2013 Masters Preview: The Top 10 Contenders.

MastersIf you’ve read the blog in the past, you know we’ll preview golf’s four majors. It’s that time again. The Master’s is this weekend. I was in Augusta this Saturday weekend, there were already people already  lining Washington Rd. with “need tickets” signs… 5 days before the tournament starts. Have you ever seen that at any other sporting event?

Ok the real question is who’s going to win? I’ll give you the 10 players with the best chance.

By the way are there any Louisville golfers in the field? If there are I’m moving them to the top of this list. Anything Louisville is related to is turning gold the last several months… Ok here’s the list…

1. Tiger Woods

With 3 wins in 5 2013 starts, the 4 time winner is playing his best most consistent golf in years. Is Woods the overwhelming favorite? No, those days are over, and they will never come back. That said since receiving a putting tip from Steve Stricker several weeks ago, Tiger has been rolling them in from all over the place. Putting is the key at Augusta, and Woods has found something. I’d be very surprised if doesn’t finish in the top 10.

All Sports Discussion Odds of Winning: 5 to 1

2. Phil Mickelson

What is this 2005? Tiger and Phil are your top two contenders in this year’s Masters? Outside of Rory Mcilory, name another player out there that can simply elevate his game to a level the rest of the field simply can’t besides Tiger and Phil. Mickelson still has the game to win at Augusta. He has 4 top 25 finishes including a win at Phoenix Open this. The 3-Time Masters winner know how to get it done at Augusta.

All Sports Discussion Odds of Winning: 10 to 1

3. Rory Mcilory

When I do a majors preview I’m always going to give an edge to players that have won majors. Rory Mcilory has not had a banner year to date, quietly he’s put together 2 top 10 finishes in his last 3 PGA tour events including a solo 2nd at this week’s Valero Texas Open. Mcilory already has  2 majors to his credit and he’s finding his game just in time for the Masters. He has all the tools. He can certainly win this event.

All Sports Discussion Odds of Winning: 12 to 1

4. Matt Kuchar

Matt Kuchar is going to win a major. It’s not a matter of if, but when. The world’s third ranked player has been one of the most consistent American players on the tour over the last 2 years. He won earlier in the season at the Accenture Match Play. He proved last season he has the game to contend at Augusta with T3 finish. While not exceptionally long, he’s a solid putter with a good short game. If Zach Johnson can win a Masters with a similar game, Matt Kuchar certainly can as well.

All Sports Discussion odds of Winning: 15 to 1

5. Bubba Watson

Only 3 players have ever won back to back Masters, Jack Nicklaus, Nick Faldo, and Tiger Woods. That’s quite a Hall of Fame list. Bubba Watson’s chances aren’t great, but you have to consider the defending champion because Augusta is a bombers course, and doesn’t put a premium on accuracy. That’s right up Watson’s alley. Lefties have won 5 of the last 10 majors as well. He only has 1 finish outside the top 20 this year.

All Sports Discussion Odds of Winning: 20 to 1

6. Dustin Johnson

Johnson is one the longest players on tour. He’s the right handed version of Bubba Watson. He can hit it a mile, and it doesn’t matter where it goes because he’s still closer to the hole than you. Johnson ranks 179th in driving accuracy, but as we know accuracy is not critical at Augusta. It’s surprising his results haven’t been better at the Masters.  He doesn’t have finish in the top 30 in the 3 starts. That can’t continue can it?

All Sports Discussion odds of Winning: 30 to 1

7. Brandt Snedeker

Brandt Snedeker started the year on absolute fire. 4 top 3 finishes in his first five starts. That included a win at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. He’s cooled off since then, but still he’s a golfer in the Matt Kuchar mold or is Matt Kuchar in the Brandt Snedeker mold? Anyways I am referring to players just entering their early to mid 30s in what should be the prime of their golf careers. Great shorts games, but not monstrously long, with solid all around games. These aren’t guys who will likely win 4 or more majors, but are completely capable of winning 1 or 2 and having borderline Hall of Fame careers. Snedeker nearly won the Masters in 2008 with a T3. Like I said about Kuchar he will eventually win a major.

All Sports Discussion odds of Winning: 25 to 1

8. Steve Stricker

Why is Steve Stricker a possible contender at Augusta? Because he can putt. He putts so well, that Tiger Woods asks him for putting advice. Enter 4 events this season and finish in the top 5 in the 3 of them. At age 46 Stricker just keeps chugging along as one of the world’s best players. Hey Jack Nicklaus won his 6th Masters at age 46. Remember Kenny Perry’s run a few years back in his late 40s? Stricker is playing well enough to do the same.

All Sports Discussion odds of Winning: 40 to 1

9.  Lee Westwood

Oh Lee Westwood are you ever going to win a major? 14 Top 10 finishes in Majors – 0 Majors. Westwood’s career is looking more and more like Colin Montgomerie’s. A distinguished golfing resume and easily one of the best players in the world for an extended period of time but no majors. In 2012 he finished T3, and in 2010 he was 2nd. We know he play the course, but is his short game good enough to win a Masters or any other major?

All Sports Discussion odds of Winning: 45 to 1

10. Ernie Els

Ah 10th spot, my customary darkhorse pick. Augusta is a place where veterans can contend at. Jack Nicklaus had a top 10 finish at age 58 in 1998. Fred Couples routinely still makes the leaderboard. Ernie Els is only 43, and there’s no reason he can’t make a run. After missing the Master’s last year, Els won last year’s British Open to ensure a spot in this year’s field. Els also cemented his place as one of the best players of the Tiger Woods era.  He has 6 top 10 Master’s finishes, but none since 2004. The British Open win though gives Else plenty of momentum and that’s a big for a player that sometimes lacks some self-confidence.

All Sports Discussion odds of Winning: 50 to 1


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