In roughly 18 hours, the 2018 Masters will be underway. Mike already has his pizza order in for the weekend (hopefully Ian Woosnam does NOT win for Mikes’ sake), and Corrigan has his beers lined up, so make sure you have your plans in order before you hear that sweet sound of a driver hitting the golf ball on the first tee of Augusta National. It has been our pleasure to provide you with information in regards to the tournament, and the preview wouldn’t be complete without all of us giving our predictions on whom the winner will be. Remember to listen to this weeks podcast and read up on the other articles if you missed them, or just need a reminder before tomorrow morning! Let’s get to it.
Frank Laterza winner: Jordan Spieth
Chalk? Not Chalk? I couldn’t care less. No one prepares harder for Majors than Jordan, and this so happens to be his favorite event of them all. Finishing with a combined # of 16 in his 4 starts here – with a Green Jacket to his name – he knows this course more than most. His putting may worry some, but hear me out. First, he ranks 2nd in tee to green strokes gained in the field over the last 24 rounds. Being able to strike the ball off the tee and set yourself up for a great second shot is crucial, and Jordan may be the most dialed in with his irons of anyone on tour currently. Rain Saturday scares me a little, as it does for anyone who isn’t a bomber off the tee (the ball won’t roll as far? Maybe? Science?), but his iron game is too hot for me to pass on. Secondly, his putting woes seemed to turn around this past weekend, and his experience at Augusta cannot be overlooked. He seems to love putting on these Bent-Grass greens, and for many of his opponents, they STRUGGLE to putt here. I expect his putting to find a bump, and the margin of error compared to the rest of the field that we’ve seen in the past few weeks from the flat stick to dwindle. No need to resize him; you already have his numbers for his second green jacket.
Mike McNamara winner: Rickie Fowler
Pure gut call on this one. It is time. Has come close many times in major championships, and this week the tide finally turns. We all know what he can do with the putter when he is in the zone, and can hit all the shots required at Augusta. The question with Rickie is always his mental makeup on Sunday, and the ability to avoid the blow up hole. Much better player on Sunday when he is the hunter as opposed to the guy with the 54 hole lead. I predict he will enter Sunday three shots off the lead, and fire a final round 66 that rivals what he did at TPC Sawgrass for the greatest round of his career. It will lead to a one shot victory over a loaded field, and Mr. Fowler will finally erase the title of “Best Player to Never Win a Major.” Is this all wishful thinking? Maybe so, but sometimes destiny trumps logic.
John Balas winner: Jordan Spieth
Before his Houston Open performance, I would have been somewhat skeptical picking Jordan. The game on the green is huge at Augusta, and Jordan didn’t seem to have his putting on track in this young season. But after a strong finish to tie for third in Houston where he showed promise with the putter, he just might have figured it out. Course experience and knowledge are the biggest factors at the Masters, and Jordan loves Augusta, so the only thing that would have held me back from picking him was his putting woes. He builds off the mo from last weekend and gets his second green jacket on Sunday.
Mack “The Bear” Rooney Winner: Alex Noren
The last 10 Masters winners have fallen into both of these categories:
-Younger than 40 years old.
-Made the cut the previous year at Augusta National.
This is the year that trend is bucked. Alex Noren is 35 years old, but he missed the cut last year by 2 strokes. He will be as hungry as ever to avenge the 41 he posted on the Back Nine on Friday. Noren flies under the radar for the most part, even though has not been ranked worse than 20th in the world since 2016. I believe this is the week that Noren becomes a household name. He comes into the Masters playing some of the best golf he ever has — with three Top 3 finishes this year. Noren will use his elite ball striking, iron play, and putting to top the field this week (he ranks in the Top 20 on the PGA Tour in strokes gained: tee-to-green, approaching the green, and putting). Many may be surprised to see Noren don the green jacket on Sunday, but I, for one, will not.
Jack Corrigan winner: Jordan Spieth
Anytime this man has any sort of confidence or belief it’s scary for the rest of the field. When Justin Thomas was asked what makes Jordan so good here he replied, “We all love this place but Jordan loves it a little more”. When Jordan Spieth wants something he can almost use the force and make it work like a jedi. I believe Jordan is more than due for Green Jacket #2 and I believe it happens Sunday.
Kevin Walsh winner: Jon Rahm
Rahm’s talent is very obvious, as he’s ranked 3rd in the world for a reason. He has the variety of shots, length, and short game touch to handle Augusta National. While he has only played the course once, I believe last year was a huge learning experience that he will put into use this week. His demeanor can get fiery, but you know he will not shy away from the moment and welcomes the pressure of being in contention. As always with el Rahmbo, we are on the lookout for a bad hole plus spaz out that derails his chances. Very few in the world have the ability to lose their mind and not give a shit about what anyone says like Rahm. Makes for extremely entertaining television, but probably best we stay clear of those if we want to don the green Sunday night. If he can putt well and not spaz out, I believe he will be right there Sunday. Although he wasn’t great in majors a year ago, I think Rahm is going into this major season with a different approach and you will see it on full display this week. Even though he is #3 in the world, he is certainly getting overlooked. That won’t be the case come Sunday. Vamos Rahmbo!
Sean Carney winner: Dustin Johnson
Dustin Johnson breaks through this year at The Masters. I’m not going to put too much stock into his lackadaisical play at the Dell. After falling down some stairs last year, allegedly, he will be excited to get back on the course, where he has two top 10 finishes in as many tries. Johnson, known as one of the longest hitters on tour, has a unique advantage over a lot of the field; he can make mid-iron holes, wedge holes. His length should be able to get him on in two on most, if not all par 5s. His length parlayed with his underrated short game, will have him leaving Magnolia Lane donning the Green Jacket.
As always, much love to our fans. The tradition unlike any other is upon us. Cheers!