Who Will Win the 82nd Masters? 16 Players Have a Real Chance PDF Print E-mail

 

By Jason Bruno                                                                                                                          Posted 4/2/18 - 10:55 pm est.

Predicting any professional golf tournament can be futile, and major

championships can be downright impossible to prognosticate. The

Masters offers the rare exception because of the golf course and smaller

field.

 

When we analyze the field of the 82nd Masters, there are likely less than

two dozen players with a realistic chance of wearing green when Sunday

evening rolls around. Out of the field of 87, we narrowed the likely 2018

Masters Champion to a select sweet 16. Negating 71 players in the field

can be tricky, but with past champions, amateurs and first timers - the

true contenders are just a fraction of the entire field. First, let's go through

the process of elimination.

 

 

 

Past Champions that still play but are no longer true contenders to

win whether it be because of age, length, inactivity or just being off form:

 

  • 1 - Jose Maria Olazabal
  • 2 - Bernhard Langer
  • 3 - Mike Weir
  • 4 - Angel Cabrera  (off form)
  • 5 - Sandy Lyle
  • 6 - Ian Woosnam
  • 7 - Fred Couples
  • 8 - Trevor Immelman
  • 9 - Larry Mize
  • 10 - Mark O’Meara
  • 11 - Vijay Singh
  • 12 - Danny Willet  (off form)


 

 

 

Active players who struggle at Augusta National due primarily

to length, or low ball flight :


  • 13 - Matt Kuchar
  • 14 - Brendan Grace
  • 15 - Brian Harman
  • 16 - Webb Simpson
  • 17 - Adam Hadwin
  • 18 - Brian Harman
  • 19 - Russell Henley
  • 20 - Kevin Kisner
  • 21Ryan Moore
  • 22 - Ted Potter, Jr.
  • 23 - Jason Dufner
  • 24 - Chez Reavie
  • 25 - Webb Simpson
  • 26 - Si Woo Kim
  • 27 - Cameron Smith

 

 

 

 

First Time Players to the Masters:

  • 28 - Tony Finau
  • 29 - Wesley Bryan
  • 30 - Austin Cook
  • 31 - Harry Ellis (a)
  • 32 - Dylan Frittelli
  • 33 - Doug Ghim (a)
  • 34 - Patton Kizzire
  • 35 - Satoshin Kodaira
  • 36 - Haotong Li
  • 37 - Yuxin Lin (a)
  • 38 - Yusaku Miyazato
  • 39 - Joaquin Niemann (a)
  • 40 - Matt Parziale (a)
  • 41 - Xander Schauffele
  • 42 - Shubhankar Sharma
  • 43 - Doc Redman



 

 

Past results or lack there of at Augusta:

  • 44 - Jhonattan Vegas
  • 45 - Tyrell Hatton
  • 46 - Yuta Ikeda
  • 47 - Martin Kaymer
  • 48 - Ian Poulter

 

 

 

 

Mid-Long Iron proximity at the Masters is essential, these players

have not been proficient in this category this season:


  • 49 - Ross Fisher
  • 50 - Billy Horschel
  • 51 - Francesco Molinari
  • 52 - Kiradech Aphibarnrat
  • 53 - Brendan Steele
  • 54 - Bernd Wiesberger
  • 55 - Matthew Fitzpatrick
  • 56 - Patrick Cantlay

 

 

 

After eliminating 55 players, that leaves 32. It gets way tougher from

here to narrow it down. After closer inspection of some of the games'

best known players, Augusta National doesn't fit everyone's game:


  • 57 - Pat Perez
  • 58 - Jimmy Walker
  • 59 - Kevin Chappel
  • 60 - Ian Poulter
  • 61 - Bryson DeChambeau
  • 62 - Gary Woodland
  • 63 - Henrik Stenson

 

 

 

 

That leaves 24. Any of these players normally would be considered

legit contenders, but it's time to eliminate eight of these elite based

on combined factors:

 

  • 64 - Rafa Cabrera-Bello (In two appearances at Masters - only has one round under par)
  • 65 - Adam Scott (199th strokes gained putting)
  • 66 - Louis Oosthuizen (182nd strokes gained putting)
  • 67 - Charley Hoffman (124th strokes gained putting)
  • 68 - Sergio Garcia (129th strokes gained putting, equipment switch)
  • 69 - Charl Schwartzel (117th strokes gained putting)
  • 70 - Thomas Pieters (116th strokes gained putting)
  • 71 - Alex Noren (missed cut at only Masters appearance)

 

 

Sergio is certainly worthy of defending, but we don't fancy his chances

to contend this year due to an extremely busy off-season in his personal

life, equipment changes through the bag and lackluster putting so far this

season.

 

 

 

 

16 Players with the best chance to Win the 82nd Masters -

the players we like in order (thoughts):

 

  • 1 - Justin Rose (Best stats at Masters since '12, primed for "GREEN")
  • 2 - Rory McIlroy (Career slam/legend status awaits, putter is key)
  • 3 - Bubba Watson (Red hot, creative shot shaper)
  • 4 - Phil Mickelson (Hot putter could produce fourth jacket)
  • 5 - Justin Thomas (Playing as well as anyone in the world)
  • 6 - Jordan Spieth (Can he re-gain putter form, avoid water on 12th?)
  • 7 - Tiger Woods (Is he completely back? 15th major looks inevitable)
  • 8 - Tommy Fleetwood (Our darkhorse, supreme Euro ball striker)
  • 9 - Rickie Fowler (Hot starts, struggling on weekends)
  • 10 - Hideki Matsuyama (Japan's major?)
  • 11 - Jon Rahm (Will require patience, not his strength)
  • 12 - Patrick Reed (Can Captain America wear green?)
  • 13 - Mark Leishman (Next Aussie champ?)
  • 14 - Jason Day (New irons in the bag, hasn't played much in '18)
  • 15 - Paul Casey (Win at Valspar shows worthiness)
  • 16 - Dustin Johnson (huge talent, but isn't playing his best golf)


 

 

 

 

With so many storylines, this Masters has the makings to be an instant classic .

Woods returning to the game and showing signs that he may still have another

run at greatness, Mickelson coming off of a an impressive WGC win (and playing

better than he has in 5 years). Garcia defending. Bubba Watson with two wins

in 2018 looks ready for another Green Jacket. Can Spieth re-gain his putting

form in time for the back nine on Sunday? Perhaps the biggest story (that's

somewhat under the radar with all of the noise that Tiger's presence is creating),

is Rory McIlroy once again going for the career Grand Slam this week - fresh

off a big win and confidence boost from the phenomenal final round 64 at the

Arnold Palmer Invitational. Despite all of those great stories, Justin Rose is our

pick to get it done. Buckle up and enjoy the best week in sports, it's the Masters . . .