Who will win the Masters?

Though the player on the right is favored, don't be surprised if Ernie Els is wearing green on Sunday.

Though the player on the right is favored, don't be surprised if Ernie Els is wearing green on Sunday.

Because Tiger Woods has already been tabbed the favorite and needs no more analysis,  and Billy Payne’s aim as chairman of Augusta National is to grow the game globally, here’s each continent’s best chance to put on the famed Green Jacket that comes with winning the Masters.

Africa

Which player will finish with the best score?

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Ernie Els

Masters played/cuts made: 17/12

Best finish: 2 (2001, ‘04)

Masters average: 72.04

2010 average: 69.17

Why he can win: The big South African seems to have finally gotten comfortable with his swing after years of frustration. He’s won back to back tournaments this season with two additional top-10s and two more top 25s. Before this season he had just one win in  the previous five years, causing some to forget that Els already has three majors to his credit (two U.S. Opens, one British Open). He has six top-10 finishes at Augusta National.

Two to watch: Retief Goosen (South Africa), Rory Sabbatini (South Africa).

Asia

Y.E. Yang

Masters played/cuts made: 3/1

Best finish: t-30 (2007)

Masters average: 74.67

2010 average: 70

Why he can win: After he beat Woods to win last year’s PGA Championship, who is to say the South Korean can’t win the Masters? He has one top-10 finish this season and three more top-25s. He’s dangerous because he’s long (292.4 yards per drive) and accurate (63.46% fairways hit) off the tee. Plus, he hits almost 70 percent of the greens in regulation.

One to watch: Ryuji Imada (Japan).

Australia

Geoff Ogilvy

Masters played/cuts made: 5/4

Best finish: t-15 (2009)

Masters average: 72.94

2010 average: 70.06

Why he can win: When the Aussie can find the fairway, he’s a contender. Unfortunately, he’s finding the short grass just 54 percent of the time this year. But he can scramble (70% greens in regulation) and putt (28.63 putts per round). So, if he can find Augusta’s fairways, he could be among the leaders on Sunday.  He’s also very tough against tough fields, posting two wins in World Golf events the past three years. He was one of the favorites to win the Masters three years ago on the basis of his U.S Open championship the previous summer, but crashed and burned with a third-round 81.

Two to watch: Robert Allenby, Marc Leishman.

Europe

Paul Casey

Masters played/cuts made: 6/4

Best finish: t-6 (2004)

Masters average: 72.89

2010 average: 69.08

Why he can win: The Englishman is magic with the flatstick this year, averaging a third-best-on-Tour 1.703 strokes per hole. Because of that, he’s first in eagles and ninth in birdies. Augusta demands an all-around game, but those who can putt are in much better shape than those who can hit the ball 350 yards off the tee. He hasn’t won this year, but he has one second-place finish and three top-10s.

Three to watch: Ian Poulter (England), Luke Donald (England), Padraig Harrington (Ireland).

North America

Stewart Cink

Masters played/cuts made: 13/9

Best finish: t-3 (2008)

Masters average: 72.81

2010 average: 71.05

Why he can win: Though his scoring average is higher than the tour’s (70.93), Cink knows what it takes to win majors after rallying to win the last year’s British Open.

His troubles this season can be traced a putting average of 29.68 per round, 130th on tour. However, he still has two top-10s this season. A Duluth resident and Georgia Tech grad,  Cink gets the hometown edge over Jim Furyk and Steve Stricker, who is ranked second in the world but has made the Masters cut just four times in 10 appearances.

Four to watch: Matt Kuchar, Jim Furyk, Anthony Kim, Phil Mickelson.

South America

Camilo Villegas

Masters played/cuts made: 4/1

Best finish: t-13 (2009)

Master average: 74.63

2010 average: 69.36

Why he can win: The Colombian was never able to figure out Augusta National until last year. Now, the player nicknamed spiderman for the peculiar on-plane way he reads greens, could be among the leaders on Sunday because not only is he putting well (28.86 ppr) but he’s bombing the ball off the tee (297.7 ypd). He has one win, a third, another top 10 and a top 25 this year in the four events in which he’s made the cut. So, when he’s on, he’s on.

One to watch: Angel Cabrera (Argentina).

30 comments Add your comment

SOUTH GA DAWG FAN

March 31st, 2010
3:05 pm

Doug Roberson

March 31st, 2010
3:12 pm

Yes, yes you are first.

gdawginkalamazoo

March 31st, 2010
3:16 pm

Either the “Big Easy” or the “Big Sleazy” will win. Els is playing great and Tiger is baaaaaccckkkkk!

However, It would be nice to Ryuji win it being a bulldog and all.

gdawginkalamazoo

March 31st, 2010
3:20 pm

Cink beat an old man at the British Open last year.

johnd

March 31st, 2010
3:40 pm

Not so fast for the big easy. Anything Els do, TWs can do better. So why counting on him for two consecutive wins? I am not gonna put my money on him.

gdawginkalamazoo

March 31st, 2010
4:06 pm

Well I do have my doubts about Tiger winning it this year. We all thought he was out pounding balls all day on the driving range, practicing and getting better and better. Instead he was out pounding other things. Nobody really knows what effect “not getting any” will have on him.

