Not to overstate it, but this is the most anticipated tournament in the history of golf! Tiger is back! Phil is a winner again! Rory is hot! Justin Thomas is on fire! Jordan Spieth has re-discovered his stroke! Dustin Johnson is ready for redemption! Sergio is looking to repeat!
The story lines are endless and will start playing out this morning. Be sure to download the Masters app and you can start watching at 10:30 a.m. EDT.
In homage to David Letterman’s top 10 lists back when the show was funny…here are the 10 guys who can win the 2018 Masters. What the hell happened to Letterman by the way? He looks clinically insane on that Netflix mess he calls a talk show.
Number 10, Jordan Spieth- It’s amazing to think people are overlooking this stone-cold killer on the golf course. Does the world not remember him draining putts down the stretch at the British Open last year? He’s a gamer and if he gets in the hunt he usually closes.
Number 9, Dustin Johnson- I don’t think he’ll win but with the sheer amount of talent he possesses, DJ has to be on the list. Last year he had won three straight tournaments coming into Augusta and was an odds-on favorite. Then, reminiscent of Bill Clinton at Greg Norman’s house in 1997, he slipped down some stairs and injured his back forcing him to withdraw. His game is not sharp currently but if he gets hot he could win going away.
Number 8, Bubba Watson- He’s won two Masters so he can definitely handle the pressure of the back 9 at Augusta. Playing well and coming off a win at the World Match play, Bubba is in prime position to pull off another victory. CBS will have shot tracer technology on certain holes, be sure to check out the curve on Bubba’s tee shots. It’s one of the coolest things in sports.
Number 7, Justin Thomas- I’ve seen him up close- 5’7” tops and can’t weigh more than 140lbs. Still hits the ball as long as anyone. JT is a testament that anyone can play this game. He is coming in hot and can definitely handle the pressure as he proved by taking charge of the 2017 PGA Championship coming down the stretch last year. Would not be a surprise if he slipped on the green jacket Sunday evening.
Number 6, Phil Mickelson- Lefty, as he’s known to his friends and Hefty to his enemies, has a chance to win his 4th green jacket at the age of 47. His game is sharp after winning a World Golf Championship event in Mexico. You know he’ll be confident and will relish the pressure on Sunday. Not a lot of guys can say that.
Number 5, Justin Rose- He has to be chomping at the bit for redemption after losing to Sergio in a playoff last year. He had a one stroke lead standing on the 17th tee. You don’t get many chances to win a Masters so that may haunt him. He is such a steady player though that he looks to be unfazed coming into the tournament. Many people “in the know” are picking him to win.
Number 4, Jason Day- he has had some success at Augusta with a strong runner-up finish in 2011, but it’s always something with Jason Day…injuries, vertigo, personal problems etc. Lots of drama which doesn’t foretell winning a major like the Masters. He has shown to be very clutch in big moments though, evidenced by his closing eagle at the 2016 PGA Championship. Keep an eye on him come Sunday.
Number 3, Jon Rahm- he has been called a “hothead” and a “psychotic”…all by me, but the man can play some golf. Rahmbo is a huge hitter with solid short game. He will win a few majors; could his first come on Sunday?
Number 2, Rickie Fowler- This would be an incredibly popular victory for the PGA Tour. Rickie is beloved by both fans and his fellow pros. He hasn’t been sharp recently so not much is expected from him. Last year he had a chance on Sunday, entering the day only 1 back of leaders Rose and Garcia. He shot 76 and was never in contention. A win for Rickie would get a big monkey off his back.
And the number 1 player who can win the Masters, Rory McIlroy- This is the last major Rory needs to complete the career Grand Slam, something only Nicklaus, Tiger, Gary Player, Ben Hogan and Gene Sarazen have accomplished. It’s also the major that best suits his game in that Augusta can be overpowered by the big hitters. He has never played his best here and there’s a chance if he gets to the back nine with a lead on Sunday, the ghosts of 2011 (when he blew a 4-stroke final round lead) could rear their ugly heads. I don’t think it’s going to happen though. The win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational last month will give him much needed confidence and he is my pick to win.
Players who didn’t make the top 10:
Tiger- I don’t think he’s ready. The driver has been erratic and he’s only a year away from having the chip yips. Too many unknowns.
Sergio- I get the feeling he’s just happy to have won a major. He can die in peace. He’s newly married with baby daughter. Life is good.
Dan Redmond can be found on twitter @danfromdc