6th April 2015
UPDATE – Jordan Spieth won the 2015 US Masters with a record equalling -18 score (64, 66, 70, 70 = 270), beating Phil Mickelson and Justin Rose by 4-shots.
As we all know predicting the winner of a golf tournament is far from easy. However, with The Masters our chances are better than normal – that’s because it is a Major, it is played on the same course every year and most importantly it has the smallest field of any of these four elite events.
Firstly, let’s get ourselves in the mood by putting Don Cherry’s ‘Augusta’ on repeat play.
In 2015 there are a few more players at Augusta National than normal, with a total of 99 qualifying for the famous early season Invitational.
The broad rules for determining the winner are well known – so here is my interpretation of them. I like to deduce the winner by visually removing the Green Jacket from individual players one-by-one.
1. Amateurs and Special Invitees are there for historic reasons only.
Connors, Dominguez, Harvey, Meth, Murdaca, Neil, Yang (7)
2. Rookie’s don’t win – on average winner’s are playing at Augusta for the 7th time.
Compton, Hahn, Harman, M. Hoffmann, Koepka, Lahiri, Lowry, Noh, Streb, Todd, Tringale, Wiesberger, Willett (13)
3. Former Major / Past Champions that are clearly well past their best can be discounted.
Couples, Crenshaw, Langer, Lyle, Mize, O’Meara, Olazabel, Singh, T. Watson, Weir, Woosnam (11)
4. Over 40s can’t cope with the length and short-game demands now placed upon them. The average age of a winner is around 33.
Bjorn, Cabrera, Clarke, Els, Furyk, Harrington, Jaidee, Jimenez, Mickelson, Senden, Stricker, Westwood (12)
5. ‘In The Hole’ and ‘Mashed Potato’ – those with limited or no experience of playing in the US normally struggle.
Donaldson, Dubuisson, Ilonen, Luiten (4)
6. It is unlikely that a player will win the Masters without having competed well in a Major before. Ask yourself if they have a Top 10 finish in a Major on their record ?
Bae, Crane, Every, Gallacher, Grace, Haas, Henley, C. Hoffman, Holmes, Kirk, Martin, Moore, Palmer, Streelman, Villegas, Woodland (16)
That was easy – questions 1-6 have eliminated 63 of the 99 entries. Anyone who makes this ‘cut’ obviously has a chance to win but further tests can usefully be applied to reduce the field even further: –
7. ‘Horses for Courses’ – Augusta simply doesn’t suit some players. What does their track record and TV interviews tell us ?
Bradley, Donald, Dufner, Kaymer, Matsuyama, McDowell, Reed, Simpson, Stenson (9)
8. Did they play last year and if so how did they get on ? Recent good memories must help.
Blixt, Casey, Clark, Immelmann, Z. Johnson, Leishman (WD), Na (7)
9. Is their putting and chipping really up to it ?
Day, Ogilvy, Schwartzel, Scott, Woods (5)
10. ‘Bottle’ – have they shown the mental fortitude required to win a Major, let alone the historic Masters ?
Fowler, Garcia, Horschel, D. Johnson, Kucher, Mahan, Snedeker, Stadler (8)
So for our potential winner the above analysis leaves just seven players –
McIlroy, Oosthuizen, Poulter, Rose, Spieth, Walker, B. Watson (7)
Take your pick from these seven who I believe should all achieve high finishes.
As no European has won for 15 years (McIlroy, Poulter and Rose), Oothuizen hasn’t shown enough recent form, Spieth has contended twice in the last two weeks thus peaking too soon and as defending Majors is extremely difficult (Watson) I think I’ll go for Jimmy Walker. An encouraging Masters debut last year (T8), experience contending in other recent Majors, American, a good age (36) and maintaining great form over an extended period. Hopefully a little bit of value too.
Copyright © 2015, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.