​When you think of the Masters, what comes to mind? Is it the bright bloom of Augusta National’s azaleas? Is it Amen’s corner? Or is it the soothing voice of Jim Nance on a lazy Saturday afternoon For me, it’s the latter.

Lots of the questions surround this Masters tournament and one everyone is asking, can Tiger Woods win himself another green jacket and one of golf’s four Major Championships? He is listed as one of the favorites in this year’s event and could surprise some people.

There is no key to picking the Masters’ winner, but there are some things you can look for which can be a good indicator of who will be at the top of the leaderboard on Sunday afternoon.

To look at who’s playing style “fits” Augusta National is one way to get a good idea of who will be successful. The first “fit” is driving off the tee. In order to win the Masters, a golfer must be able to drive the golf ball long and accurately. The long Par-4’s and Par-5’s at Augusta National are a testament to being able to place drives in the fairway.

Secondly, a golfer’s ability to place their approach shots and landing them softly to stay out of trouble with the treacherous greens at Augusta is crucial for success. A player must know what areas to miss and this is something you’ll hear throughout Master’s week – it’s the name of the game when talking about Augusta.

 

The Favorites

Tiger Woods: Can Tiger make one of the biggest comebacks in golf history and win himself another Major Championship? I wish I had the answer, but my guess would be probably not. He just isn’t ready to win a Major Championship because of his long absence and new approach to the game coming back from the fusion in his back, but I could see him possibly winning later in the year.

Rory McIlroy: Rory has conquered every single Major Championship except for one. Could this be the year?

Dustin Johnson: Johnson is a popular pick after his hot start to begin the year when he won in early January at the Sentry Tournament of Champions and a top-2 finish at Pebble Beach in early February. DJ has the driving down for fit, but can he put it all together for four days?

Justin Thomas: JT has shown he can win in big tournaments as he already has a PGA Championship under his belt in his young career. A green jacket is in his future, and I think it may be sooner rather than later.

Jordan Spieth: Spieth’s play fits Augusta – he has had some fantastic days in Augusta. It seems so long ago when he won in 2015 after the collapse in 2016. CAN he put that to rest and prove he has what it takes to win another green jacket?

 

The Dark Horses

Phil Mickelson: Lefty is no stranger to Augusta and would likely love to make a fourth visit to Butler Cabin come Sunday late evening.

Tony Finau: The former “Big Break” contestant has made a pretty nice career for himself. The 34th player in the world could surprise some people this weekend.

 

The “Magic number”: Seven feet

Putting at Augusta National gets rough when players are putting from outside seven feet. Putts seven feet or less will give an upperhand to any competitor.

 

schierka@miamioh.edu

@KSchierlinger

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