PGA – MY 2013 MASTERS PREDICTIONS
The easiest and most obvious choice to win. He’s on a roll right now plain and simple.
Even if we cast aside Tiger’s 4 previous Masters wins (’97, ’01, ’02, ’05) in 18 appearances, he’s playing phenomenal golf in 2013 and will be hard to beat. So far this year, in only 3 months, he’s won 3 tournaments and regained the world #1 ranking.
PGA stats for 2013 reveal that Woods has been getting it done by playing well in the following categories: Eagles; par 5 birdies; putting; birdie conversions; birdies per round; and par 3 birdies.
And, he’ll need those skills to conquer Augusta National. Putting is especially key at that course due to undulating greens and several strategically placed water and bunker hazards. Clutch putting could also help if accuracy is even slightly off from the tee or deceptive wind wreaks havoc on iron play.
Tiger also has what most other players do not: nerve. He’s got his swagger back and when he’s mentally strong, he’s impossible to beat when he has a lead. This is good for him and bad for competitors. That swagger is awfully intimidating. His name on the top of the leader board could make the mentally vulnerable fall apart, a definite advantage.
Finally, I’m sure Tiger must lose sleep at night wondering if he’ll ever break Jack Nicklaus’ current record of most men’s major championship wins. It would be hard to do, but not impossible by the way he’s been playing lately. This will be another motivation for him to notch another major on his belt.
Mickelson already has 1 win on the year (Waste Management Open) and his stats are very favorable in 2013. He is ranked 4th in putting; 3rd in birdie conversions; 2nd in birdies per round; 3rd in par breakers; and 4th in par 3 birdies. He also has been above average in greens in regulation and has the longest drive on tour this year. No, I’m not kidding: 450.
Phil’s experience will be mentally invaluable at Augusta too. His first major championship win came here (’04) and he was able to do it 2 other times (’06, and ’10). With this success, he won’t be intimidated by the course or even Tiger.
It’ll come down to Phil’s genius in his short game and if he can be consistent. Same old story.
Schwartzel has been quietly getting it done on the European Tour so far this year in 2013. He is currently ranked 2nd overall in the Race to Dubai standings, has 1 win (Alfred Dunhill Championship), came in 2nd at the Joburg Open, and tied for 4th at the Malaysian Open.
Schwartzel is also top ranked in the following Euro tour categories this year: Low score average; driving accuracy; driving distance; GIR; putting; and sand saves.
Oh yeah, and there was that prior Masters win in 2011 when he won it by 2 strokes to become the third South African winner of the event. He’s proven his game is ripe for this course with this win and I like his game right now.
He’s ranked #3 in the world behind Rory & Tiger. And, he’s been playing well in 2013. Out of 4 events entered, he’s made 3 cuts, and had 3 top 10’s. His game could fit in well with Augusta too if he continues putting well. However, one feels as if mentally he may not be strong enough to take on Augusta’s demands. If he could somehow break down that barrier and win at Augusta, that could open the floodgates of potential for this Englishman, which I think is great.
Those who read my articles on a regular basis or follow me on Twitter know that I really like the game of this kid. He’s got it all: distance, iron play, putting, and sand play. But, his confidence isn’t there. He needs to buff this area up in order to put together big wins which he is capable of. I hope he gets it done at Augusta which would also be a huge boost for him. He’s already come very close in 2011 where he came in 2nd place behind Schwartzel.
I have to admit that I’m not exactly sure how Bubba won this event last year. No, I’m not implying that he doesn’t have game, of course he does. He’s supremely talented. But he can be very inconsistent and his game seems to be unbalanced overall. For example, he was the longest driver on tour overall last year, but he wasn’t very accurate. His putting has also suffered (157th in 2012). But, he can shape a shot like no other and has very good iron play (2nd in GIR – 2012). Can he pull it off again this year?
Source : CBS Sports Golf Stats
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