As I sit here and write this it’s officially “Masters Eve”. The time right now at the time of writing is 11 p.m. on the dot and I feel that it’s time to make a quick prediction. In saying that, I feel the need to remind everyone that in an article that I wrote at the beginning of 2019 I made my predictions as far as who would win each Major Championship for both the PGA TOUR and LPGA TOUR (I was wrong regarding the ANA Inspiration last week).
In that story (click here) I confidently suggested that Tommy Fleetwood would emerge as the winner of his first Green Jacket. Being a man of conviction I am going to stand firmly with my pick. When push comes to shove it’s putting that wins at Augusta National. Tommy Fleetwood can putt and can do so in pressure-packed moments as he demonstrated at the last Ryder Cup. Stats wise he’s a solid performer as he can drive the ball well with an average drive of 301.2 yards (ranked 42nd), finds the fairway 62.99% of the time and hits 68.52% Greens In Regulation. His putting numbers don’t really jump out at you but Fleetwood can make them when they matter. Heading into The Masters, Fleetwood has had some good finishes. During the “Florida Swing” golf fans witnessed two Top-5 finishes for the Englishman (The Players Championship and Arnold Palmer Invitational). Fleetwood comes into The Masters at 20/1 odds.
The weather is going to play a factor in the 2019 edition of The Masters. Augusta National has already seen rain this week and more will be in the region by the time the weekend hits. Amongst the hot temperatures, it’s also important to note that they are calling for some thunderstorms Friday and Saturday with Sunday projecting strong thunderstorms in the afternoon. What does this mean? The Masters in 2019 could become in a manner of speaking a “Battle of Attrition”. A Major Championship where the weather is going to be a very large part of the script. Where players in the field will have their patience tried due to the ebb and flow of the changing weather patterns. Rhythm and settling into a tournament groove could prove to be difficult. Of course, it goes without saying that with the rain that has fallen (and looks imminent) will mean softer fairways and receptive greens. There is one player in the field that I look at when I think that he might emerge victorious in a “Battle of Attrition”. He’s been there before and has won these types of tournaments. His name? Brooks Koepka. Not to mention his game does suit the needs quite well of what may be needed to win in 2019. Koepka drives the ball long, strikes the ball very well and can putt. The latter is why I look at him and not Dustin Johnson. Koepka comes into Augusta at 25/1 odds.
There will be the usual guys that will contend at Augusta over the next few days. Justin Rose, he always seems to lurk around atop the leaderboard in Major’s and I expect no different this week (12/1). It’s hard not to consider Rory McIlroy. The recent winner has been trending the right way leading up to The Masters and at 7/1 he is the favorite and looking to complete the career grand slam. There’s no doubt that golf fans haven’t seen “this Rory” for a very long time. Too long if you were to ask him I’m sure.
Of course, we always get a thrill or two from some longshots in the field. First, I want to start off that thought with Corey Conners. How can we discredit what the Canadian did this past week at the Valero Texas Open? We know the story. He won a 6-way playoff to win the Monday Qualifier. Then he wins the event to become the “last man in” to The Masters. I would love to see him win The Masters (200/1). After last weeks events, I think we might see the adrenaline carry him for the first round and a bit. But I love a good underdog story.
We’ll get some excitement from yesteryear as well. Two savvy veterans will give us some excitement as they always do. Freddy Couples and Bernhard Langer seem to get our imaginations running wild as they make heroic runs in Major Championships. These two always illicit roars from the patrons at ANGC. Who knows, maybe we’ll see one of them on the first page of the leaderboard.
Either way, the time has come for The Masters. It’s going to be a magical week.
Until The Next Tee!!