2017 The Masters Picks, Including the Driver-Off-The-Deck BOLD Play of the Week #isitThursdayyet

Hello friends, and welcome to the 2017 Masters (Jim Nantz voice).  The tournament that needs no introduction is finally here.  Heck, even my golfs-twice-a-year-at-most wife is excited.  It truly is a tradition unlike any other.  A continuous loop all week on the Masters music?  Um, yes please!

Having been lucky enough to stroll the verdant Augusta National landscape three times in person, all I can say is that if it isn’t already on your bucket list to either attend and/or play, then you need to have your brain waves examined.  There are no words to describe its magnificent beauty, the perfectly manicured EVERYTHING, the azaleas, the $1.50 pimento cheeses, the no cell phone policy, the par 3 course, the undulation of the greens, how hilly it is, the big oak tree by the clubhouse….ah yes, I could go on and on and on.  I’ve had the list of winners at the Masters memorized since I was 18, yep, pretty much straight obsessed with the place.

So, who’s my pick to don the green jacket this year?  Who will surprise and who’s the major bust of the week?  Who will secretly eat all the pimento cheese?  Well, keep on reading my friends.

Streak Alert!  I spot on nailed a winner in back-to-back columns in picking Russell Henley last week at the Shell Houston Open (I picked Leishman 2 weeks prior at Bay Hill).

Now, let’s hop into some picks for this week:

LOCKZILLA (Last week: Phil t-55th)

Jason Day
Jason Day
– It’s been a tumultuous 2017 for the OWGR #3 to say the least, with his Mom’s cancer diagnosis and subsequent surgery, as well as some continued injury battles earlier in the year.  No question about it, there’s some heavy risk in picking the Aussie this week.  But, this is Jason freaking Day we’re talking about here folks.  Sans a WD in 2012, his worst Masters finish in 6 appearances is t-28th, including a t-10th last year, a 2nd in ’11 and a 3rd in 2013.  I remember watching him surge to his runner-up finish in person in 2011 and say to myself that guy would be wearing a green jacket one day.  He’s been on the grounds for days already practicing in prep for his second major title, and I fully expect him to have his game dialed in come Thursday.  Instead of following the masses in picking DJ this week, reverse those initials and scoop up every last bit of JD this week and thank me later.

SEMI-FLIER (Last week: Henley WINNER WINNER CHICKEN DINNER)

Brooks Koepka
Brooks Koepka
– It’s been a year to forget thus far for the 26-year-old Florida native, as he has yet to crack the top 40 in any stroke play event since November (yikes!).  Well, eventually talent supersedes slumps, as Brooks played sneaky solid at the WGC Match Play two weeks ago in Austin and is primed for a solid week.  He finished t-33rd and t-21st at Augusta in his first two appearances and with his prodigious length off the tee will make mincemeat of the par 5s again this week.  As long as he avoids the big numbers, look for a top 20 from Brooks this week with much higher upside.

HOSEL-ROCKET BUST (Last week: Cantlay t-39th)

Dustin Johnson
Dustin Johnson
– Sorry folks, I’m not auto-rostering DJ like there rest of Planet Earth this week.  Obviously, he’s the hottest golfer in the world right now and seems to be a shoe-in to don the green jacket come Sunday, and even though he might block out (or be oblivious to) heavy media attention better than anyone, I just have this wildly crazy gut feeling that he makes some catastrophic mistakes this week, leading to big numbers and ultimately way out of contention.  He was crazy impressive in his most recent of three victories at the WGC Match Play, but I’m noting right now that his miss that week with his mid and short irons was short right, and that will massively get you into trouble at the Masters (hole #12 anyone?).  I know, it’s crazy and outright blasphemy to slot him as my BUST.  But hey, you shouldn’t expect anything different in this space.

DRIVER-OFF-THE-DECK BOLD PLAY OF THE WEEK (Last week: M Hoffmann t-39th)

Jim Furyk
Jim Furyk
– Missing The Masters due to injury last year and missing the cut here in 2015 are sure to throw many off old Jimbo’s scent this week, but with oodles of Augusta experience coupled with the high winds forecast for Thursday and Friday, I’m going heavy on the veteran this week.  Lest we all forget, from ’03 until ’14, Furyk finished higher than t-33rd here only once (MC in ’10), notched 8 top 25s here and 5 top 15s.  Not too shabby for someone who is a pea-shooter off the tee and who typically only gets associated with U.S. Opens.  Hasn’t missed a cut since November and is definitely excited to come back to Augusta.  Jim Furyk is your Driver-off-the-Deck BOLD play of the week!

#isitThursdayyet

Joel Harrington
@joel4deepgolf

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