It’s officially Masters week. Earlier, I posted a preview of Augusta National with a hole-by-hole walk through. Now, I will highlight some players who I think are the best bets to have good weeks. At the end of the article, I will give my top 3 players, along with our other writer’s predictions, as to who we think will perform better than the rest at this week’s Masters.
- Jason Day: The world’s best golfer has won six of his last thirteen events, including his last two. He has finished in the top 3 at Augusta twice in the last five years. Day is primed to pick up his second major and put on the Green Jacket for the first time.
- Jordan Spieth: Last years champion is coming in off good finishes in previous three starts but he admits that he isn’t quite where he wants to be headed into Augusta. His consistency and exceptional putting gives him an edge over most, especially on the difficult, undulating greens.
- Rory McIlroy: The least talked about storyline headed into this years Masters has to be Rory’s quest for the career major grand slam. The Green Jacket has eluded McIlroy in the past but he is coming in this year a little more under the radar than in previous years.
- Bubba Watson: He is a two time Masters champion and seems to love playing at Augusta. His distance can’t be matched by anyone on tour and if he is able to take advantage of the par 5’s, then Bubba should be towards the top of the leaderboard and contending for his third Green Jacket.
- Zach Johnson: This Masters Champion is coming into Augusta off a top 10 finish at last year’s Masters. He has played well the last few weeks and seems to be controlling his distance and trajectory with his irons and wedges wonderfully. That is critical at Augusta. With his consistent putting, he might be able to catch fire and capture his third major.
- Phil Mickelson: I don’t think there is a course more suitable for Phil Mickelson. This course is long and demands touch and creativity around the green. Also, the course can reward risky shots. That sets up wonderfully for Phil and explains his three Green Jackets already in his closet. He played well there last year and is coming off a decent week in Houston so he could possibly make a run to the top of the leaderboard.
- Brooks Koepka: This 25 year old finished T-33rd in his only start at Augusta but he does have three top 10 finishes in majors. He hits the ball long and straight and he might be due to break through and win his first major.
- Rafael Cabrera-Bello: Besides Day, there might not be anyone hotter coming into the tournament than Cabrera-Bello has been in the last few weeks. He is coming two top 3 finishes the last 2 weeks and has vaulted himself up the world golf rankings. From tee to green he has been excellent so it will be up to the putter and short game to give him a chance to keep his momentum going.
- Marc Leishman: Many believe an Aussie has a good chance of winning this tournament, but I don’t think anyone thinks that it’s going to be Leishman. He usually flies under the radar but he faired well in 2013 Masters. Here is the reason to root for him. He didn’t play in last years Masters because his wife was sick and eventually went into a coma which doctors thought she wouldn’t ever recover. They gave her a 5% chance to live. After about a month, she recovered fully and Marc resumed his playing on professional. He is a great driver of the golf ball and I wouldn’t be surprised to see his name towards the top of the leaderboard on Sunday.
I like Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose and Phil Mickelson. Rory at his best is unstoppable and I think he is out on a mission to prove he still is the best golfer in the world. Justin Rose has won a major before and he consistently plays well at Augusta. Phil loves Augusta and he has playing well as of late. I think we will see some of the magic we are used to seeing from him.
Predictions from the other writers at N2K:
Tyler: Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, and Happy Gilmore (Tyler doesn’t watch golf but apparently he likes Adam Sandler movies about golf)
Lucas: Arnold Palmer, Bob Barker, Steph Curry (must have watched the movie with Tyler but Steph Curry is a good golfer in his own right and would not be a bad pick if he were indeed invited to play)
Sean: Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler
Kevin: Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Adam Scott
TJ: Jordan Spieth, Henrik Stenson, Phil Mickelson