Tag Archives: Keegan Bradley

2013 Masters Picks

The MastersThe 2013 Masters has a ton of intrigue and is ground zero in the battle to settle the question of who the greatest player of all time is.  Add in a wrinkle in the scheduling process and the winning picture becomes  clear.

Like it or not, this year’s tournament is about Tiger Woods and if he can he light the flame under the second stage of his career and rocket himself to the all time top.  TigerTrailing Jack Nicklaus by four in the majors race, Woods’ three wins in six starts this year is scary good and he is primed for a run.  His main competition on the world stage is Rory McIlroy, who’s game is in shambles due to the recent equipment change and some questionable (lack of) good practice habits.  Rory is not a serious contender this year.

PhilThree time champion Phil Mickelson seems to have the next best shot and usually prepares himself to peak at Augusta.  But this year, a scheduling anomaly will hurt Phil, who likes to play the week ahead of a major.  The Shell Houston Open would be an excellent tune up for Augusta, as the PGA Tour attempts to duplicate Augusta like conditions at the Redstone GC, but an additional tour stop has been inserted between Shell and Augusta.  The Valero Texas Open at the J.W. Marriott TPC course is a poor tune-up venue with it’s high winds and tight tee shots.  Phil is playing Shell but skipping Valero.

Next best opportunity comes from the duo of Louis Oosthuizen and Keegan Bradley.  Louis finished 2012 very strong with four top-five finishes in his last seven events.  He’s got the stones to win another major and performed beautifully last year in his runner-up finish to Bubba Watson.  With only two cuts made in four starts this season, I would like to see a little more momentum heading into Augusta.  Bradley hits a long high ball and is well suited for the venue.  He’s won a major, seems to have the desire, and doesn’t get intimated by anyone.  He’s got a chance.

Defending champion, Bubba Watson has been in decent form lately but feels like more of a one-and-done guy on the major circuit.  Can he rekindle the emotional flame?  I doubt it.

On Tiger’s chances, the only thing holding him back is an occasionally balky putter.  He is clearly hitting on all cylinders and likes to skip the week before a major, so the scheduling quirk plays to his advantage.  He is not, and will never be as dominant as he once was because of his age and his propensity to sustain injury.  I’m not convinced his mental foibles are 100% behind him but he seems to be more comfortable being himself again.

So here are your 2013 Masters Picks:

Champion:  Tiger Woods.  Yes he gets it done this year as all the stars are aligned, but Jack Nicklaus’ all time record of 18 majors is safe.  I know, doesn’t take much courage to make this pick 🙂

Runner-Up:  Louis Oosthuizen, for the second straight year.

Third:  Keegan Bradley.  Needs a little more seasoning but could be a threat.

Dark Horse:  Matt Kuchar.  Winner already at WGC Accenture and would be a great feel good story.

Who do you like?

2012 PGA Picks

Picking a winner for the 2012 PGA Championship is a tall task, with several factors from wind, weather, past performance, and difficulty of the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island, creating a delectable stew of confusion, so let’s spoon it out and sift through.  The string of consecutive non-repeat major champions has hit 15 and will continue this week.  The principals:

Defending Open Champion Ernie Els was in poor form at RBC last week and missed the cut by three strokes.  No doubt some mental fatigue set in after the emotionally draining come-from-behind win at Lytham.  Hats off to him for living up to a play commitment if that’s why he was in the field.  His record in past PGAs is a mixed bag and I don’t like him this week.

Tiger Woods is struggling with a balky putter again and inconsistency with the flat stick is now the norm.  The three-time winner on tour this year has been in contention at all three majors but couldn’t close the deal.  Whether ahead, tied, or coming from behind, Tiger’s innate ability to dominate a golf tournament is still there but doesn’t reveal itself as often as it did in the past.  He may win a major again but not this week.

Defending champion Keegan Bradley is paired with Tiger for the first two rounds and after three rounds at Bridgestone is second in the field in GIR and third in putting.  Despite a ho-hum year, he’s got momentum, wants it bad, and will contend.

Jason Duffner’s last three tournaments in the U.S. include a first, second, and fourth.  He’s in excellent position after three rounds at Firestone and is a serious contender.  After last year’s playoff loss to Bradley at the Atlanta Athletic Club, a win at Kiawah would be sweet.

Rory McIlory seems to be in good form and is playing in the U.S. one week before a U.S. based-major.  Pattern seem similar?  Fooled me once already this year with the same ploy at St.Jude – U.S. Open, and I won’t be fooled again.  Rory’s out.

LukeDonaldLeeWestwood is the new two-headed monster for major underachievement.  I’d give Westwood the edge here because of the requirement for solid ball striking at one of the toughest courses in the world, but neither will win and frankly the repeated storyline of both in the majors is growing old.  Not this year for LDLW.

Trendy pick is Davis Love III.  He’s from the area, loves playing on Bermuda greens, and inevitably contends in a lot of tournaments close to home.  At 45th in the 2012 Ryder Cup standings, his chances of playing his way onto his own team have dwindled, but he’d be a great sentimental champion in this locale.

Final projections:

Winner of the Wanamaker Trophy and coupe de grace to an outstanding year:  Jason Duffner.

Runner up:  Keegan Bradley as the tournament has an eerie resemblance to last year with a close call but different result.

Third:  Davis Love makes a huge bid that just falters with the younger guys fighting it out on Sunday.