Is Tiger the one or are we all dreaming? NCG writers predict the 2018 MastersApril 3, 2018 Opinion
Who is slipping into that famous Green Jacket on Sunday? Who's missing the cut? And who is the outsider to keep an eye on? The NCG team's Masters predictions are in
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 – he’s the best player in the world right now.
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 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…