As of this writing, Tiger Woods is leading the odds at 9:1 to win The Masters. Can the four-time champion and greatest player of our generation take the green jacket? You bet he can. All the big names are competing, everyone is healthy, most are in good form, it should be awesome. Let’s look at Tiger and the rest of the principals to pick a winner.
Tiger. I have loved watching his resurgence and two recent top-5 finishes. His presence at Augusta and good form make for the juiciest pre-tournament hype. He is great for golf and for The Masters. The gleam is back in his eye. You saw it at Honda, Valspar, and Bay Hill. You know the one where he squints, slightly fatigued from his powers of universal concentration. It comes out when he gets in the hunt and he’s so close, but his driving is a bit too suspect and he’s been getting by with those stingers that keep the ball in play. They worked at the earlier venues and are great for the US Open and PLAYERS but you gotta have the big stick at Augusta. Prediction: Top 10.
Phil Mickelson. Awesome February run of top-10 finishes culminating with a win at WGC Mexico. Is this really happening at 47 years old? He’s playing this week in Houston but disregard any results because he’s just staying sharp. Phil always plays Houston before The Masters as a ritual. I’ll play the odds here and say Phil is on the wrong side of 46 to win another major, but he contends. Prediction: Top 10.
Last year’s champion, Sergio Garcia. As soon as I see a guy going to the claw grip, I think “putting problems – no chance at The Masters.” Sergio put that to rest in 2017 and brings all the other claw guys like Phil and Justin Rose into play. I’ve never liked Garcia in this tournament because of his issues on the greens and my gut is telling me there’s a market correction coming. Prediction: No repeat but a top-20 finish.
Dustin Johnson. We were denied a look at the world’s #1 last year because of a butt-busting slide down the stairs in his rental home. He’s here, he’s healthy, but he’s in mediocre form. I was surprised how poorly he played in the Dell Match Play and don’t know why. I’m assuming he can right the ship and get motivated, although you can never read his desire level. Prediction: 3rd place.
Rory McIlroy. Awesome display of power and finesse at Bay Hill. Has he really found it or is it another Rory streak. When he’s on, his birdie binges are incredible to watch. This week, he cools off a bit and plays on the fringes of contention. Prediction: Top 20.
Jordan Spieth. Been in particularly bad form lately but has caught fire through two rounds at Houston. Spieth can grab a minor tweak and leverage that better and faster than anyone. Greatest mind in the game among the young players. When his putter is on, always a threat to win. Prediction: Top 10.
Justin Thomas. Cocky, powerful, streaky, pouty at times. The Masters requires an even keel more than any other tournament. When Phil learned to play with steadiness, he started winning green jackets. Thomas still needs some seasoning. Prediction: Makes the cut but not much else.
Paul Casey. What’s he doing in this list? He’s got a couple recent top-10s in The Masters, plays a nice right-to-left ball flight, is plenty long, has his putting woes straightened out, and has his mind settled. Love the combo and this horse for this course. Prediction: 2nd place.
Justin Rose. Last year’s runner up. He’s hungry, is in top form, contends every week, is ready and will not be denied. He is your 2018 Masters champion.
Who do you like?