Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Masters 2012 - Who will win?!

It is every golfer’s favorite week of the year, and you would be hard pressed to find a fan who hasn’t cleared their schedule April 5th – April 8th. It is the week in which you relax and do nothing but watch golf. It is Masters week.

            Every top player in the game is at the Masters Golf Tournament. It is played on the most exclusive course in the World. Not a blade of grass is out of place. A one-word description of the venue for the Masters, Augusta National Golf Club: perfection.
            When picking a winner for this year’s event, the typical names come to mind: Luke Donald, Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, all high on everyone’s list. Once a deeper look is taken at this list of “possibles,” the picture expands.
            The current World #1, Luke Donald, cannot be left out of the possible winners list. He’s dangerously consistent. That being said, Donald has not had much success in the majors. He is due to win one of the four majors soon, and I would love to see him play well, but I don’t think he’ll win this year’s Masters.
            Rory McIlroy recently gained the position of #1 player in the World for a short period before forfeiting the crown after the Transitions Championship to a victorious Luke Donald. What stands in the way of Rory winning this year’s Masters? His mental game. Last year, McIlroy entered the final day of the Masters tournament with a four shot lead. On the back nine of the event, he crumbled as if he had never seen pressure before. He ended the tournament tied for fifteenth; the breakdown will go down in the history books. It could be argued that Rory has matured in the past year and become mentally stronger, but will he attain the lead position again this year, but have flashbacks of crumbling down the final stretch? I think he has overcome many of those fears already. I fully expect to see him in one of the last groups come Masters Sunday.
            Phil Mickelson is always a good bet to win the Masters. Although he is often criticized for his “I hit the ball as hard as I can, find it, then hit is as hard as I can again” mindset, he has found success at the Masters. Having won it three times, he is doing something right. He has had the past few weeks to rest up, and apparently his short game is on fire. If he’s hitting it fairly straight, I’d place a cheeky fiver on him come Masters week.
            Tiger Woods is an obvious pick, but his recent withdrawal at Doral for an injured Achilles is worrying. In previous tournaments, he simply hasn’t been able to assemble four low rounds. On the final day of the Honda Classic, Tiger shot a 62. This catapulted him 16 spots to 2nd place. It forces one to ask, “Is Tiger back?”   It is a question that I absolutely hate. Every time he stands over a five footer, the commentators act as if it will be the deciding factor of a “return.” In order for Tiger to be considered back on top form, he needs to win a major. I wouldn’t count him out for the 2012 Masters, especially if he has any more of those 62s left in him.
My good friend Jeff hitting an approach to the 11th
            The simple problem with picking a winner for the Masters is summed up in two givens: the course doesn’t set up for any single type of player and every best golfer in the World is present. There are nineteen qualifications to be invited to the Masters. These nineteen qualifications provide a field of the best 99 golfers in the World. They will all be fighting their hardest for the Green Jacket, the coveted prize for the winner. All this is to say that the big names are always a good bet, but any golfer having a great week could claim victory. Case in point, last year’s winner was Charl Schwartzel, a golfer fairly unknown on the PGA Tour. Who knew much of Zach Johnson before he got hot and won the 2007 Masters? Augusta National as a golf course doesn’t cater to one specific type of player, and this makes it perfect for any one golfer to get on a low scoring streak and shoot low.

            Knowing that I will make enemies of most of my St Andrews golfing friends, I will be attending this year’s Masters. I say that with my hands shaking, knees knocking, and butterflies in my stomach. This is my pilgrimage to Mecca, my meeting with the Pope, my visit to the Wailing Wall. If I don’t pass out or have a heart attack when I walk onto the grounds at Augusta National, I’ll write a follow-up article summarizing the incredible event and my experience. In the meantime, my money is on Woods. 


  1. Here's hoping you avoid both passing out and having a heart attack, and enjoy your day to the full.

    1. Sheena, Thank you very much for hosting us! I'm looking forward to meeting you.