Thursday, April 09, 2009

2009 Masters Picks

Masters Picks 2009

The Masters golf championship begins this morning in Augusta, GA. I was fortunate enough to attend Tuesday's practice round, when it was cool, cloudy, and extremely windy. Fortunately, conditions look great through Sunday. The course should get firmer during the tournament, and that will allow the cream of the field to rise to the top.

Sergio Garcia: #3 in the world, drives the ball well, and has a solid wedge game. His putter and inconsistent maturity hold him back. He probably makes the cut, but I don't see him contending.

Ernie Els: Hard to believe the Big Easy is down to a #16 world ranking. He has lots of experience at Augusta and has contended many times. I just don't get the sense he is making enough 6' putts, and he will see plenty of them this week - does not contend.

Justin Rose: Good recent history in majors, and he has the length for Augusta, but I don't think he drives it straight enough for a course that has been tightened in the last few years. I also noticed some problems with putting speed during his practice session on Tuesday. Top 25.

Padraig Harrington: #5 player in the world and winner of the last two majors is flying under the radar (how is that possible?). He has the length and grit to play Augusta, but I would like his chances more if the weather were not going to be so perfect. Top 20.

Retief Goosen: Won in Tampa a few weeks ago and appears to be coming back. He is reasonably long and putts ultra-fast greens as well as anyone. Has several good finishes at Augusta in the past few years. Top 15.

Paul Casey: #6 player in the world won last week in Houston and earlier in the year on the Euro tour. Also finished runner up in the World Match Play. Augusta suits his game, as he has shown with three top 11 finishes in four tries. I would not be surprised if he wins, but I am picking a top 10.

Stewart Cink: #18 player in the world. Good length, straight hitter, very good putter, good attitude - a game made for majors. He gets bonus points for insightful tweets about Augusta. My dark-horse pick to win, but I will go with a top 10.

Tiger Woods: Four-time champ and best pressure putter in history. In his two stroke play events this year, each part of his game has looked great at times, but is he ready to put it all together for four days this week? I am not sure he is. He can contend playing less than his best, but I don't' think his complete game is quite there yet. Top 8.

Phil Mickelson: #2 player in the world has two green jackets and has played well this year. He had a bad tourney in Houston last week, but I don't think that cools him down. I think he will be ready this weekend and definitely could win. "FIGJAM" gets a top 5.

Geoff Ogilvy: #4 player in the world is coming on strong. Has length, short game, the right demeanor, and loads of confidence. Geoff Ogilvy gets his second major this weekend.

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