Its that time of the golfing calendar when the first major of the year arrives and a field of 90
Golfers will head to Augusta National for the 2018 masters.
So here in part 1 is a rundown of who could take the green jacket this year.
Eliminating the weakest links
So as with any golf tournament it’s a case of horses for courses and Augusta is the one course where this is more evident than any other on the planet
So, with a field of 90 golfers you can straight away eliminate around 30 % of the field.
First timers have almost zero chance of competing and you can also eliminate the US amateur champ, British amateur champ, Asian-pacific, Latin America, mid am and also the elder guys in the field can be taken out.
Majority of opinion is that to find a winner you have to look at the top 10 or 20 guys in the world and based on the last ten years anyone who’s in hot form is in with a chance.
Another factor is the scoring conditions of the course, a higher winning score will suit the likes of a Sergio Garcia where the harder it is will suit the great ball strikers, but one thing is certain is you can’t be off on any part of your game when faced with Augusta National as you will be found out pretty fast!
With this in mind here’s a rundown of my possible contenders.
Always will be in contention as there is something about Jordan when The Masters comes around
He’s a thinking man’s golfer.
His putting is his strength and Augusta’s greens demand your every ability which Jordan certainly has in bucket loads but also, he has a mental steel that you need to tackle the course.
2. Mental ability
4. Previous winner
The first thing you think of when Dustin’s name is mentioned is driving distance, but the question is does he have the game with the putter to tackle the greens?
He can hit the ball for miles and has worked very hard to dial in his wedge game and is straight enough with his irons but its great to be able to hit the ball miles, but does he have the mental game?
He has the talent to win, but will he?
1. Driving distance
2. Wedge control
3. Straight irons
Rickie has a good track record at August statistically speaking and should on paper have no problems winning a green jacket.
For Rickie his biggest asset can be his undoing at the same time in his aggression in attacking pins and at Augusta you need that balance of knowing which holes you can attack and which you simply must play conservative and take a par because a big score can lurk if you attack.
1. Good ball striking
After last year’s playoff defeat Justin must be a serious contender for a green jacket over the next 2-3 years.
Justin has the mental game and his swing is second to none but some question his putting is quite at the level it should be.
Many would say if his putting is on for all four days he be in contention but given his form at the Arnold palmer especially the comeback from being +4 after 6 holes to -9 after 54 shows his battling qualities.
1. Mental toughness
2. Quality swing
3. Able to dig deep
4. Great ball striking
On paper Jason has everything to win the masters, hits it long, iron play good, short game.
The only thing maybe holding him back is the pressure he puts on himself as this is the one tournament he really wants on his cv and maybe that his driving is a little inaccurate of the tee .
1. Hits it long
2. Great short game
3. Solid iron play
4. Decent putter
The big question is what Rory will turn up at Augusta? Couple that with the mental scars of that ill fated 2011 round and add the little thing of the grand slam of golf into the mix then Rory has a lot of pressure sat firmly on his shoulders around Augusta!
There’s no doubt he can hit the long ball which is made for Augusta but he’s a little wayward as well where you need to be hitting certain spots on the fairway’s and there is also the small issue that Rory cannot putt very well and has a streaky label .
Rory has the talent and has come close but questions remain over his putting and mental game.
1. Hits it long
2. Natural talent
Again, another on paper who has a fantastic chance to win a green jacket and no doubt with the form of last season he could very well be in the mix come Sunday afternoon in Georgia.
The question is will he have that form? He has the skills in his bag to contend but Augusta is a very different beast in the calendar.
1. Natural talent
2. Good ball striking
3. Putts well
4. Good overall short game
So there’s my list of guys who I think will be there battling it out come the Sunday
winter golf tips
so as the cold months roll in and winter takes hold how many of you actually play golf in the winter ?
Surprisingly not many do and normally the weather in the uk this time of year isn't great we do have the odd day where it's a crisp sunny cold day and a excellent chance to sample winter golf and the challenges it presents .
So a few tips to help your game in winter
1. Allow for less roll on wet or soft winter fairways compared to hard summer ones .
2. Be mindful that the golf ball doesn't fly as far in cold winter than in warm sunny days , a recent study showed that the difference being around 2 yards of carry for every 10 degrees drop ( cold air is denser than warm for science geeks ) .
3. Consider changing to a softer ' lower compression ball in winter as it's easier to compress a softer ball .
4. A random one this but to keep golf balls warm ( and last check it was legal ) put them in a pot a hot water for 30 minutes then dry them and put them into a insulated food bag ( I personally haven't tried it myself but may for research purposes ) .
5. A common tip from the tour is keep gloves dry is to put them in a sealed bag and also hang the glove on the rods under the umbrella to stay dry .
6. Simple one to keep a towel dry hang it off the umbrella but keep a spare in the bag too .
7. Rough in winter especially when wet is tough so swing a little harder to get out .
8. As beautiful as a crisp winter day can be to avoid disappointment do except that scoring won't be as good .
9. Greens will be slower when wet and soft .
So these top tips will help you enjoy winter golf more and the different challenge it poses to summer golf , course management and mental toughness will be tested as will ball striking .
Don't let all of this put you off tho from getting out on the course , even just 9 holes can be very beneficial to your winter practise programme .
Enjoy and happy golfing !
A professional golfer sharing blogs on playing the game , how to practise and views from the golf world ,