I’ve been writing for weeks that Rory McIlroy has the best game suitable for The Masters and Augusta National. Now that his game is somewhat back on track after the disaster that was the 2013 season, I believe he is ready to redeem his 2011 meltdown, and show people he’s still the best golfer in the world behind the guy who isn’t here. He has all of the shots required in his bag, he has felt the sting of giving one away here, and most of all, he has experience of two majors on his resume.
With all of the hype already said, the only thing that can defeat the 24 year-old Mcilroy this week lies in the five inches between his ears and his putter. I still hold that if Rory had the tough mental makeup that Tiger Woods has, he would have 5 or 6 majors on his resume at this point in his career, but he doesn’t. If he can get through the opening rounds without giving it away, I think he stands a chance of donning a Green Jacket on Sunday afternoon. Especially if he starts making putts.
At the end of the Accenture Match Play Championship you had to give the Masters to Jason Day, and make it a two-year sweep for the Aussie, but with six weeks out of competition, I had to slide him into second place here. The Masters is too hard to win when you are at the top of your game, but unless he gets the rust scraped off during the practice rounds, he will struggle during the competition. With all that said, I won’t count the young Aussie completely out. He has too much talent, and is a very good ball striker, something that comes in handy at Augusta.
I’m not sure why the 2013 US Open champ isn’t getting much respect this week, but I have news for you. He has the game to earn a Green Jacket this year. According to Rose, his shoulder is not an issue, and his game translates well to Augusta. He can work the ball in both directions, and has a pretty good short game. All of the tools needed to win it all on Sunday. Justin is eight for eight in cuts at Augusta, and with two top 10’s is a legitimate contender.
I agree with the guys at Morning Drive. Phil can get up on any morning, and be a competitor, especially at Augusta. A place and tournament he loves, and with three Green Jackets in his wardrobe already is always a threat to win another one. As usual with Phil, his health can quickly come into play, but if he stays healthy and some putts start to fall, watch-out for that Sunday charge through Amen Corner.
The 2007 Masters Champ isn’t on a lot of radars this week, but need I remind you what he did at Tigers tournament in December, and again at a big hitters golf course on Maui? Zach has all of the shots and won here once before. His laser-guided wedges and his penance for hitting a draw is just what the doctor ordered for Augusta National. Bobby Jones hit a draw, and he helped design this place, so a draw is a much-needed shot. He hasn’t played too well since taking time off, but Augusta can bring anyone out of a slump, or in some cases, start one.
Patrick Reed: Dark Horse
I hate to go against history, but with 24 first-timers in the Masters field this week, you almost have to pick one horse and give him a test-drive. My dark-horse pick for this year’s tournament has to be Patrick Reed. Not only did he win two PGA Tour events in the past eight months, two of them were against world-class fields. He is not intimidated by big names, and because he went to college at Augusta State, has some rounds under his belt at August National. For those reasons, I am going to put him in my picks for a Green Jacket on Sunday.