I was asked on a radio interview last night to pick my Masters winner for 2012. It’s really not an easy question to answer. The easy way out would be to plug for Rory McIlroy or Tiger Woods and if you’ve read or heard any media coverage of the event, you might be fooled into believing that they are the only two who stand a chance, writes Compleat Golfer Editor Brendan Barratt.
The truth is that there are 95 players in the field and save the few old farts (former champions) who haven’t got the message that it’s time to retire and a few players who are hopelessly out of form, any one of the players could win it. Seriously, I mean that. All it takes is one hot week (think Louis at the 2010 Open) and they could be wearing the Green Jacket come Sunday.
The rain has softened greens up, meaning that there’s less of a premium placed on precision iron shots. Ordinarily, finding the green at Augusta is one thing, but the experienced few know that you need to be in the right spot on the green have any chance. This week, we might even see some backspin – heaven forbid. Even more than years before, Augusta looks set to become a bomber’s paradise, with players being able to have more control with their approach shots out of what little rough there is. Look out for the long hitters this week.
Anyway, let me put my head on the block a little bit here:
I don’t think Tiger will win the Masters, but he will be up there come Sunday. I also don’t believe Charl will do very well this year. He’s no longer a surprise package and, as defending champion, he will have had a lot of distractions to deal with this week. I trust his management team would have helped to shield him from some of that.
I’d love to see Rory win – to make up for last year – but by the same token I’d be celebrating in my living room if Lee Westwood finally got his Major. Or Luke Donald, for that matter, but I don’t think this is Luke’s best shot at a Major.
Favourites: Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods
Form players: Hunter Mahan, Justin Rose, Keegan Bradley
Sentimental favourites: Lee Westwood, Luke Donald, Sergio Garcia, Adam Scott
Perennial contenders: Phil Mickelson, Angel Cabrera
Outsiders: Bubba Watson, Brandt Snedeker, Jason Day, Webb Simpson
Rank outsiders: Trevor Immelman, Ross Fisher, Robert Karlsson
Not going to win it: Tim Clark, Darren Clarke
My top three picks: Rory, Phil and Bubba.