On the eve of the 79th Master’s tournaments, I would like to list some golfers that I believe have a shot at winning, and the others that will likely bow-out of the tournament.
Jordan Spieth: He is currently ranked 2nd in the World Golf Ranking. The 21 year old shows a lot of potential and has been given a fair amount of hype. Last weekend at the Houston Open, Jordan Spieth was in the playoff against with J.B. Holmes and Jason Wagner. He was the first eliminated out of the playoff and finished 2nd in the tournament. Spieth also finished 2nd at the Masters last year with Jonas Blixt. He comes into the tournament with a hot streak and seems to be a lot of experts pick to win his first Masters tournament.
Bubba Watson: The two-time Masters champion comes back looking for his third jacket. He is looking to win the tournament for the first time consecutively since Tiger Woods did this back in 2001 to 2002. He currently ranks 5th in the world golf rankings. The WGC-Cadillac, played on March 5, was the last tournament that Watson played in where he finished 3rd. Bubba will be looking to make back-to-back celebration trips to Waffle House.
Matt Kuchar: In 2012, Kuchar finished 3rd at the Masters where he was tied for led on the back nine, but he bogeyed the par three 16th and finished two strokes out of the playoff between Bubba Watson and Louis Oosthuizen. He currently ranks 16th in the World Golf Rankings. Previously, Kuchar has won 7 PGA titles. In the three previous tournaments leading up to the Masters, Kuchar has finished in the top 10 all three times. Matt “the “Kuccchhhhhh” Kuchar looks poised to make a run at his first ever green jacket.
Rory McIlroy: The 25 year-old has become the new face of Nike Golf replacing the former golden boy, Tiger Woods. In 2011, McIlroy carried a lead down the back nine during the final round when he triple bogeyed on 10 and proceeded to bogey on the next hole. He followed that up with a double bogey. This is all of course when he was 21; however, the point remains the same that he has to play the par 5s better and now has extra pressure being the face of Nike Golf.
Phil Mickelson: World Golf Ranking ranks the famous lefty by trade currently at 120. Mickelson has won the green jacket a total of three times with his most recent victory being in 2010. In 2010, Mickelson was playing inspired golf as his wife was battling breast cancer at the time. While the Masters brings out the best in Mickelson, it will be hard for him to contend with Jordan Speith, Matt Kuchar, and Bubba Watson as all have still yet to play their best round of golf.
Tiger Woods: Tiger used to be able to go to tournaments and by having his name on the leader board automatically made him a contender; however, Tiger has failed to finish a tournament that he has started in a long time. I think he will be lucky to make cut with his short game being a huge hurdle that Tiger has to climb to be contender again.
Rickie Fowler: The “not your grandfather’s kind of golfer” always dresses to impress and draw attention for the younger audience members. He was been great of ushering the younger crowd to begin watching and enjoying the game of golf. Last year at the Masters, Folwer tied for 5th, which was an improvement as his best finish before that came in 2012 when he tied for 27th. Rickie comes into the Masters on not-so-hot streak. Last weekend at Houston Open Rickie finished 71st overall, and the Arnold Palmer Invitational where he finished 41st. The Masters course can be unforgiving, which is hard on a young player who still has room to improve his game before he takes the next step toward achieving his first ever green jacket.
You can catch the “tradition unlike any other” on ESPN starting tomorrow at 2 p.m. There is also a live stream on www.masters.com. The final 2 rounds starting on Saturday will be televised on CBS.