06 April 2016

2016 Masters Predictions

The people call it "A Tradition Unlike Any Other" and they're probably right. This weekend will mark the 80th edition of the Masters Tournament, as always the first major of the year, and it should be a fun one as it always is down at Augusta National. After all, last year saw a guy named Jordan Spieth tie the -18 record set by Tiger Woods en route to becoming the second youngest champion of the event.

Can Spieth become the first repeat winner since the aforementioned Woods back in 2002? Will the favorite Jason Day continue his recent hot streak? Or will we see a good ol' fashioned surprise winner? It's time for my preview of the 2016 Masters.

Speaking of Spieth, some folks are a little down on him going into Thursday as he hasn't been playing well of late since dominating at Kapalua. Now that's by his standards because going 21st, cut, 17th, 18th, 9th and 13th is not exactly hack golf. We all know how hard it is to repeat at Augusta but I would be greatly surprised if Spieth is not in the mix on moving day.

Day is playing as well as anybody right now. After all, he comes in having won his last two tournaments at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the WGC-Dell Match Play. Two players have won the Masters after having won their previous two starts and they were only Woods and Jack Nicklaus. After all, it is well documented how tough it is to win in this sport three straight times and I'm not certain that Day has fully exercised the demons of when he blew his chance at a green jacket three years ago.

If you're looking for that inevitable riveting/overblown storyline, you will find Phil Mickelson. Mickelson is 45, nearly the same age that Nicklaus was when he won his final Masters 30 years ago. So there's that and also that Mickelson has been playing very well this season with strong top five finishes at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am and the Cadillac Championship. We all know how hit or miss Lefty can be but he also finished second a year ago.

There is only one player in the top six in the rankings without a victory and that would be Rory McIlroy. He has been playing well, mind you, with top four finishes in two of his last three tournaments and as we all know, he is a green jacket away from completing the career grand slam. But can he avoid the inconsistency that has felled him in Masters past?

And for our San Francisco Giants fans, is this Bubba Watson's tournament to lose given that he won his two Masters tournaments came the last two even years (2012 and 2014)? And hey, he has been terrific this season with two wins and a runner-up finish.

But in the end, there can only be one. You may have noticed that there is one elite player who has played some great golf this season as he already has a pair of wins that I have yet to mention. Yes, that would be Adam Scott, the 2013 Masters champion and my prediction to be the 2016 Masters champion. He has the experience of having won it before, his game suits the course nicely and he has found a way to excel with his putter even with this year's anchoring ban.

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