By Zach Cole
It is the early weeks of April, which signals that golf’s first major, The Masters Tournament is here, with this year’s tournament being the most anticipated one yet.
With the biggest names in golf, like Phil Mickelson, Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Bubba Watson, Sergio Garcia, Jason Day, and Jon Rahm winning at least one tournament this season heading into Augusta.
Other showcase names like Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose, and Hideki Matsuyama may not have a win yet this season but with all their talent they could have a chance come the back nine on Sunday to put on a Green Jacket.
With all the big names the main focus, another headline coming is the return of the fourteen-time major champion and the favorite for this week, Tiger Woods.
Woods will no doubt be the talk of the week.
His game is trending in the right direction after finishing tied for second at the Valspar Championship and a tied for a fifth-place finish at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. The biggest question for Woods this week is if he can keep the driver in the fairway. His driver has been his biggest problem this year.
At the Valspar Championship, where he finished tied for second, he was able to get around that golf course without having to hit the driver every hole. At The Masters, it is a different story.
If Woods can drive the ball solid this week, come Sunday he will have a chance to put on his fifth green jacket and show the world watching he is officially back winning major championships.
Going back to other big names in golf, Justin Thomas has been the hottest player this year. He has one victory at The Honda Classic, two top-five finishes in his last two starts, and two top-tens. He has a chance, with a great finish this week, to take over the number one player in the world from Dustin Johnson.
Right behind Thomas, Bubba Watson is coming into The Masters playing some high-quality golf. Bubba has two victories this season at The Genesis Open and the WGC-Match Play. At the Match Play, Bubba dominated each one of his competitors on the road to victory. In his championship match against Kevin Kisner, Bubba won convenience winning 7 & 6 (7 Up with six holes to play). Watson has won The Masters twice before in 2012 and 2014, and with his form he has been on lately, he can win The Masters for the third time.
My prediction for this week is McIlroy will complete golf’s grand slam come Sunday. Mcllroy has won four major championships including the U.S. Open, The Open Championship, and the PGA Championship twice.
If he wins The Masters that would complete the Grand Slam. Only five players in history have completed the Grand Slam. I am picking Mcllroy this week because his game is trending in the right direction. In his last stroke play event, he shot 64 to win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. When McIlroy plays at his best he is extremely tough for anyone to beat him.