It’s the Masters Season again and just hearing the name of this tournament is bound to send chills down every golf fan’s spine. Being the sole Major Championship that is played on the same beautiful course year after year, it holds a unique place in the game’s history and fans often feel like they know the anatomy of the course by heart. This magnificent tournament has been home to memorable moments that are far too many to list down but undoubtedly the most special ones have to be Tiger Woods’ record breaking first victory in 1997, Jack Nicklaus’s surge on the back nine, Phil Mickelson’s treble and Larry Chip’s incredible chip. The players to watch out for this year include Bubba Watson, who is vying for his third win in four years and Rory Mcilroy who is hoping to complete the much coveted career grand slam. However, this is not to discount the likes of Jordan Spieth and a certain player called Tiger, who are also on the cash. Whoever wins it sure is going to be magical.
Masters Picks (Favorites) and Sleepers (Underdogs)
Jordan Spieth– In the world of golf, there seems to be no better player right now than Jordan Speith. He has been in great form, recording an impressive second place and an emphatic playoff win from his last three events. His achievements have made him rise to number four in the world rankings and it doesn’t seem like he is going to stay there for long either. Rory has found a nemesis in Speith and this new rivalry should be a treat to watch for the fans. Speith has proved his mettle under pressure by finishing the joint second last year and it wouldn’t be far fetched to say that he is the strongest contender in the fight to win the tournament this year.
Dustin Johnson– After returning from his six month long rest from the game, Dustin Johnson is back with a bang. He didn’t perform too well in his first event, but ever since then he has managed to reach the top six of all events minus one, the biggest of which was the WGC Cadillac Championships. He is one of those players who are contending for the ‘best player to never win a major’ title, but what a shame it would be to see him become that. His fans, for one, would love for him to save himself from that title by winning the Masters title instead. After all, no matter how good you are, you need the trophies to prove that.
J.B Holmes: Shooting a 64 to win by just 6 shots in the Houston Open last week, J.B Holmes is the kind of player who takes it to the next level when he turns his game on. Having finished as runner up twice this year, he is definitely someone to keep an eye out for.
Louis Oosthuizen– He is one player who is currently experiencing two extremes in the course. Out of four events on the tour this year, he has finished in the top ten in two but has also missed two cuts. He almost won the Masters in 2012 going neck to neck with Bubba Watson in a playoff, so he knows how to handle pressure at Augusta. While picking him is a risk, he could do extremely good if he plays well.
Jim Furyk– For those who are risk averse and want to bet on a reliable player, Furyk is definitely their man. It has been a long time since he missed a cut, the last one being in 2013 at the Open Championship. This incredible run has seen him move back into the top ten after being number 32 in the world rankings. His good form is validated by three top 15 finishes in five tournaments. During the last three years he finished the Masters at 11th, 25th, and 14th, so there is no risk here as well.
Bubba Watson –Having bagged two victories in the last three years, this is the guy who currently owns the tournament in question. Nothing says domination quite like his style and his wins, which make him pretty hard to ignore. The number three player in the world has moved up the table steadily and everyone expects another incredible week of golf from him. His worst performance this year was finishing 14th which can hardly be called poor, especially since it is accompanied by two top five finishes. His amazing form and preparation make him a formidable force that needs to be knocked down by an inspired performance because he is not going down easily.
Russell Henley (sleeper/underdog) –Russel Henley picked up the form at precisely the opportune moment with a fourth place finish at the Shell Houston Open last week. Henry has literally made every cut this season, but has struggled to be a serious contender. However, his performance in Houston has been just what he was looking for. He finished 31st in last year’s Masters and might be a worthy pick this year, considering his low salary compared to some other players.
Ernie Els (sleeper/underdog) –One might think it absurd to categorize this great force in the world of golf as a sleeper. However, it’s a fair judgment to say that him winning this week would be surprising. He has been picked because of a few reasons. Firstly, although he has never won, Ernie has a phenomenal record at the Masters, he has been runner up twice and finished sixth ten times. Following a slow start to the year on the PGA tour, he has finally found some of his game in his last two events with a 13th place finish in a high quality field at Bay Hill. Els could surprise us all this week.
Three players have not been mentioned in this list. The first is the number one golf player in the world, Rory Mcllroy who is looking to create history this week. These picks are, however, based on the value of a player in terms of salary and Mcllroy’s performance right now just isn’t doing justice to his high salary. Henrik Stenson and Tiger Woods are the two other note able exemptions in this list. Stenson has been left out owing to his withdrawal from the Houston Open last week because of illness and this does not make for the best preparation. As for the maestro Tiger Woods, although he is capable of doing anything, his form isn’t good enough at the moment.
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