Straight up: I’m picking Dustin Johnson (TaylorMade TP5x) to win the 2019 Masters.
In doing so I am going against my theory of picking the obvious choices.
I normally go with a medium to mega long shot, but like a golfer switching balls or clubs I am trying something new this year. I am going back to basics.
If D.J.’s putting is on, I can’t see him losing.
We all remember two years ago when he was the consensus favorite to win the Masters and suffered a back injury the night before the tournament, falling down some stairs and had to withdraw. It took him many months to get over the problem, mentally and physically.
But I think he is due. He is having a solid season, so he gets my pick.
For the last five years I have been involved in a Masters pool in which you pick four players and the team with the highest under-par wins.
In the inaugural of the tournament, I won it when Jordan Spieth (Titleist Pro V1x) won the Masters. I was the only person who had Spieth on my team.
In subsequent years, some players were removed from consideration because they were the obvious picks: Spieth, Johnson, Rory McIlroy (TaylorMade TP5x), etc. It was called the Wayne Gretzky rule because at the start of a National Hockey League season when fans do pools for total points, Gretzky was the obvious choice to finish first overall. He was so good that not only could you not pick him, you couldn’t take either his goals or assists because even those were better than most every other player’s total points. So no Great One in any way.
Because of the parity in the PGA now, our tournament does not exclude any players.
As an aside, Gretzky is the father-in-law of Johnson. Expect him to be there if D.J. wins.
So for my team I decided to go heavy on the favorites with Johnson, McIlroy, Justin Rose and Paul Casey. A year ago I had Casey and I felt sick when he shot a 74 and 75 after the first two rounds and just made the cut at five over. He rebounded with a 69 and a 65 in the final two rounds, but it was simply too much ground to make up for his woes on the first 36 holes.
I think he has a really good chance this year if he plays consistently throughout.
Rory is the favorite in many Vegas betting shops to finally win the Masters, the only one of the four Majors to elude him. He says he has a new mental attitude and it has worked for the most part, notwithstanding what happened in the World Golf Championships Match Play when he lost in the quarter-finals, beaten by Tiger Woods (Bridgestone Tour B XS).
Incidentally, because of the rules that don’t exclude any player, some people are using Tiger on their team. Hey, he registered a win to finish off the PGA season last year against a tough field and he knows Augusta National as good as any player.
My mother-in-law, Louise Lloyd, loves watching the PGA Tour and we traditionally watch the final round of the Masters at her place – and I get pampered.
She’s been in the tournament the last three years. She likes to play hunches and personal favorites, so she is picking McIlroy, Ricky Fowler (Titleist Pro V1), Jim Furyk (Callaway Chrome Soft) and Spieth. She has a soft spot for Jordan. If he wins it, it will be huge because he’s had so many problems recovering his game the last year and a half. She loves Ricky because, well, he’s a nice guy. My mother just may dress in orange as an homage to Ricky’s alma mater, Oklahoma State University. He deserves to finally win a Major. As for Furyk, it would be one for the ages – 48, specifically – it he wins. And it will bother every golf instructor who will say there’s no way someone should win the Masters with that THAT swing, what has been compared to a figure 8. But it’s not how you swing, it’s how you win the bling. I just made that up and I think I’m going to patent it.
I hope my mother-in-law wins.
My brother, Elliott, a famous concert promoter and a huge sports fan, is joining the tournament this year. Without asking me the four players I picked, he took three of them. It must be the genetics. The lone difference was he picked Brooks Koepka (Titleist Pro V1X), so if it comes down to a battle and we’re neck and neck, it will be Casey vs. Koepka.
I encourage fans to play in one of these pools. They are so much fun.