Tiger Woods may seem long overdue for his first Masters win since 2005, but writers from around the Tribune Co. have some other ideas about who will be wearing the green jacket Sunday afternoon.
Bill Dwyre, Los Angeles Times
Brandt Snedeker will win this year’s Masters Golf Tournament because he is playing well, has gone through enough blips in recent years to draw on when the going gets tough and because the game of golf needs him to win.
Why, you ask? Because he has a sunny, pleasing personality, is a genuine decent guy and, most important, because he plays fast. Were he to win the Masters, walking right up to his ball and hitting it without all the grimacing and twitching and seven swing thoughts these guys process, an entire generation of young players watching on TV would do the same thing and Snedeker would be the savior.
Ron Fritz, Baltimore Sun
A lefty, Bubba Watson, won it last year. Lefty will win it this year.
As much as I hate to bet against Tiger Woods at the Masters, he still seems to have a bad round each tournament (even with three wins in five events), and Phil Mickelson is primed to pounce this year. Mickelson has won three green jackets and always plays well at Augusta National. He has a win this year and is fourth in Fed-Ex Cup points.
I do think Woods will win a major this year, but I don’t think it will be the Masters. It’s just a feeling, and probably not a good one since he’s regained the No. 1 ranking in the world.
Two names to look for: Rory McIlroy and Fred Couples. Wouldn’t it be something if McIlroy found his game this week and Couples, at 53, makes another run on the weekend?
But they play right-handed and the winner this weekend will be Lefty.
Teddy Greenstein, Chicago Tribune
Everything points to a Tiger Woods romp at Augusta National. For perhaps the first time since he entered supermarket tabloid hell, his life and swing are in balance. Even his goatee looks good. But one thing is working against him: Over the past seven years, no Masters favorite has won the green jacket. And this year’s field has incredible depth.
My pick is the man with the giant, demonic eyes. He’s the guy whose putts didn’t dare miss the cup at the Ryder Cup at Medinah. Ian Poulter finished seventh at the 2012 Masters, and he’s poised to make the climb this year. Adjustments to his swing and equipment have added 15 yards off the tee, and he enters with confidence, saying: “There’s no anxiety. I don’t have sleepless nights.”
[Updated at 1:28 p.m.
Stephen Waters, South Florida Sun Sentinel
If Tiger Woods putts as well as he did in winning the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Trump Doral and the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill last month, look for him to win his first Masters title since 2005. His putting at Augusta National is what’s kept him from winning a fifth green jacket.
Steve Stricker, who gave Woods a putting lesson at Doral, will win the Masters if his student struggles on the greens. In four events this year, Stricker has two seconds and a fifth, and his short game is terrific.]