Let the predictions rain down like a monsoon! You name it, the odds makers are doing their thing and the “arm chair quarterbacks” are doing theirs! Today is a the craziest day of the Masters for just one thing…..predicting the champion. Of course, I do not want to left out of the fun so I am ready to jump on the roller coaster ride and let everyone know who (or at least who I think) will be all smiles as they don the green jacket!
I have talked about the science of picking a champion before and for that reason, this year’s selection more difficult than in the past. The number of quality players and virtual unknowns makes the 2018 field one of the strongest. Regardless of who we select, the action is going to be intense and emotions running high.
Before running down my 3 possibilities, it is important to lay out the score to beat. After reading the past scores, it is obvious that Augusta National is not the beast of old, however this year I think she has a bit of bite left in her and the champion will finish Sunday with a score of -8 or 280. The forecast calls for a cold wet weekend with 25-30 millimetres of rain on Saturday. The weather will play havoc on the scores and make a charge on the weekend very difficult.
My first prediction is my Dark Horse. This is the player who might have a chance to win, but is not really on anyone’s radar. If he wins, it will be “Danny Willet-esk” where he plays solid golf and works his way up the leaderboard quietly and effectively. My Dark Horse this year is Tiger Woods. This is the first time I have select Woods as a possible winner for any event in 5 years, but his return cannot be ignored. He is my Dark Horse, but in reality, I do not see him competing on Sunday unless more of the Tiger magic shows up. A more realistic finish for Tiger is a top 15.
My sentimental favorite to win this year is Phil Mickelson. Although he did not play his best at the Houston Open, Phil is playing very well this year. He has a win (first on since 2013) and is riding a streak of good play. If Phil keeps the ball in play off the tee, his short game will be the difference on the weekend. Although I realistically see a top 5 finish for Phil, I would not be surprised if he walks away with his 4th green jacket.
Pick any name in the to 15 world rankings and they will have a chance to win. Players like Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler, and Justin Thomas are peaking at the right time. They feel they have the game to win and they do. But, one player has the complete game and confidence after winning the API to win this year’s Masters. If you have not guessed, I am going with Rory McIlroy! I believe that everything is coming together at the right time for Rory to win his first green jacket!
The list of possible 2018 Masters champion is long; making a prediction is difficult. There are so many influences that weighing is daunting. However, selecting a winner is half the fun of Masters week. So, as you look over the field, who do you see winning the green jacket this year?
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!