Who Will Win The 2015 Masters ?

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.

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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.

ME.

Copyright © 2015, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

Latin America Amateur Championship

14th January 2015

A major new Amateur golf event starts tomorrow at Pilar Golf Club, just outside Buenos Aires in Argentina.

The Latin America Amateur Championship (LAAC) has been established by The Masters Tournament, The R&A and the Unites States Golf Association.  This new competition follows in the footsteps of the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship, which was first played in 2009.

This investment in the game is not small. With the help of their sponsors – AT&T, Mercedes and Rolex – all player travel, accommodation and caddie costs are being picked up by the organisers. When everything is added up the event must be costing around US$1m to put on.

The organisers expect the competition to stimulate further growth in the game in South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.  It is great to see the resources of these organisations being used positively to spread the golfing word.

The top 120 male players from the 27 member countries and territories of the International Golf Federation’s Latin America Region have been invited to compete.  The leading players from the area, according to the WAGRs, are Chile’s Guillermo Pereira (6), Venezuela’s Jorge García (38) Costa Rica’s Jose Mendez (40) and Argentina’s Alejandro Tosti (64).

The start sheet for the first two rounds can be viewed here – LAAC Rd. 1 and Rd. 2 Draw

72 holes of stroke play will be played between 15th – 18th January, with the field being cut to the top 60 and ties after 36 holes.  Pilar, which has 27-holes and has previously held the Argentina Open, is a par 71 (36-35) composite course with a championship length of 7,148 yards.

The rewards for the leading players are impressive.  First and foremost the LAAC champion will receive an invitation to compete in the 2015 Masters Tournament.  They will also be afforded a full exemption into the 2015 U.S. Amateur Championship.  Along with the runner-up they will additionally be granted exemptions into both final stage qualifying for the 2015 U.S. Open and International Final Qualifying for the Open Championship.

European Tour Productions have been contracted to broadcast the Championship, with two hours of live coverage per day planned.  It is currently unclear if it will be shown on TV in Europe although live streaming will be available for the event website – www.LAACgolf.com.

Good luck to all the competitors !

ME.

Copyright © 2015, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.