Is Tiger the one or are we all dreaming? NCG writers predict the 2018 Masters
Who will be crowned Masters champion come Sunday?
Mark Townsend: Justin Thomas. Among all the brilliance of the early-season form, him winning back-to-back majors seems the most obvious.
James Broadhurst: For me, Thomas is the best player in the world right now and a win at Augusta would confirm that status.
Craig Middleton: This is one of the toughest years to pick a Masters winner, but I’ll go for Thomas for the same reason.
Steve Carroll: There are a number of players in great form who clearly enjoy playing at Augusta. I’m wary of a resurgent Bubba but I’m picking Justin Rose to finally get his arms in the green jacket.
Alex Perry: I’m torn between the two Justins. I’ll plump for Rose, because that would make me happier than Thomas winning – just.
Matthew Beedle: Rose will go one better than last year.
James Savage: Rory McIlroy. It’s different this year and he’s still the best player in the world when on top form.
Dan Murphy: I’ll just go for someone who stands on the wrong side of the ball. They have won six of the last 15 Masters and five of the last seven in even-numbered years.
And who do you want to win?
Alex Perry: Tiger Woods. For reasons I don’t think I need to spell out.
Dan Murphy: Tiger Woods, Tiger Woods, Tiger Woods. It would be the greatest sports story ever told. I know Ben Hogan came back from way worse physical injuries after his car crash but Tiger’s dealing with the total breakdown of his life – all humiliatingly played out in public.
Matthew Beedle: Put me down for Tiger, too.
Craig Middleton: A much easier question to answer. Who doesn’t want to see Tiger birdie 16, 17 and 18 in his Sunday red to win the Green Jacket?
Mark Townsend: McIlroy. Firstly so we can stop talking about his career Slam and what went on in 2011 and to shut a few people up who stopped rating him last year.
James Savage: I’d really like to see Rose win as he’s a lovely man and his swing deserves more than one major.
Steve Carroll: I’d love Rose to win, but wouldn’t it be great if Rory finally slayed his Augusta demons?
James Broadhurst: Apart from the obvious one – you know who I’m talking about – I would love to see Tommy Fleetwood win a major. He’s English, very likeable and will be hungry to produce a better showing than his missed cut last year.
What about an outsider to watch?
Dan Murphy: I like Brian Harman’s game and he is quietly becoming an established member of the elite. He’s ranked 23 in the world. And he’s left-handed…
Steve Carroll: I’m pretty keen on Harman. Aside from being left-handed, he’s been in pretty good form all season and gave McIlroy a pasting at the WGC Match Play. He’s 90/1 with the bookies.
James Savage: I’ll take a look at Bryson Dechambeau at 80/1 which seems a bit high for someone who clearly has what it takes to win a big one.
Alex Perry: Ian Poulter snuck in the back door in sensational fashion and his Masters record is nothing to be sniffed at: T31-T33-T13-T25-T20-T10-T27-7-MC-T20-T6-T49.
Mark Townsend: Matt Kuchar isn’t an outsider but you can get him at 70/1 which is an outsider’s price.
Matthew Beedle: Thomas Pieters had a brilliant debut last year and is currently up for a fairly big price.
James Broadhurst: Shubhankar Sharma has been in superb form this year. The Race to Dubai leader, who started 2018 outside the top 200, will be at Augusta on a special invite. Performing well on your Masters debut is a big ask, but the fact that there will be no pressure on Sharma will work in his favour.
Craig Middleton: Kiradech Aphibarnrat is playing some lovely golf and his only appearance at Augusta resulted in a top 15 finish.
Article continues on the next page, where the NCG team predict who will be the surprise flop at Augusta…