Here’s the list I’m working off for my Masters pool. I’ll list them in order, along with an occasional comment.
Tiger Woods: Three pre-Masters wins makes him the automatic favorite. Hard to believe he hasn’t won at Augusta since 2005.
Phil Mickelson: He looks confused and unsure. He hasn’t been the same since his overwhelming win in Phoenix. Does it matter? No way. He could contend at Augusta if he was putting with a shovel. He’s won there three times and would have won last year had it not been for sheer misfortune at the fourth hole.
Lee Westwood: At age 39 he may be running out of time. But he seems awfully comfortable at Augusta. Over the five years he’s been 11th or better on four occasions.
Matt Kuchar: He’s the best American player younger than 40 without a major championship. Kuchar has taken major steps the last year with wins at the Players Championship and the WGC Accenture Match Play Championship. He tied for third at Augusta in 2012. Question: If Kooch wins, how are they ever going to wipe that grin off his face?
Justin Rose: This guy keeps getting closer and closer. He had two top 10s in majors in 2012, incuding a T-8 at Augusta. He’s ready.
Hunter Mahan: He’s been 12th or better in three of the last four Masters. He’s already won two WGC events and lost the 2011 Tour Championship in a playoff, so he’s ready to move up.
Rory McIlroy: Wouldn’t be surprised if he won. Wouldn’t be surprised if he stunk it up.
Brandt Snedeker: A prime contender six weeks ago. How healthy is that ailing hip? He was in position to win in 2008, but wasn’t ready. He’s ready now, if he’s healthy.
Keegan Bradley: His aggressive nature will help, but can he putt the tricky Augusta greens?
Luke Donald:Now that he’s not constantly being asked about being No. 1 in the world, perhaps he can go about the business of winning his first major.
Ian Poulter: He’s never missed the cut in seven tries at Augusta. He was solo seventh in 2012. Doesn’t mind the pressure, but rarely delivers unless the Ryder Cup is at stake. Last year finished inside the top 10 in three majors.
Bubba Watson: Nobody from Baghdad, Fla., wins back-to-back Masters.
Fred Couples He could roll out of bed and shoot a 69 at Augusta. Can he do it for four days?
Ricky Fowler: Hard to believe he’s still just a kid. Not sure he’s ready for Masters pressure just yet.
Graeme McDowell: He figured out a lot of things last year and was in the picture at each major, finishing no worse than 12th. His T-12 at Augusta was his best there.
Charl Schwartzel: The 2011 champion failed to mount much of a defense last year. He’s played well this year, with two top-10s in his first three starts.
Bo Van Pelt
Jose Maria Olazabal