Earl Ball Speaks:   It seems you can’t overstate the importance of the “Tournament of Champions” when it comes to deciding the final spots in the “Masters” for the men OR the women.  Last season several spots were decided at the TOC and will be this season also.

Henry Strong is back in Canada so the 9th spot is critical and will be fought for by two players that always seem to be in the battle.  Ken Offenther won a point, not easy to do in a 59 team field, at the Lakeland tournament to tie Ray Buck at 33 points and the final “Masters” spot.  I’m certain they both want to play the “Masters” and will be in Clearwater on Monday.  I expect Ken to play non-walking and Ray to play walking but who knows.  Certainly a playoff could be in their future.  I think I remember Dave Kudro saying any playoff would take place at the site of the “Masters” on the preceding Sunday like it did last season.  Click to see the standings:

The women are much more complicated.  Nancy Sclafani holds the 8th spot with 32 points.  Alice Enos and Joyce Marquis have 31 points and I’m sure Alice wants to play the “Masters” and she has great support behind her from all quarters.  You only have to know Alice a little to love her.  I don’t think Joyce would play the “Masters” but I’m not sure of that; we’ll see if she shows up at the TOC.  Ruth Brown has 30 points and probably wouldn’t play the “Masters” but would like to win a gold medal so she’ll try very hard to win.  Joan Cook and Sharon Upson have 29 points and both would play the “Masters” and I’m sure will be at the TOC and will play all out.  How would you like to have a 1000 point, Green Jacket, Master on your tail and out to get you?  Remember, Joan had no intention of being in Florida this winter and therefore got here very late in December and picked up partners where she could.  You can never count her out!  Click to see the Standings:

This will be exciting—see you there!  Earl Ball.

Posted by Stan McCormack, 2017 03 23.

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