Jim Nantz is correct when stating that the Masters is “A tradition unlike any other”. No other tournament can produce the drama that Augusta’s back nine does one Sunday afternoon every April.
I could say that this year’s tournament has circumstances which make it especially intriguing, but the truth is that Augusta National is what makes them so. Augusta makes the stories, not the other way around.
Tiger is returning to the tournament he loves more than any other, but with the state of his game as of late, it would be surprising to see him seriously contend. Rory on the other hand is looking for the final piece to his career grand-slam. Dustin Johnson and J.B. Holmes are two bombers who have been playing world-class golf, both have won in the past month, both are looking for their first major, and both would be great comeback stories. Bubba is looking to become the first player since Tiger in 2001 & 2002 to win back-to-back titles. It would also be his third win in four years.
There is never a shortage of storylines heading into Augusta, but come Sunday afternoon, it’s likely the only one we will pay any attention to will involve one man, and one jacket. What story will Augusta National Golf Club write this year?
Here are Fantasy Picks to keep on your radar this week.
- Jason Day - Has been continually contending in majors for the past few years. It is only a matter of time until he breaks through for that first major win.
- Dustin Johnson - Since returning from a his hiatus back in early February, has appeared refreshed and extremely confident. One of the games best drivers of the golf ball, Johnson is poised to get that first major win and put behind him the disappointments of 2010 at Pebble Beach and Whistling Straits.
- J.B. Holmes - Has only played in this event once (2008), but his game has been world-class as of late. Don’t be surprised if you see this man making a charge on the back nine Sunday afternoon.
- Bubba Watson - Defending champion has won this event twice in the last three years. His track record has been win, or a high finish. Has been playing well this year which makes him a favourite.
- Patrick Reed - Lost respect from many last year after stating that he felt he was one of the top 3 players in the world. As of late, game has been solid. A win this week would go a long way in helping prove his own point.
- Lee Westwood - Has been playing well this year. One of the best players in the game without a major win.
- Rory McIlroy - His first opportunity for the career grand slam. Has openly admitted that he would not have expected the Masters to be final piece of this puzzle. As proved throughout the summer last year, he responds well when so much is expected of him, and all eyes are on him this week.
- Phil Mickelson - Said to have been spending countless hours on the putting green as of late, and it showed last week at the Shell Houston Open. He loves this course, loves this tournament, and if he continues to perform on the greens, he should contend.
- Jimmy Walker - Took last week off to rest up after winning the Valero Texas Open. A strong finish last year in his Masters debut (T8). Looking to make the Masters his third win of the season.
- Jordan Spieth - I agree with Johnny Miller when he said over the weekend that Jordan is the best player in the game right now. Learned a lot from his runner-up finish at last year’s tournament. Seems to contend every time he steps on any course. Look for him to do the same this week.
- Paul Casey - Is riding the momentum of a good season thus far. Practically willed his way back into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Rankings over the past month and in doing so earned the right to compete this week.
- Henrik Stenson - Statistically a solid putter, and Augusta is about the greens. With that said, has only broken 70 once in nine tournament appearances.
- Fred Couples - This pick should not surprise. While winning may be a long shot, Freddie has consistently found himself on the Masters leaderboard throughout the last five years. He has not finished outside the top-20 during that time period.
Victor Dubuisson - Coming off a solid week at the Shell Houston Open. Has proved that he can compete with the world’s best, posting a runner-up finish at last year’s World Match-Play Championships.
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This article was written by Jonathan Carr (@jonathanwcarr) as part of our weekly #FantasyGolf series where we preview the upcoming PGA Tour event and highlight some of the players we'll be keeping an eye on. As a scratch golfer himself, Jonathan has a keen eye for what it takes to be successful on and off the golf course.