The Ghost Of Bobby Jones

March 31st, 2010
5:21 pm

Some interesting shot makers have shown up here on the grounds.So here is some info for your calcutta decisions boys—Poulter–Bombing it off the tee -throwin’ darts to the green–Rod Pampling– Strong -very steady—Longshot Richard Green.I’ll be under the big tree out back-hope to see you

rector

March 31st, 2010
8:14 pm

8rd or close. I’ll recount to be sure.

[...] will win Masters. AJC. [...]

Rob

April 1st, 2010
4:12 pm

Poulter could have a good run this year. He has the all-around game, and he would certainly be able to find some pants that didn’t clash with green.

But — I’m a’ tellin’ ya right now to watch out for Freddy. He loves the course, always seems to play well (final pairing on Sunday in ‘06), and is putting the lights out on the senior tour. Still hits it far enough, but can the back hold up?

Either way, I will be watching with pimento cheese in hand!

Arlo

April 1st, 2010
4:33 pm

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…….

Aw Bullock's

April 1st, 2010
4:35 pm

I hear Jesse james is caddying for Tiger at this years Masters, then they will rideshare to their Sexual Addiction clinic.

TeeOff

April 1st, 2010
4:38 pm

I read that Tiger is practicing with Couples on Monday. Man, he needs to get this sex thing under control!

Rick

April 1st, 2010
4:43 pm

Did I hear Couples? That’s the man to watch this Masters…Get em Freddy!

JF McNamara

April 1st, 2010
4:46 pm

Tiger. He’s going to me motivated, and we all know what happens when he’s motivated. He may win by 5 or more strokes.

Eaassyy

April 1st, 2010
4:52 pm

who can hit a high draw and putt? 1. ernie 2. tiger 3. phil (he hits a fade but leftie, rarely in the fairway btw 4. camilo 5. ogilvy

ernie’s game is by far the sharpest of this bunch.

KayMay

April 1st, 2010
5:38 pm

Tiger should finish in last place — because he is a loser.

GenG.Custer

April 1st, 2010
6:08 pm

Couples. Freddy’s coming off 3 wins and a final 62. He’s on fire.

Build a bridge and get over it

April 1st, 2010
6:34 pm

If Tiger is a loser, then what are the mistresses that dated him called? He gutter-dived in Hooters, porn sets and such, so I guess they were the top of the bottom of the barrel?? Tiger just might take it, because he is a Sportsman and is good at his craft. His sexual prowess snd desire for dumpster-diving have NOTHING to do with his golf skills!!

juggs

April 1st, 2010
7:37 pm

It’ll be Tiger. Bet on it.

Honest Abe

April 1st, 2010
8:14 pm

Who cares. It’s an ugly jacket anyway.

Chris Broe

April 1st, 2010
9:06 pm

Lovin’ the way Els is playin lately. Like his chances at the Masters.

It’s like he can’t get in trouble. He always hits out of it. He really is a beautiful golfer.

If you play golf, and lose about 26 golfballs every nine holes, then you can really appreciate a golfer like Ernie Els. Sometimes I hit the ball, and have no idea where it went. It’s just gone. Even on the driving range this happens. I really hate that.

But I doubt that Ernie Els will lose 26 golfballs when he plays the front nine at the Masters.

sweetpea

April 1st, 2010
9:11 pm

Tiger told me that I was the only one he loved and promised that he would take me with him….I feel scorned that he would even think about playing without taking me with him. LOSE TIGER!!!! LOSE!!!!!

MG

April 2nd, 2010
3:52 pm

I’ve actually played Augusta Nationa;.

Here’s how it went: If it went left it was a hook; if it went right it was a slice: If it went straight it was a miracle.

Patton

April 2nd, 2010
9:53 pm

First of all, let’s get his name correct……it’s Eldrick……not Tiger……no more cute nicknames for the perverts out there!! Use his correct name from now on! And he doesn’t even make the cut!!!

Wasn't a Golf Fan until Tiger!

April 2nd, 2010
10:19 pm

Tiger will win. Either by golf or popularity!

Bill

April 2nd, 2010
11:34 pm

Let’s hope the media frenzy is held to a dull roar. I hope the loudest sounds are the boo’s from the patrons each time TW tee’s it up. He’s truly another sports star who is quite simply, just another piece of garbage. His arrogance is finished. I suspect his media interview will be another scripted, limited question event with Tiger avoiding all his issues. Still to be answered; why the early morning exit from his house on Thanksgiving? Sorry Tiger, the info is not in the police report, you decided not to speak with the Florida Highway Patrol.

Bill/Miami, FL

simon

April 5th, 2010
4:34 am

Ian Poulter for me he has the style the game and that killer instinct,but most importantly he can putt, dont put your house on him but he is a good place bet

[...] Last week, we addressed some of the favorites to win this year’s Masters in this story: http://blogs.ajc.com/all-things-masters/2010/03/31/who-will-win-the-masters-2/ [...]

new hole

April 7th, 2010
1:26 pm

Tiger…over here….behind the 10th tee.