It’s finally time for the first Major of this year’s PGA Tour season as all eyes turn to August, Georgia for the Masters. It truly is “a tradition unlike any other” and is the only Major to be played on the same course every year. All the iconic players are there which makes finding picks easy, but picking the winner difficult.
In the Yahoo! Fantasy Golf game, our Fantasy CPR group continues with 20 great entries headed into the second week of our spring season. If you want to join our weekly competition, click here for info on how to get in our group. Last week, “Home Team” opened the segment with a 207 point win while Eagle’s Next held on to a slim lead in the overall standings.
Here’s my picks for this week’s tournament from the three lists on Yahoo! with a quick analysis of why I think these players will be in the hunt on Sunday.
Tiger Woods: Tiger is the odds-on favorite to win and not having him on your fantasy team would be a huge risk. He hasn’t won at Augusta since 2005 when he took home his fourth green jacket. Even when he’s not winning though, he’s hard to beat at the Maskers where he hasn’t missed a cut in 16 trips and has finished outside the top 25 just once. He’s been in the top five an incredible ten times and comes in playing excellent golf already having won three times on tour this year.
Rory McIlroy: Rory looked as far from in-form as any top player in the world just over a month ago, but has climbed back to this spot after closing well at the WGC-Cadillac and finishing solo second in the Valero Texas Open last week. He had the 2011 Masters won before his back-9 meltdown. Last year he made the cut but finished t40 struggling to a 77-76 weekend. He’s back in the running now though and could be the one player who could run away with it like Tiger in his prime did.
Steve Stricker: Stricker has played the Masters 12 times since his first appearance back in 1997. He’s made the cut in each of the last four with a career-best t6 in 2009. Hes’ played well this year with a pair of solo second finishes in his four tournaments. He’s played a light schedule so he can focus on the Majors, and now we’ll see if it pays off.
Keegan Bradley: Bradley got his first Masters visit out of the way last year finishing t27. He’s playing well coming in off four top 10’s in a row although he’s yet to win on tour this year.
Matt Kuchar: Kuchar starts on my bench only to conserve the start if the week goes poorly for him. He’s come very close at Augusta before, finishing tied for third last year. He’s finished his last two tournaments in the top 25 and does have a win this year at the WGC Match Play Championship.
Fredrik Jacobson: Jacobson has a pair of top 20’s in this three trips to the Masters including a t19 last year. He has been playing consistently well coming in off five top 25 finishes in a row including a trifecta of top ten’s. There always seems to be an international sleeper that hangs around the leaderboard down the stretch, and this year I think it could be Jacobson.
Ian Poulter: Poulter has made the cut all eight times he’s played at the Masters and finished a career best seventh last year. He finished last week in Texas with a solid 69 and comes in with some momentum looking to get his first Major.
Rickie Fowler: Fowler also has made the cut every time he’s played Augusta, but he’s only made two trips. He finished t27 last year after a t38 two years ago. He comes in off a solo third at Bay Hill and top 15’s in two of his three events since the Match Play Championship. Fowler is great friends with last year’s winner Bubba Watson and can possibly draw on the experience of watching Bubba last year to fuel his own challenge for the green jacket. The ceremony with the two of them involved would be something to watch for sure if Fowler pulled off the upset win.