US Masters 6 players to follow
Six to Follow in the Masters
This is not the six players I think I most likely to win, but six players I will be interested to see how they go at this weeks US Masters Golf tournament, for one reason or more.
1. Jordan Spieth – If I did have to pick one player to win the Masters this year it would probably be him, it’s difficult to ignore his phenomenal record in his appearances so far, finishing 2nd, winning, then 2nd again. The really interesting thing this time is just how he will be able to bounce back from his spectacular collapse when looking to be in a comfortable lead last year. Personally I think he will be mentally strong enough to produce another top finish, but if he’s in contention standing on that twelth tee on Sunday it will be fascinating to see how he deals with it.
2. Bubba Watson – another course specialist with two wins in this event already. His record shows he either wins or comes nowhere near, which is sort of in keeping with his apparent mental and emotional state when he plays. Seemingly one of those golfers that needs to be ‘feeling’ right to play anywhere near his best, but his best is better than virtually everybody elses, especially around Augusta. If he gets off to a good start and gets into contention then the rest of the field know he will be tough to beat.
3. Phil Mickelson – probably the ultimate course specialist of all those who have played many Masters. Of course father time catches up everybody eventually, but Phil seems to be aging better than most. Arguably he produces the second best golfing performance of 2016, unfortunately for him the best one was produced by Henrik Stenson in the same event – The Open Championship. He obviously doesn’t win as often as he used to, but he seems as focussed on the majors as ever and in the second half of his career few have a better record in those events. If he gets into contention he certainly won’t back away meekly, he’ll either storm to victory or go down in spectacular flames.
4. Soren Kjelsden – He rather breaks the mould of the classic modern day golfer, in that he’s not long off the tee at all and will never over power a golf course. What he does have is a phenomenal short game, particular his wedge game from around 60-120yards. Since the course was ‘Tiger proofed’ in the late 1990s, people will tell you that a player needs to be a big hitter to compete at Augusta, for the sake of the game and people believing that there are many different ways to compete at the top I hope Soren can repeat or even improve on his tie for 7th place last year.
5. Sergio Garcia – ‘The best player to never win a major’ is one of those tags that is half compliment and half stinging criticism. If Sergio never wins one and people make a list of the best players of all time to never win one of the big ones than Sergio will be very close to the top of that list. A phenomenal ball striker, with great touch with wedges around the green and now his putting seems to be a lot better than people make out, it would appear that the main thing stopping him winning would be a mental block or lack of belief. He seems to have been around forever but he’s still young enough to win a few majors, but you can’t win a few unless you win the first one.
6. Lee Westwood – another one with an excellent track record at Augusta, without a win though and without ever really looking like he was going to win. Plenty of times in contention but he has never managed to produce the run of birdies on the back nine that most winners tend to produce. He always comes across as a content golfer, and why not, with several wins around the world and in Ryder Cups, competing in many majors and winning way more money than I could ever count he has plenty of reasons to be happy. Obviously though he would dearly love to win a Major and at the age of 43 maybe he can win one when every else is starting to give up on him, just like his good old friend Darren Clarke did in the 2011 Open Championship.