2019 The Masters Picks, Including the Driver-Off-The-Deck BOLD Play of the Week #isitThursdayyet

Hello friends, and welcome to the 2019 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 winner since 1934 memorized since I was 18. Yep, safe to say that I’m 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 Valero Texas Open (in Twitter form) were highlighted by Semi-Flier Charley Hoffman’s runner-up. I also spot on nailed Ryan Palmer to miss the cut as my Hosel-Rocket BUST of the week.

Now, let’s hop into some picks this week, Masters style!

LOCKZILLA (Last week: Furyk t-23rd)

Matt Kuchar– Yep. Had to go a ways down the board this week for my Lockzilla. While I do really like Justin Rose and Jon Rahm this week, Kuch is my pick to don the green jacket on Sunday. His form is razor sharp right now, with the Match Play runner-up two weeks ago and a cool, cruise control t-7th last week at the Valero. Kuch’s Masters record the past decade is just simply remarkable, with only one finish falling outside the top 30 (t-46th in ’15) and 4 top 10s (3 of those as top 5s, with a t-4th in ’17). Kuch has never won a major and had his dreams dashed by Spieth at the British Open two years back, but frankly even though I wouldn’t admit to this even just a few years ago, I can just see Matty wearing that green blazer mighty proudily. And yep, I can also see some stupid caddie story also popping up after he wins. He’ll hang around all week, not make any big mistakes, be within a few of the lead on Sunday and I believe get it done for his first major victory. Let’s do this Kuch!

SEMI-FLIER (Last week: Hoffman 2nd)

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Tony Finau– Yep, we all remember the ankle story from last year’s Masters. After making a hole-in-one during the Wednesday par 3 tournament, Tony twisted his ankle in celebration, nearly costing him a chance to tee it up on Thursday. What we may not remember is that remarkably he went on to finish t-10th, sore ankle and all. Not too shabby for his first Augusta appearance. So far in 2019, Tony has had a solid, not stellar, but good season thus far, with just one missed cut and 4 top 25s. His prodigious length off the tee will suit him well here, and no question he’ll fly a little under the radar this week. I can already see the story lines coming about this week with recollection back to last year’s ankle injury while he’s in contention this week.

HOSEL-ROCKET BUST (Last week: Palmer MC)

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Jordan Spieth– Obviously it’s been a tough year for the 3-time major champ thus far, with zero stroke play finishes inside the top 30 (in fact last week at the Valero was his best stroke play finish of 2019—t-30th). He’s at the point now where his head is so clouded, so immersed in doubt, so negative that I actually expect for him to miss 3-4 footers when he stands over them, whereas 12+ months ago, anytime he took the putter back it was never a surprise when the ball dropped in the cup, no matter what the distance. He didn’t enter last year’s tourney with the best of form either, although it was notably better than this year (he was t-3rd in Houston the week prior to the Masters), and after a lackluster Fri and Sat he backdoored a podium finish with an incredible Sunday 64. His track record here is remarkable, but way too many demons going on in that noggin of his at the moment. Also, as a good buddy of mine recently pointed out, his relationship with caddie Michael Greller seems to be heading South in a hurry (keep a close eye on that this week). He might put together one good round, but no chance he’s anywhere near the lead come Sunday afternoon.  Stay away and thank me later.


Brandt Snedeker– Lickin’ my chops with this one. Sneds has been rounding into form of late, highlighted by his t-5th at the PLAYERS Championship just a few short weeks back. He has a plethora of Masters experience, with this being his 11th appearance. Of those 11, 5 have been top 20s, highlighted by a t-3rd in ’08, a t-6th in ’13 and a t-10th in ’16. He didn’t qualify last year, so you know he’ll be extra giddy driving down Magnolia lane this year. I do worry a tad about that, as Sneds is definitely someone who can get overly excited and jumpy, but with his solid track record here coupled with his good form of late, another top 10 could certainly be in the cards.


Joel Harrington

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