There is a clear favourite for the 2017 Masters. Few golfers have ever arrived at Augusta National with the form of Dustin Johnson.
We’re excited to know that the 2017 Masters Tournament is just days away from starting. Soon we’ll be rolling out of bed in the early hours of each morning to the welcoming sight of a lush, green, azalea filled screen of Augusta National.
The ceremonial tee shots won’t be the same without Arnold Palmer this year but Gary Player has already given Jack Nicklaus some stick about out-driving him last year, so it’ll be a memorable occasion per usual.
And when the field plays their first shots for the week, who can we expect to be in with a shot on
Sunday afternoon Monday morning? Probably one of these five guys. If not, it could be one of our four outside picks that follows.
Dustin Johnson – It’s clear who the favourite is going into The Masters this year with world number one Dustin Johnson in a rich vein of form. Johnson finished ranked seventh best putter at the Masters in 2016 and couldn’t sink a putt in the final round to finish fourth. With three wins in his last three starts and two top-10s in his last two Masters’, it’s hard to imagine DJ won’t win or come very close this week.
Update: Johnson has injured his back in a fall down some stairs at his Masters rental home. A late tee time on Thursday should help his recovery between now and then.
Jordan Spieth – A shot at redemption at Augusta NAtional couldn’t have come quicker for the world number six and 2015 champion. Spieth was cruising to consecutive green jackets until that now infamous collapse at the 12th hole in the final round last year. Spieth is T2, 1 and T2 in his three starts at The Masters. Despite some patchy form of late, discount him at your peril.
Rory McIlroy – World number 2 McIlroy is still fighting for consistency and it’s tough to figure out what McIlroy will turn up from round to round. It hasn’t affected his results with six top-10s in his last six stroke play events with some stellar rounds making up for one bad one each week. Take last year’s Masters for instance, round of 70-71-77-71 saw him finish in a tie for 10th and his third successive top-10 at The Masters. If he shoots four decent rounds he can win. If.
Hideki Matsuyama – Despite some incredible form through the end of 2016 and the start of 2017, Matsuyama has had a few poor finishes and been pushed back down the order of Masters favourites. A 5th and tie-7th finishes in his last two years at The Masters will bring the 25-year-old’s confidence back quickly at Augusta. We’re liking Matsuyama’s chances a lot and in our opinion, should probably be ranked second favourite.
Jason Day – It wasn’t clear if Day would even be playing this week in light of his mother’s cancer battle and recent surgery. However Day has spent the weekend practising at Augusta and you wouldn’t expect him to be there if he didn’t think he could win it. While we’re confident Day will one day don the green jacket, we’re not so sure the world number 3 can turn his form around on limited preparation this week.
A FEW OUTSIDE PICKS
If you’ve stuck around for a few outsiders who could win this week… well let’s keep going then…
Justin Rose – We always thought Rose would win his first major at The Masters. It turns out he won at the US Open and has yet to don the green jacket. We still think he’s a huge chance and some good recent form combined with three top-10s, and never finishing worse than 25th in his last six starts at The Masters has us liking Rose again this week.
Soren Kjeldsen – We’ve been on this guy ever since he went close to winning the Masters in 2017. Three back nine bogeys shifted him five shots back of Willett into a tie for seventh. Another top-10 finish at the US Open shows Kjeldsen has the mettle to compete in the tough tournaments. Keep an eye out for the 41-year-old this week. A perfect top-25 pick at the very least.
Marc Leishman – While Leishman’s form at Augusta National hasn’t been great since he nearly won it in 2013 (two missed cuts), it’s clear the 33-year-old from Warrnambool is in some great form after his victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational three weeks ago. Leishman just needs a decent opening round to recall how he tamed Augusta last time.
Tyrell Hatton – For a bloke in the sort of form Hatton is in, it’s hard to believe he isn’t at shorter odds. Six top-10s in his last eight stroke play events gives this short Englishman a huge boost arriving at Augusta. But he hasn’t played here before. Hence the higher odds I suppose.