2018 The Masters Picks, Including the Driver-Off-The-Deck BOLD Play of the Week #isitThursdayyet

Hello friends, and welcome to the 2018 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 much hillier it is than it seems on tv, the unbelievable practice facilities, the big oak tree by the clubhouse, the fact that at the start of the day you can go set a chair anywhere within any hole’s seating gallery and it’ll be there waiting for you as you please….ah yes, I could go on and on and on.  I’ve had the list of every 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.

My picks last week at the Houston Open were not too shabby, as Lockzilla Daniel Berger rallied on the weekend to a t-18th finish and Driver-off-the-Deck BOLD play of the week Grayson Murray posted a solid t-14th finish.  My Hosel-Rocket BUST pick of the week Phil Mickelson didn’t miss the cut, but relatively speaking was not worth the investment, as some he posted some big numbers and ultimately finished t-24th.

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

LOCKZILLA (Last week: Berger t-18th)

Jason Day
Jason Day
– While all the buzz this week is around Bubba, DJ, Spieth, Rory, Phil and others, this major champion flies in undoubtedly more under the radar than he should be.  Sans a WD in 2012, his worst Masters finish in 7 appearances is t-28th, including a 2nd in ’11 and a 3rd in 2013.  I remember watching him surge to his runner-up finish in person at Augusta in 2011 and said to myself that guy would be wearing a green jacket one day.  Instead of following the masses this week, scoop up every last bit of JD this week.

SEMI-FLIER (Last week: An t-52nd)

Adam Hadwin
Adam Hadwin
– While relatively inexperienced at the major championship level (second Masters appearance, t-36th last year), I believe it’s only a matter of time before he bounds into contention on the weekend with the game’s greats.  I may be jumping the gun this week, but with his solid, consistent form so far this season (including t-12th or better in his last 3 stroke play tourneys) I’m willing to take the risk.

HOSEL-ROCKET BUST (Last week: Phil t-24th)

Jordan Spieth
Jordan Spieth
– I’d love for his t-3rd finish at the Houston Open last week to be the jump start that his game needs to be back in to Spieth-like form.  But, I watched enough of the coverage last week to be able to tell you that the demons are still dancing with delight in the 24-year-old’s head on the greens, and Augusta is no such place to enter without confidence with the flatstick.  Yep, his record here is incredible– t-2nd, 1st, t-2nd, t-11th.  But, again, he’s not the same guy upstairs that he has been in years past.  Nope, I’m not worried about Spieth long term.  But, for the here and now, I’m staying away.  You can thank me later.

DRIVER-OFF-THE-DECK BOLD PLAY OF THE WEEK (Last week: Murray t-14th)

Xander Schauffele
Xander Schauffele
– It’s X’s first Masters and only his fourth ever major championship, but major pedigree flows freely through this 24-year-old’s veins.  T-18th, t-9th and t-17th in his past 3 stroke play events on Tour, not too shabby of a way to follow-up on his monster rookie season last year as he won twice, including the Tour Championship.  One of the sweetest swings on Tour and also sneaky long (heck, I could probably even remove “sneaky,” as he can just flat out bomb it), and I fully expect for him to make a big splash in his Augusta debut this week.

#isitThursdayyet

Joel Harrington
@joel4deepgolf

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