It is the most desirable piece of cloth in sport – but we believe fewer than 10 players in this year’s field can claim the Green Jacket. The same venue each year means it is easier to predict the champions at Augusta, and here, we name our reasoning for eliminating all but eight players in the field this year.
Reason One: Players don’t win on their first time
We all know that other than Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979 no rookie has won the Masters. It takes time to learn the nuances of the course and discover where not to go. Making the cut on your debut should be considered a respectable effort. Contending on Sunday is highly unlikely.
Rules out: George Coetzee, Nicolas Colsaerts, Jamie Donaldson, Alan Dunbar, Steven Fox, Branden Grace, Guan Tianlang, Russell Henley, John Huh, David Lynn, Thorbjørn Olesen, John Peterson, Scott Piercy, Ted Potter Jr, TJ Vogel, Michael Weaver, Thaworn Wiratchant
Which leaves: 71
Reason Two: Amateurs and invites don’t win
This Ryo Ishikawa’s fifth visit and he’s three missed cuts so far. There is more to his invitation other than the bundles of potential he obviously has.
Rules out: Ryo Ishikawa and Nathan Smith
Which leaves: 69
Reason Three – The heart says yes, the head suggests something different
We say farewell to 15 Major champions here but only Clarke and Cink of recent years. Expect at least a couple of these to brighten up our viewing on the first two days but try not to get too carried away as it won’t last. Sadly.
Rules out: Stewart Cink, Darren Clarke, Fred Couples, Ben Crenshaw, Ben Curtis, Bernhard Langer, Sandy Lyle, Larry Mize , Mark O’Meara, Jose Maria Olazabal, Vijay Singh, Craig Stadler, Tom Watson, Mike Weir, Ian Woosnam
Which leaves: 54
Reason Four – Never won in The USA
It might seem a little harsh to bid ‘arrivederci’ to the likes of a WGC winner in Francesco Molinari and a ‘see ye efter’ to former Open champion Paul Lawrie but we need to concentrate on those who have won on American soil in among the hoopla and hollering.
Rules out: Thomas Bjørn, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, Hiroyuki Fujita, Peter Hanson, Paul Lawrie, Matteo Manassero, Francesco Molinari
Which leaves: 47
All bar one of the last 20 winners (Woods in ‘97) made the cut the previous year so arrived on the property with some recent fond memories. Reason Five – Never had a major top 10
You might think more would fall at this particular hurdle but only three take a tumble. Most surprising is Bill Haas, whose best finish in 13 Majors is a tie for 12th at the 2011 PGA.
Rules out: Brian Gay, Bill Haas, Marc Leishman
Which leaves: 44
Reason Six – Not had an Augusta top 15
ANOTHER considerable cull and some big guns disappear from the reckoning.
For the likes of Bradley and Dufner this might be foolish given their few visits, for Kaymer (four missed cuts in five outings) it is likely a case of the course not suiting the eye. Johnson D a surprise exit given the strengths of his game.
Rules out: Keegan Bradley, Jason Dufner, Rickie Fowler, Robert Garrigus, Lucas Glover, Dustin Johnson, Martin Kaymer, Carl Pettersson, John Senden, Webb Simpson, Michael Thompson
Which leaves: 33
Reason Seven – Forget the 40 and overs
THE last winner in his 40s was Mark O’Meara in 1998, otherwise everyone has been in their 20s and 30s. Westwood scrapes through, he turns 40 in late April, but multiple Major winners Mickelson, Els and Harrington don’t. For the record, Mickelson is the third favourite with the bookies.
Rules out: Angel Cabrera, KJ Choi, Ernie Els, Jim Furyk, Padraig Harrington, Phil Mickelson, Steve Stricker, David Toms, YE Yang
Which leaves: 24
Reason Eight – Made the cut last year
All bar one of the last 20 winners (Woods in ‘97) made the cut the previous year so arrived on the property with some recent fond memories. Worth noting that Day was runner-up on his debut in 2011 but then had to withdraw last year with an injured ankle.
Rules out: Tim Clark, Jason Day, John Merrick (DNP), Ryan Moore (DNP)
Which leaves: 20
Reason Nine – Is their putting up to it?
With all manner of putting stats to look at we have gone for the Strokes Gained category from last year’s PGA Tour. If they weren’t in the top 100 then they don’t make the grade. McDowell and Rose are the big shocks here, Westwood less so as three big European hopefuls say farewell.
Rules out: Trevor Immelman, Hunter Mahan, Graeme McDowell, Justin Rose, Adam Scott, Nick Watney, Bubba Watson, Lee Westwood
Which leaves: 12
Reason 10 – Can they really win a jacket?
ON the basis of the evidence before, yes, but our heads are telling us that they don’t have that certain je ne sais quoi to get over the line. Maybe these four are good each-way punts but we don’t see them slipping into the Green Jacket come Sunday night.
Rules out: Sergio Garcia, Zach Johnson, Kevin Na, Bo Van Pelt
Which leaves the following eight players who we believe have a chance at a Green Jacket this year – Click HERE to find out we are backing.