The 81st Masters Tournament

A Tradition Unlike Any Other

Welcome to Masters Week! Golf’s first major tees off on Thursday and it shouldn’t disappoint! If you haven’t listened to Matty D and I give our quick Masters Preview on this podcast, here’s the link to do so. 

2018 Masters Tournament

2017 Champion: Sergio Garcia

Augusta National Golf Club: 7,435 yards, Par 72

This entire post could easily be written about Augusta. Longtime readers will remember Matty D’s love letter to the course three years ago. Augusta National Golf Club was built and designed by Bobby Jones in 1933 and the first Masters was held a year later as the “Augusta National Invitational Tournament.” After five years, the Club simplified the tournament’s name to its now legendary name: The Masters. The area of land Jones used to make the course was formerly a nursery and because of that reason, each hole is named after the flower beds that once laid there. For this and the early April weekend it is usually played over, the Masters screams everything about Spring.

The course has gone through some changes in the 83 years since Jones’ first design. In short, the competition committee tried to “Tiger-proof” after Tiger Woods’ 1997 dominant performance. However, dominant wins by Bubba Watson and Jordan Spieth in back-to-back years and the longer distances players can bomb their drivers have not forced further lengthening. The competition committee has kept most of the glorious tradition alive, from Amen Corner (holes 11, 12, and the drive out of 13) to using many of the original pin locations on Sunday.

 

TV Coverage (EDT):

Thursday and Friday: 3:00pm — 7:30pm on ESPN
Saturday: 3:00pm — 7:30pm on CBS
Sunday: 3:00pm to finish on CBS

For those itching for action and/or work normal 9 to 5 and couldn’t get the day, MASTERS.COM is the place for you. Your bosses will understand, they’re probably watching as well. It’s the Masters.

The Field:

The Masters features by far the smallest field of the four majors. This year only 87 golfers qualified–the smallest in over two decades. The field includes all previous champions who decide to play as well as many amateurs from around the globe. Jones himself was an amateur and wanted his tournament to celebrate amateur golf.

Storylines:

First and foremost: Tiger Woods is BACK. You are going to see Tiger coverage left-and-right no matter if he’s on the course or not. Woods has gone through the gambit in the last year from DUI on Memorial Day to playing the role of elder statesman at the President’s Cup in the fall to nearly winning the Valspar last month. Tiger has rocketed all the way to the betting favorite to win his fifth Green Jacket and if he makes the cut, you’ll a LOT of talk surrounding it–including from us. Sergio Garcia will look to defend his title as Justin Rose will be a man on a mission to avenge his playoff loss to Garcia last year. Phil Mickelson won the WGC Mexico Championship, his first win since the 2013 Open Championship, can he pull out another victory at Augusta? Speaking of lefties, how about Bubba Watson and his TWO wins in 2018. Does win dominant play as of late mean he’ll have another runaway win like in 2014? Jordan Spieth is another player who is a favorite to win another Green Jacket. He finished T11 in last year’s Masters before winning the Open Championship later in the summer. Dustin Johnson comes in as another favorite after missing last year’s tournament. His ability to BOMB the ball down the fairway will come in handy. While he can’t smash the ball as far as DJ, Rory McIlroy can crush it and his putting, normally a telling sign of his inconsistencies, has been on point–most noticeably at the Arnold Palmer last month en route to victory. Jason Day is in a similar boat as Rory having won at Torrey Pines back towards the start of the season and he will look to add a second major to his impressive career. Rickie Fowler, Justin Thomas, John Rahm, and Hideki Matsuyama will all look to take their first Green Jackets which would be their first major for each of them aside from Thomas, the 2017 PGA Champ. Plenty of others can and will come out firing and one of the benefits of the smaller field and limited commercial breaks is that we’ll hear plenty about any and all contenders (even if Tiger’s charging).

Picks:

Cut: -2
The Winner and Score:

 

 

As you’ve probably figured out by now, I’m a BIG juju guy. The juju surrounding a title snatched away is too large to go against. Rose finished up 2017 as one the hottest golfers on the planet. He ranks 10th on Tour in Strokes Gained-Total and 13th in Strokes Gained-Putting which is more telling for a course like Augusta. Putting the bow on top: Rose is 24th on Tour in Driving Distance. These abilities helped him stay in contention all week in last year’s tournament and it should this year as well. Rose wins at 11-under.

Who ya got this weekend? Anyone I missed? Let me know in the comments…

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