with Robert Bicknell
With the Masters tournament right around the corner, speculation is running wild (which is shorthand for "golf writers feverously looking for ways to slip Tiger Woods into the conversation somewhere to make their editors happy") on who is the favourite to win the event.
As stated above, El Tigre would normally be the favorite, except for the fact that lately he is playing like a public-course hacker. The writers, of course, gush about how much time he is putting into his practice and although he dropped out of sight AND missed Arnold Palmer's event, he will probably be back in time for the Masters tournament.
In my opinion, if Tiger Woods does show his face at Augusta, it should be in the broadcast booth and not on the course.
Listen, it's called "The Masters" for a reason85 most of the players in there are masters of the game. They can play better than 99.999 per cent of the planet. If you don't bring your "A-game" have your skills razor sharp, you will get killed out there.
A lot of speculation is that this is Rory McIlroy's year and the Masters is his for the taking. He's coming off wins at the Open Championship and the PGA in 2014, he won the US Open in 2011, so the Masters would continue the "Rory Slam".
Jason Day and Bubba Watson are right up there according to the Las Vegas bookies. Day is a fantastic player who seems to always be at the airport when his ship comes in. One day, maybe this year, he will be in the right place at the right time. He deserves to win a big one and it will happen eventually.
Watson, on the other hand should feel no pressure because he already has TWO green jackets and really has nothing to prove to anyone. He can just go out, play golf and be Bubba. If he stays loose, he could be looking at a third jacket.
Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott are also legitimate threats. However, Scott already has one green jacket so he might not be so hungry. The problem is that the weight of the world seems to rest on his shoulders at times. He's got the game and the experience, but the stars don't always align for him at the right time. Still, he has a decent chance.
Spieth has game, he just needs to find a way to keep it together in the big ones. His day is coming.
For the record, Vegas puts Woods odds at 50-1. They just cannot take the chance of a miracle happening. Still, it might be worth dropping a US$100 for the fun of it. Who knows?
Someone asked me if I thought Ricky Fowler can win it and, sorry to say, I just don't see it happening. Fowler seems too content to settle for second place. He doesn't have a killer instinct necessary to win the big ones. He gets himself into contention for the win, then backs off the accelerator and waits for the leader to throw up all over himself. While this might have been a good strategy in the old days when there were less great players with experience down the stretch, most of the top guys have been in positions to win events more often, so nerves aren't the issue they once were.
Sergio Garcia - forget it. This guy is allergic to prosperity. Whenever he get's close to the lead and a chance to finally shed his BPTNWAM (Best Player To Never Win A Major) label, he throws up on himself in a spectacular fashion. Remember the bunker at the Open Championship?
Phil Mickelson is always a threat - when his putter works. Lately it seems that Stevie Wonder can putt better than Phil. So perhaps he should consider being a spokesperson for Krispy Kreme85
As for McIlroy, he might want to leave his 3-iron in the car as the Lords of Augusta frown on club throwing and unsportsmanlike conduct, which is amusing when you remember that Bobby Jones was a notorious club-thrower in his day.
So if the urge does strike McIlroy, he can always claim he was channeling Bobby Jones. — VNS