I realize that half the field has already teed off, but I woke up late so, without knowing who is doing well to this point, here are some predictions.
My Four Horsemen:
Not a stretch here. I really do not think Tiger has the precision in his game back enough to win this tournament. Sure he won at Bay hill, but he won ugly. Plus he made Sean O’Hair shit his pants on sunday and took Arnie’s tournament right out of his hands. Tiger hasn’t been doing much right off the tee, which is not far from the norm, but he also hasn’t been sticking it as close as usual after those errant tee shots since his return. Augusta is a course that requires great approach shots. I include Tiger, though because he finds a way to win. He is the best putter on tour, the best clutch player, and the scariest player to compete against. His putting may make up for weak approaches at Bobby Jones’ course.
I really just have a feeling about this guy this week. So he probably won’t make the cut. Imada has been playing well this year. He has the complete game to compete at Augusta. It is Ryuji’s first Masters, but he hits fairways, greens, and putts well. Look for him to stick around in this tourney.
Another no brainer. Ogilvy leads the tour statistically in putting this year when he hits the green. He is fifth in putts per round. He is also way about tour average in driving accuracy, distance, and GIR. These are not surprising numbers, but the keys at Augusta are keeping the ball in the fairway, and hitting putts on some of the most slippery greens in the world. Ogilvy has the ability to do this. Also, he has the psychological stability of a man playing golf on loads of painkillers. He is unflappable. It would be cool to see if he folded against Tiger, but I really think his Aussie “no worries” attitude is above nervousness. He also wears argyle puma sweaters. solid.
You always have to favor past champs at this event. Zach is another tough competitor who is hard to rattle. He held off Tiger in a Masters win a couple of years back. So he hits the ball like Michelle Wie at 12 years old, lays up on every par 5, and looks like the guy that makes your sandwich at Subway. This guy can straight up play golf. He is 7th in scoring average this year coming in under 70, hitting 70% of fairways (13th) and 70% of greens (10th). The dude is extremely consistent.
5th Horse (Honorable Mention):
Trying to defend crown. He will compete in this tourney. Not playing great this year, but will put up a fight.
Don’t be surprised if:
Bernhard Langer and Greg Norman put on a clinic. These guys are old as dirt, but both are in good shape. Langer looks like he’s thirty. He also looks like one of the guys trying to take over Nakatomi Plaza in Die Hard, but he’s so consistent. Norman has been playing well of late, and is fresh off his wedding to Chrissy Evert. Maybe she taught him how not to choke in the last round at Augusta.
Sergio doesn’t make the cut:
We all know Sergio is a little bitch, but he also is a bad putter. He strikes the ball great, but has no confidence on the greens. That is not a good thing at Augusta. 177th on tour in putts per round doesn’t translate well here. He is also a mental midget (pc? mental little person), and has tendencies to carry bad shots through rounds.
Phil doesn’t make cut: I don’t root against Phil like I do Sergio, but he is just so damn inconsistent. He wins a tourney then doesn’t make the cut the next week. Ever since the US open last year and his driverless bag debacle Phil has been a mess. His short game has never looked better, but don’t count on his putter in big situations. Phil is 179th in driving accuracy this year barely hitting half the fairways. If Butch and him had a breakthrough he may stick around, but he may be a trainwreck from the start.
Webb Simpson does something: Webb has 2 top 10 finishes this year, and is poised to make a splash here. He is a good putter and basically at the tour average for most of his stats. This kid is going to make a name for himself at some point. Maybe this week is the week.
Best potential storyline:
Even better than Tiger winning or Paddy continuing his slam run would be Greg Norman staring down the demons and Tiger to finally grab a green jacket. Norman seems to be playing carefree golf now, and claims he is, but that is easy to say when you’re not really competing. He got close at the British Open, but this would be a great story. Him and Tiger tied at the start Sunday and the shark matching Tiger shot for shot. Lets hope his yips and block don’t come back to haunt him. Luckily he won’t be playing against Faldo, unfortunately, we have to listen to Faldo.
The Masters is one of the more fun tournaments of the year to watch, and hopefully this one will provide some memorable shots and a good sunday finish.
My final prediction: Ogilvy beats Zach Johnson in a playoff. Tiger finishes third after a strong sunday. Watch now. All three won’t make the cut.