Rickie Fowler, Jason Day, Bubba Watson among Favorites to Win the Masters

By Whicker, Mark | Daily News (Los Angeles, CA), April 8, 2015 | Go to article overview

Rickie Fowler, Jason Day, Bubba Watson among Favorites to Win the Masters


Whicker, Mark, Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)


AUGUSTA, Ga. » The chalk says Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth and Bubba Watson are the three looming forces at the Masters, which starts Thursday morning, and that makes perfect sense. But only four of the past 12 Masters champs have been fourth or higher in the world rankings at the time of the first shot.

The field is jammed with contenders, some of whom might not be aware of it. Zach Johnson was No. 56 when his Masters began in 2007. Angel Cabrera was No. 69. Three of the past four champs had not won a major before.

This Top 10 does not include a few prominent wild-cards.

Tiger Woods is beaming as if he feels that he has finally righted his game. If he is truly healthy, he is an obvious problem for everyone.

Henrik Stenson has putted as well as he ever has this year, but doesn't have much of an Augusta record.

Sergio Garcia, now 35, has played superb golf the past two years and might finally have his emotions in check.

So it's a lot like the Kentucky Derby. A big field and a potentially rough trip.

Here's a guesstimate at how the scoreboard will look, late Sunday night:

1. RICKIE FOWLER: Fowler could have worn an orange tiara and still walked into Augusta National unnoticed. He has not had a Top 10 finish on tour this year. He did, however, finish in the top five in all four majors in 2014. Being inconspicuous is a virtue at this moment, and the swing changes he has made with Butch Harmon are designed for these moments.

2. JASON DAY: Day has finished second, third and 20th in the three Masters he has finished. His thumb is healed, he had a confidence-building playoff win in San Diego, and he doesn't have to bear the burden of the "first Australian" to win (because Adam Scott won in 2013).

3. BUBBA WATSON: In truth, Watson could be the favorite every year. He won in 2012 and 2014 and has the perfect blend of weapons: a high left-handed cut, amazing distance, and a much-improved putter. He has played consistently this year and has already handled Sunday afternoon. …

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