The 77th Masters Tournament is upon us! In just a few short days, 96 of the world’s best golfers will compete in the first Major event of 2013. Arguably the most prestigious in all of golf, winning the coveted green jacket is equivalent to a basketball, football or soccer player winning the NBA Championship, Superbowl or Champions League. The only difference is golfer are competing mono e mono at one of the hardest golf courses every developed.
The Masters is the only one of golf’s four Major championships to return each year to the same venue, Augusta National – a course known for separating the men from the boys. The long, narrow fairways and challenging greens makes guessing each year’s winner a toss up. Below are our picks as to who will finish on top.
Rose is due for a Major win after finishing T-8th at Augusta and T-3rd at the PGA Championship last year. In my opinion, he easily has the most natural and fluid swing in all of golf. If Rose can putt well this week, the world number-3 will give the rest of the boys in the field a good run. Going by his starts this year (T-17 WGC Match Play, T-4 at Honda Classic, T-8 at WGC Cadillac, and T-2 at Arnold Palmer Invitational) my money is on Rose to win the Masters this year!
I would have picked Brandt Snedeker to win the Masters this year if only he could stay healthy. Snedeker has been a MONSTER this year with four top-3 finishes this year, including a win at Pebble Beach, in his first five starts before withdrawing from his next event (WGC-Accenture Match Play) with a rib injury. Since then, he has failed to regain his momentum missing his last two cuts at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and Houston Open. Let’s see what shape he enters Augusta in after 3-weeks rest.
Woods is the heavy favorite going into the Masters. A four time winner at Augusta, he has already won three tournaments this year (Farmers Insurance, WGC-Cadillac, Arnold Palmer) and is seeking his 15th Major this weekend. It’s a pretty safe bet that Woods will win (3-to-1 favorite according to Golfodds.com) after watching him dismantle the rest of the field at Palmer’s Invitational three weeks back. I’m positive that Woods will win a Major in 2013 but don’t think it’ll be at Augusta. There’s just too much press riding on him now that he’s the new world number 1 that he’ll crack in the opening round and never catch up, finishing somewhere in the top-15.
After a piss poor start to the year, McIlroy’s decision to squeeze in another event prior to the Masters paid off, finishing with a season best 8-under par 66 in the final round and second place overall at the Valero Texas Open this past weekend. Seems like Rory’s swing is back in check and he’s getting more comfortable with his new equipment. Add to that the stacks of cash lining his pockets from his Nike and Bose endorsements and recently announced Omega deal… the kid can’t lose! I suspect that Rory will carry over the momentum and bet that he’ll be firing on all cylinders at Augusta. However, I think his Major win this year will come late at either the Open Championship and/or PGA Championship once he gets in more competitive rounds and fully trusts his new clubs.
Mickelson is gunning for his fourth green jacket having already won at Augusta in 2004, 2006 and most recently, 2010 where he rattled off an incredible eagle-eagle-birdie in the third round. Though he’s had an up-and-down year winning the Pheonix Open then dropping back to 60th the week after at Pebble Beach and later missing the cut at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Mickelson looked sharp in his last outing at the Shell Houston Open where he stayed in top-10 contention after three rounds before finishing T-16th overall. One of the best scramblers in the game, Mickelson will rely heavily on his incredible short game (check out these videos of him making birdie from the path and hitting a flop shot over Roger Cleveland from 2 1/2 feet away). After a successful practice round earlier this week with former US Secretary of State and new Augusta National member, Condoleezza Rice, and with one of the hottest cheerleaders in all of sports, look for Mickelson to finish somewhere in the top-10.
The golf king of viral videos and 2012 defending champion, Watson is in search of his first win of the season and second Major. He has finished in the top-10 3 times and the top-20 5 five times this year in 6 starts, failing to make the cut only once at the Northern Trust Open. Will be tough for Watson to win again though he’ll always be in contention due to his strengthen and innate ability to drive 340 yards and bend the ball 40 yards left or right at will. Checkout his crazy shot on 18 in the final round at Augusta last year:
Not sure what’s up with Luke Donald. The former world number 1 is on the “meh” list. He’s not playing terrible but also not doing anything extraordinary to make me believe that he’ll win this weekend. Donald is still seeking his first career Major though I don’t think it’ll happen this year, despite finishing T-4th in his last tournament, Tampa Bay Championship. I think he’ll always be a perennial top-10 golfer who’s content being out of the spotlight.
Runner up to Bubba Watson last year at Augusta, the South African, world number 6 is always low on my radar. To be honest, I think he’s a bit overrated and ranked too high, in part due to his win at The Open Championship back in 2010. Since then, he’s performed modestly and has failed to make the top-1o in 4 out of 5 starts this year. I think Oosthuizen has already peaked so I guess I included his name as a person who I don’t think will win. Sorry, dude…
I know nothing about this kid aside from the fact that he’s 14-years-old, from China, looks like he’s 20-something, idolizes Tiger Woods and Tom Wastson, and come Thursday, will officially become the youngest player ever to compete at the Masters. Wouldn’t it be something though if he came out and manhandled all the old dudes on tour? Think of the publicity!
Dude has openly admitted to using Deer Antler Spray! What’s even more crazy is that the PGA is basically brushing Singh’s banned-substance under the table like it never happened or until they make a decision in April 2014 when it’s not even relevant news anymore. Till then, Singh is still competing and giving the silent treatment to those who ask him what the f*ck is going on. I think he’s healthy again (withdrew from Shell Houston Open with a supposed knee injury) and still scheduled to play this week according to the Masters website so when in doubt, always bet on the cheater!
Let me know who you think will win. Should be an exciting week!