Who We're Picking
In our first Masters Fantasy Draft, our editors identify their favorites at Augusta
Welcome to GolfDigest.com's first-ever Masters draft. Our first-rate panel of contestants include Geoff Shackelford, Golf Digest and Golf World contributor and the man behind GeoffShackelford.com; Sam Weinman, Web Editor of Golf Digest.com; Ashley Mayo; Associate Editor at Golf Digest; and Alex Myers, Associate Editor at GolfDigest.com.
The goal is to put together five-man teams for a contest that will reward not only picking the winner, but the best collective performance. We hope our selections can also be of use to you, no matter what type of fantasy league or Masters pool you might be a part of. The draft order -- aka the Tiger Woods sweepstakes -- was determined by picking names out of a hat, and Ms. Mayo was the lucky lottery winner.
1. Ashley Mayo: Surprise, surprise, I'm going with Tiger Woods. The man is rolling the ball better than anyone on tour. Literally. He leads all other golfers in the all-important strokes gained putting statistic, and consider this: he made 35 putts of eight feet or longer in his last two starts, and on Saturday at Bay Hill, he made 17 out of 18 putts within 20 feet. At a venue that rewards not only length (which Tiger clearly has) but also precision on the greens, Tiger is undeniably the guy to beat.
2. Alex Myers: Nooooooo! You picked Tiger?! Sigh. OK, I'll take Augusta's No. 2 man of this generation, Phil Mickelson. Lefty showed he has as much firepower as ever when he torched TPC Scottsdale earlier this year for a 28-under total and has showed similar spurts since at Doral and in Houston. Mickelson always seems to play well at Augusta (nine top 5s in the past 12 years) and if not for a wayward tee shot on the par-3 fourth hole on Sunday last year, we'd probably be talking about him going for a fifth green jacket this year.
3. Sam Weinman: A four-time Masters champ and a three-time champ go 1 and 2. You guys are BOLD. I'm going with the mercurial Dustin Johnson, who when he's not off galavanting with Paulina Gretzky, has proven to be capable of some stellar golf this year. Needless to say, he's plenty long to take advantage of Augusta's par 5s.
4. Geoff Shackelford: Mercurial? I suppose you could say that for Brandt Snedeker's rib, but his putter is anything but and if he's healthy enough, this former contender here has to be a top pick going in. Draw a line through the missed cuts at Bay Hill and Houston, his game is built for majors and he'll be ready.
5. Geoff (continued): As for my second pick, Justin Rose is not terribly daring because the World No. 3 seems to be everyone's second choice behind Tiger. Rose has been the most consistent golfer over the last year and though he seems to keep finishing second, he sports T-11 and T-8 finishes in his last two Masters and is must to include on your ticket.
6. Sam: You can have Justin Rose. From what I recall he starts out Masters great. Finishing them? Not so much. I will take Mr. Permagrin, Matt Kuchar, who has picked up two big wins in the past year, and made some noise at Augusta as well. A Masters win would hardly be a surprise.
7. Alex: Darn. I almost took Kuchar with my first pick. OK, I'll bite and take the world's No. 2 player, Rory McIlroy. It is the SEVENTH pick after all. Sure, he's off to a lackluster start to the 2013 season, but he's got the talent to turn things around in a hurry like he did last year at the PGA Championship. Besides, D.A. Points just won after not having finished better than T-63 in his first nine starts of the year.
8. Ashley: With a gaze like Keegan Bradley's, I've gotta go with him for my second pick. He started the year pretty poorly, but the in-your-face Ryder Cupper has clearly regained his game and his confidence. We know he can win a major, so if he can continue his steady play he'll have the wherewithal to stay cool on the back nine at Augusta on Sunday.
9. Ashley (continued): Next, I like Bill Haas. I'm picking him for three main reasons: One, Alex doesn't ever stop talking about him (man crush, I think); two, because he's lurked on the first page of the leader board for a few consecutive weeks now, recording three top-10 finishes in his last three starts; and three, because he's proven he knows how to handle pressure. A flop shot from a lake to save par and win 10 million bucks? NO PROBLEM.
10. Alex: I can't believe you took my man Haas! I hope he plays great the first three rounds because Sundays are not his forte. I'll continue my onslaught of overlooked, high-ranked players by picking Luke Donald. An erratic driver of the ball, but a wizard with the putter, Donald seems most suited to collect his first major championship at Augusta National.
11. Sam: Oh, I'm sorry. Am I up? I was just nodding off after your selection of Luke Donald. Me, I'm going with Louis Oosthuizen, since we all know the guy who loses in a playoff one year usually comes back to win the event the next. OK, so that NEVER happens. But I still like Louis...