Winter Academy
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I know spring officially starts in late March, but for golf fans it is really the Masters that indicates the true arrival of spring. This year’s event looks to full of story lines as this event always is and the field seems to be stacked full of great young players looking to make everyone forget about the absence of Tiger. Here is the breakdown of this year’s top players as I see it.

 The Favourite

Dustin Johnson
He has won his last 3 starts so he is the clear favourite. Some are concerned with his left to right ball flight at Augusta, but that didn’t seem to bother Jack and it shouldn’t bother Dustin either. Two top 6 finishes the last two Masters shows he can contend. He should contend again this week unless he runs away with it all together.

 The Contenders

  • Rory McIlroy
    Back from injury and looking like he is in good form as evident from his T7 finish in Mexico. Rory has finished top 10 in his last three Masters as well and is looking to complete his career grand slam.
  • Jordan Spieth
    He is not at his best, but his putting is showing signs of returning to form. He has won this year to go along with a T12 in Mexico at the WGC. Has not finished outside the top 2 in the last three Masters.
  • Rickie Fowler
    Rickie is in fine form with a win this year and a T# last week in Houston. His worst finish in his last 5 events was a T16 in Mexico. Best Masters finish was T5 in 2014.
  • Justin Rose
    Justin has four top 10’s in the Masters which includes three of the last five years. He has three top 10’s on the PGA Tour since late January.
  • Paul Casey
    Maybe not the most obvious choice, but Casey has finished in the top 6 the last two Masters and has four top 10’s all time at Augusta. Has had a steady, but unspectacular year.
  • Jason Day
    He has three top 10’s at Augusta including a T10 finish last year. Tough to evaluate his year this year as he has not played much and has had his Mother’s health to deal with. He seems comfortable with where her health stands right now so he may be ready to contend this week.
  • Hideki Matsuyama
    He was the hottest golfer in the world a couple months ago, but has cooled off recently. He has finished T5 and T7 in the last two Masters. He has the game to win at Augusta.
  • Jon Rahm
    This is his first Masters, but his game should be well suited with a great short game and plenty of length off the tee. Jon has five top 10’s in his last six events including a win at Torrey Pines.
  • Brandy Snedeker
    Brandy has three top 10’s in the Masters and has three top 10’s in his last six PGA tour starts.

  Honourable Mention

  • Lee Westwood
    Five top 10’s in his last 7 Masters. He just has a reputation for poor final rounds if he is in contention.
  • Phil Mickelson
    Once a sure thing to contend at Augusta has missed the cut twice in the last three years. The one made cuts was a T2 finish in 2015.
  • Thomas Pieters
    Has the length and the all-around game as shown in the Ryder Cup and the Mexico WGC event earlier this year.
  • Daniel Berger
    T10 in last year’s Masters. Hits it a mile and shows signs of being ready to compete.
  • Matthew Fitzpatrick
    T7 in the Masters last year. He has finished inside the top 20 his last 3 tour events.
  • Ross Fisher
    Very limited Master experience, but has plenty of length off the tee and has been inside the top 6 in his last three WGC events.


Enjoy the golf!


Rob Brandon, Director of Golf, Cardinal Golf Club

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