Talking Point: We give our 2016 Masters predictions

The Masters

Masters week is finally here. The NCG team make their predictions

Craig Middleton

Arguably the best week of the golfing year is now upon us and what a prospect we have in store at Augusta over the next week. So many players looking in hot form with most of the favourites already picking up wins this season, some with more than one.

My pick: Rory. I really think this is his time. His form has been excellent over the past couple of months and his decision to not compete in the par-3 challenge is a good move.

Dark horse: Rafa Cabrero Bello. This man is playing some really good golf, and coming off the back of a good matchplay performance, his confidence will be high.

To miss the cut: Andy Sullivan. I don’t think Augusta suits him and with it being his debut he might just be a little star struck. Only time will tell though.

Top European: Aside from Rory, lets go with Paul Casey. He is hot and cold but I think he could do well here this week.

Top American: Bubba Watson. It was a toss up between him and Spieth, but I think his experience around Augusta will help him.

Mark Townsend

My pick: Jordan Spieth – if I had one, solitary bet (instead of the seven I’ve just place) it would have to be the boy wonder

Dark horse: Brooks Koepka – has a bit of star quality and love the way he plays

To miss the cut: Martin Kaymer – bit obvious so I’ll add Sandy Lyle and Mark O’Meara to the mix

Top European: Justin Rose – more experience and savvy than all the others and loves it here

Top American: Phil Mickelson (after Spieth) – the leading Stroke Average on the PGA Tour this term and the King of Augusta

Steve Carroll

My pick: Charl Schwartzel – a couple of wins this year, a victor at Augusta and favourable trends. What more do you want from a 40/1 shot?

Dark horse: Ian Poulter – showed return to form in Puerto Rico and loves the Masters

To miss the cut: Patrick Reed – missed cut on debut in Georgia and form has been variable this season

Top European: Rafa Cabrera-Bello – if he takes to the course then no one on either tour is in hotter form

Top American: Jordan Spieth – form figures of second and first at Augusta make him the obvious choice

James Savage

I love the Masters. Only shame is the lack of live TV coverage. It’s the first Major of the year and I just want to see golf shots being hit on the course.

I don’t want to watch David Livingstone, Monty, McGinley, Butch or even Jack Nicklaus sat in a line talking about “what you don’t notice on the telly”. I don’t usually notice anything remotely relevant for the first hour of the “live” coverage.

My pick: Rory McIlroy. Good call to skip the par-3. He wasn’t that far away in the end last year so just needs to get off to a fast start. He means business this year.

Dark horse: Charley Hoffman (125/1). In good form and finished top-10 last year. Don’t think he’ll win it but worth a cheeky each-way bet for a place.

To miss the cut: Danny Willett. Too early for the nappy factor to have a positive impact

Top European: The closest to Rory will be Justin Rose who gets better and better at Augusta and will be very well prepared.

Top American: Rickie Fowler will be slightly under the radar with more focus on “the big 3”. Capable of winning and rarely out of the top 10 every event he plays.

Dan Murphy

My pick: Bubba Watson. Left-handers always win the Masters in even-numbered years and I think Bubba enters something like a state of zen when he drives down Magnolia Lane and doesn’t have to cope with all the distractions of being the defending champion

Dark horse: Brandt Snedeker. Has a great record at Augusta, loves the place and is showing something like the form that made him a Ryder Cup player. One of the game’s best putters when his confidence is high and I reckon it is at the moment

To miss the cut: Danny Willett. His mind will understandably be elsewhere with the birth of his first child last week

Top European: I can’t see past Justin Rose but I think he will have to settle for a place rather than a W

Top American: Apart from Bubba, its got to be Phil Mickelson for me. I am seeing a big week for those who stand on the other side of the ball



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