Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Masters Predictionz: The First 16 Potential Winners

By Adam Maher

Every April, The Masters at Augusta National reminds me of what's truly important in life: class, sophistication, nature, beautiful weather, people, friends, family, tradition, keeping my head down, swinging hard, intense competition, and the fact that nobody is better at predicting The Masters winner than yours truly.

Last year, in my two-part SBz Masters coverage piece entitled, "The Top 5 Most Interesting Post-cut Pairings at Augusta National," and, "What to Expect of the Final Day at the Masters," I correctly came to the suggestion that Bubba Watson would take the prize early Sunday morning, as the last sentence read, "I'd say, by the end of the day, to look for Mahan, Oosthuizen and Phil to be in the hunt. I'll be pulling for Bubba, though."

This year, I'm going to make my predictions a bit more strategic than rating the most interesting pairings, and I'm determined to tell you who is going to win before Sunday's final rounds tee off.

I haven't deemed it a science just yet, but my plan is as follows: Pick a pool of 16 players on Wednesday night that I think have a chance to win it all come Sunday. Each round, the list gets cut in half, leaving Sunday morning's post, the final piece of the series, down to deciding between just two golfers. The fun part is that If I don't pick correctly all week, there is a chance that one of my two top guys may not even be in the hunt ... so every detail counts!

Got it? Let's get it. Here are my top 16 potential Masters winners, in ranking order:

1) Tiger Woods
2) Rory McIlroy
3) Brandt Snedeker
4) Dustin Johnson
5) Bo van Pelt
6) Rickie Fowler
7) Justin Rose
8) Charl Schwartzel
9) Webb Simpson
10) Branden Grace
11) Louis Oothuizen
12) Phil Mickelson
13) Jason Dufner
14) Bernhard Langer
15) Russell Henley
16) Ian Poulter

Did I leave anyone out? Yes, about 75 players who have a shot to win it. Which is what makes this series exciting. Will I be able to safely say eight of these 16 players are still in the hunt tomorrow after opening rounds? Tune in and find out!

PS -- Sorry, Bubba. I still think your hovercraft is amazing!