The greatest tournament in all of golf starts on Thursday at Augusta National. There are many storylines this week as 98 golfers look to take home the Green Jacket. Tiger Woods returns after taking a leave of absence due to a bad back and a troublesome short game. Rory McIlroy, the number one player in the world, will be looking to win his third major in a row. Bubba Watson, who has won two of the past three Masters, will return as your defending champion. Watson ousted Jordan Spieth and Jonas Blixt by three strokes last year.
My picks for this week:
1) Bubba Watson (2) – Watson returns to The Masters as your defending champion. Watson’s length plays well on the par 5’s at Augusta National and he has now won this event two of the last three years. Watson is also playing very solid golf as of late. Bubba has not finished outside the top-15 in any of his past four starts. In his most recent event, Watson finished solo 3rd at the Cadillac Championship.
2) Jordan Spieth (2) – Spieth might be the hottest golfer in the world right now. In his past five starts, Spieth has four top-5 finishes, including a win at the Valspar Championship. Last week, Spieth lost in a playoff to J.B. Holmes at the Shell Houston Open. In his lone start at Augusta, Spieth finished runner-up to Bubba Watson last year.
1) Geoff Ogilvy (0) – Ogilvy returns to Augusta National for the first time since 2012. In seven career starts, Ogilvy has five top-25’s and one top-10. Ogilvy has not been playing that well of late, but I like his game for this course and I think he could surprise this week.
2) Miguel Angel Jimenez (0) – The most interesting man in golf will be making his 16th career trip to Augusta National. Jimenez has only missed the cut three times and owns four top-10’s, including a solo 4th finish last year. Jimenez has not missed a cut in 2015 and owns one top-10 worldwide finish.
1) Lee Westwood (4) – Westwood missed the cut last week at the Shell Houston Open, but prior to that, he was playing some solid golf. Westwood had five straight top-25 finishes in 2015, including T12 at the Cadillac Championship. Westwood is one of the best golfers to never win a major and Augusta National is probably his best chance. Westwood has five straight top-11 finishes at The Masters. Last year, Westy finished solo 7th.
2) Paul Casey (1) – Casey has top-10’s in three of his past five starts on the Tour. Casey finished solo 9th last week at the Shell Houston Open. Casey has not played Augusta National since 2012, but he does how four top-20 finishes in 8 career starts.
Other Golfers Considered:
Rory McIlroy (Tier A): It was really hard to not take Rory as he has won the past two majors. However, I just liked Spieth and Bubba more this week. Rory’s best finish at The Masters came last year when he shared 8th place.
Brooks Koepka (Tier B): Rookies at Augusta National scare me, but like Jordan Spieth last year, Koepka has the game to contend. However, I can only use Koepka four more times and he withdrew from his last event due to a bad back.
Fred Couples (Tier C): I really wanted to take Freddy as he has top-20 finishes in each of his last five trips to Augusta National. I just don’t think Couples can actually win this thing and my picks of Casey and Westwood offer more upside. However, don’t be surprised if you see the 1992 champion near the top of the leaderboard on Sunday.