured fairways and greens amid the blossoming azaleas of northern Georgia.

Q: What kind of player will have the edge this week and weekend at Augusta?

Jeff Williams: The long hitters will have the advantage due to the heavy rains last week and Monday of this week, Masters week. The ball won’t roll that much on the fairways.

Q: Who do you see as the major contenders?

JW: Dustin Johnson and Justin Rose.

Q: If Dustin Johnson plays but is hampered by his back injury, do you have any revision to your prediction?

JW: Beware of the wounded golfer. Actually DJ may be just as dangerous after his fall. He is in peak condition, so don't count him out. He will also now have the fans more on his side, pushing him along, appreciating his playing.

Q: How hard is it to play elite golf with an injured back? People sometimes don’t understand torque elite players develop during their swing.

JW: If, in fact, DJ did injure his back, it is devastating. Posture and flexibility are required to play at the highest level – just ask Tiger Woods. Tiger has torqued his knee and back to the point he cannot complete a tournament, let alone compete.

Q: What kind of mental boost does it give the field if a favorite must withdraw or doesn’t make the cut due to injury? Is tournament wide open now because other guys have more confidence?

JW: Several players, such as Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy or Jordan Spieth, will now have a new confidence knowing DJ’s injury may catch up to him on Friday or Saturday. This definitely makes for a deeper story line. But overall DJ wants The Masters very badly. I feel he will play and play well.

Q: Any dark horses for victory?

JW: It’s strange to say two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson is a dark horse, but he has not contended recently. But he always seems to rise to the challenge of Augusta. Sergio Garcia is another dark horse. He’s long overdue to fulfill his enormous promise as a player.

Q: Is there a hole or a stretch of holes at Augusta National that’s crucial for victory?

JW: Holes 12-13-14-15 will decide the winner Sunday. No. 12 and No. 13 are part of the famous Amen Corner. You need to play all of those holes well to win. Jordan Spieth lost the tournament on No. 12 last year on Sunday with his quadruple-bogey.

Q: Is there any hole at Augusta National that reminds you of Brickyard Crossing?

JW: I have to answer that in reverse! No. 7 at Brickyard Crossing (par-3, 181 yards) is the hole and green that most resembles Augusta. The raised false front and severity of the green, as it’s a very deep green. Then No. 18 at Brickyard Crossing (par-4, 491 yards) resembles Augusta, as well. Severe slopes, huge mounds with low areas to feed the ball into. But overall, Augusta is one of a kind. No golf course has the budget and mystique of Augusta National.

Q: What gets you pumped up about The Masters?

JW: The No. 1 thing Masters week does for us at Brickyard Crossing is to get people thinking about golf in Central Indiana. Let’s go golfing!

Brickyard Crossing is open for the season. Call 317-492-6417 or visit brickyardcrossing.com to book tee times.

This will be an exciting season for the award-winning course. Professional golf returns to Brickyard Crossing on Sept. 4-10 during the LPGA Indy Women in Tech Championship presented by Guggenheim tournament, with the best female players in the world taking on the challenging, Pete Dye-designed layout.

Visit IMS.com to buy tickets for the Indy Women in Tech Championship presented by Guggenheim, to volunteer to work at the tournament or for more information on the tournament and Brickyard Crossing.

Brickyard Crossing also is on social media:
Facebook: Brickyard Crossing Golf Course
Twitter: @BrickyardGC
Instagram: BrickyardGC

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