With no clear player expected to dominate the field, The Grateful Golfer gives his five to watch for The Masters 2015. With A sneaky dark horse thrown in.
Master week is finally here. All the hype generated this week will only accentuate the first Major of the year. Professional and amateur golfers all dream of conquering Amen Corner, avoiding Rae’s Creek and mastering the lightning fast greens. It is now time make that dream come true.
The Masters is “A tradition like no other” that captures the attention of the golfing world every April. This year’s epic event will be no different. With no clear player expected to dominate the rest of the field, anything can and will happen over the four days of intense competition.
Over the past year, the young guns of golf have announced their arrival and believe it is their time to shine. With so many great players teeing it up, we will have a front row seat on all the historic shots. Given the depth of the field, it is quite possible that a play off will ensure.
Selecting a top 5 and a dark horse is no easy feat, especially this year. The streaky players must be taken into account and yet the wily veterans cannot be discounted. Regardless of your criteria for selecting the next Masters Champion, something is bound to be overlooked.
The following are my selections for the 2015 Masters. What do you think?
Top 5 Players
Phil Mickelson. Lefty is an aging veteran who has struggled of late. However, his early performance at the Shell Huston Open could not have come at a better time. His short game has returned and his putting was solid. Additionally, Mickelson worked hard on fitness, he is mentally prepared, he knows how to handle Masters’ like pressure, and if “Phil the Thrill” shows up, anything can happen.
Jimmy Walker. His play over the past two years has eclipsed everyone. He knows how to win and handle the pressure of a Sunday afternoon. His short game is solid and his consistency is top-notch. Walker’s recent wins at The Sony Open and The Valero Texas Open must be taken into account. Although he has not won a Major, yet, he is number one in the FEDEXCUP ranks and is the most consistent golfer on tour. He is definitely a viable candidate to win the green jacket.
Jason Day. Fighting an injury for most of 2014, Jason Day is a forgotten player. His win at the Farmers Insurance Open in February shows he is back to form. Finishing 2nd and 3rd in previous Masters, Day knows how to play Augusta National. He did not play in the Shell Huston Open and I think taking 2 weeks off will give him time to rest and prepare for the crazy week ahead. Although he may be considered a long-shot by many, he has the game to win. A strong start is very important; gaining confidence early will make him tough to beat.
Jordan Spieth. This young superstar has done everything but win a Major. Although he has only 2 wins in 66 professional events, Spieth is always in the mix. He has the game to win, except he is light on experience. His heart-breaking loss to Bubba Watson last year at The Masters was a lesson he will not soon forget. Spieth is the whole package, he is playing exceptionally well of late, and his chances of claiming his first Major are very good.
Rory McIlroy. Given McIlroy’s not played to everyone’s expectations this year and he is not as obvious a choice as some would suggest. He is the number one golfer in the world, hits the ball a country mile, has the green side touch of a surgeon, and is hunger to complete his career grand slam. He has taken three weeks off competitive golf to work on his game. He stated that he wanted to be mentally and physically ready for the gruelling Masters week. Although is play to date is spotty at best, he will be ready at the first tee on Thursday!
Matt Kuchar. Kuchar is always around because of his great all-round game. Some consider him mister consistency; however I disagree with that statement. I would assess Kuchar as a streaky player. It is now time for him to step up to claim his first Major! Kuchar performance in the past 3 Masters is exceptional. If he gets hot this weekend, I am not sure anyone will be able to stop him. He is a fan favourite and is due for something spectacular to happen.
So there you have it, my top 5 pics and my dark horse. All of these, plus many others make great candidates to win the green jacket this year. However, there is only one who will rise to the top.
This year, I pick Rory McIlroy. I selected McIlroy back in October and I see no reason to change. If you are wondering, the main reason for choosing the world’s number one golfer to win his first green jacket is his burning desire to complete his career grand slam.
The Grateful Golfer – Pundit Arena