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Who is going to win the Masters?

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Rob Hodgetts | 20:59 UK time, Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Augusta, Georgia

The phoney war is over, it is time to get our game faces on. Who is going to win the Masters? Before Phil Mickelson's win at the Houston Open, it was wide open. Now it's wide open with Phil as hot favourite.

To find out who will don the Green Jacket on Sunday, we are going to work as a team and do it my way. I've quizzed the brains trust here at Augusta. You read what they reckon, then tell us what you reckon. Got it? Let's go.

Peter Alliss
It really is just like the Grand National at Aintree. There are so many here with a pedigree and to pick one out is, well.... there are so many. Of course I hope for a European but it all depends on the occasion - they have got to avoid being overwhelmed by the occasion. It's a cathedral atmosphere out there, without the silence. You go into these bottom corners and there are thousands of people and they're very pro-American, so the Europeans have got to overcome that. I hate picking one but I'll say Luke Donald - they say he's too short to win here, but I don't think so. And he and I are honorary members of Beaconsfield Golf Club so I'll say him.

Big week: The way Martin Kaymer plays is very impressive and although his record here is not great he might surprise some people.

Wayne Grady
Justin Rose. He's won over here now and got that monkey off his back and has had good starts here before so he likes the Augusta course.

Big week: Phil Mickelson's record here is second to none and he won last week, so he's got a lot of confidence.

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Masters 2011: BBC experts preview the Augusta action

Ken Brown
The first question is, is it a Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson year? I have a feeling not this time, so I'm going with Lee Westwood. He has the complete game, deserves to win a major and would be a popular winner.

Big week: I've had this thing over the last eight months about Luke Donald, but if the course is at all wet it is a monster for him. I'd love to say Rory McIlroy, but his putter might let him down.

Iain Carter
5 live
Nick Watney. He's already putting together a decent Masters record and is having an exceptional season - he won the biggest strokeplay event so far at Doral and 13th is his lowest finish all year. So he is the genuine form horse and has every reason for confidence.

Big week: Padraig Harrington. He bubbled with confidence in Houston last week, but was frustrated he was too tentative and quite enjoys being Europe's forgotten man and will be very keen to send out a reminder.

Andrew Cotter
Like everyone else I will go with Phil Mickelson. He's got an astonishing record at the Masters - he's played 18 and has had 13 top-10 finishes. It's a remarkable record and he's got a remarkable record even coming into the Masters when he's playing badly in the weeks before. He's obviously the man to beat, though very few have won the week before. Sandy Lyle did it in 1988.

Big week: Justin Rose. He's playing great and seems calm and assured. He's working well with coach Sean Foley and his putting seems to be coming together. Added to that he's got a pretty good record here. Like Ben Crenshaw said at the Ryder Cup about his players: "I've just got a feeling". Though they're often wrong, those feelings.

Scott Michaux
Augusta Chronicle
Luke Donald. It's going to be so warm this week, it will help him get out there a little bit further so he can take advantage of his strengths around the greens. I'm picking Phil Mickelson as runner-up because he might win it.

Big week: Another left-hander Bubba Watson. Lefties do well here, he shapes it well and is starting to come into his own. Nick Watney is another guy I really feel strongly will contend here. Of the Europeans, I don't believe Martin Kaymer or Graeme McDowell will be the ones - I don't think they have figured out this course yet. There are six Englishmen in the field and at least five have a strong chance. But I think Luke Donald is the one.

John Hopkins
The Times
Pretty unoriginal - Phil Mickleson. He's fitter than last year, healthier than last year, happier than last year and if can win when he isn't as fit as he is now, isn't as healthy as he is now and isn't as happy as he is now, surely he can win again?

Big week: There's this new wave of young Americans coming from other sporting backgrounds, such as Dustin Johnson and Nick Watney, who hit the ball miles. I'll say Watney. He's very athletic, he's a good putter and he's strong.

Derek Lawrenson
Daily Mail
I think a left hander will win but I don't think it will be the one everyone is saying. I think it will be Bubba Watson. He has the shape of shot, the length, the short game and I think he's probably just about ready to win a major. I like the way he's trained on in the last six months.

Big week: Aaron Baddeley. He's a great putter and hits the ball a long way, which are the attributes needed and seems to have the nerve. He went back to his old coach at the start of the year and is starting to play a lot better.

Geoff Russell
Golf World US
I like Luke Donald because Tim Rosaforte (Senior Writer for Golf Digest and Golf World) told me about him. He's the number four player in the world so he's obviously very talented and capable. His strength is his short game which is very important here and his weakness is he doesn't always drive it straight which is not so important here compared to the other majors.

Big week: Tiger Woods is going to do better than people think. I don't think he's recovered by any stretch of the imagination but if he's going to play well anywhere this is the place. The old magic could come back. But he won't win.

Damon Hack
Sports Illustrated
Phil Mickelson. Shot 63, 65 in Houston the week before, has three Green Jackets, is as comfortable and confident as he's ever been and could be the best player in the world at the end of the week.

Big week:Brandt Snedeker. He finished behind Trevor Immelman a couple of years ago and loves this place. Tom Watson's his boyhood idol and he may have a surprise in store for us this week.

Kevin Garside
Daily Telegraph
Winner: Bubba Watson.
I followed him for a few holes and watched him hit the ball and he was long, straight and putting very nicely.

Big week: Nick Watney. If he can continue to show the form he did when winning the WGC CA Championship at Doral he will be a big threat.

Neil McLeman
Daily Mirror
It looked wide open a week ago but Phil Mickelson, with his current form and pedigree around here, has got to be the red-hot favourite.

Big week: Dustin Johnson. He hits it a long way, has gone so close and done very well at the last two US majors, especially Whistling Straits, and has got a good chance.

Mark Garrod
Press Association
I've said Phil Mickelson all along. He is so suited to here and is confident with the form he brings from last week.

Big week: Luke Donald to chase him hard because of his short game. Showed at the Match Play when he's on he is as good as anyone on and around the greens.

Max Adler
Golf Digest
Winner: Bubba Watson.
He's a left-hander, hits a fade which sets up perfectly here, hits it high, hits it long and is a good putter - that's generally the recipe for winning here.

Big week: Luke Donald. He's been playing great this year with his win at the Match Play. Even though he's not a long hitter, those guys get overlooked coming into the Masters. He shot five under in the par-three contest and with conditions being firm and fast with the hot weather he could still shoot low here.

Neil Squires
Daily Express
Winner: Paul Casey.
He's got the perfect game for here, he's overdue and it would be a nice chance for him to prove he's not what Johnny Miller said, a choker.

Big week: You can't look past Phil Mickelson. He's the perfect man for here, is in good form but the challenge of winning back-to-back might be a stiff one for him.

Jamie Corrigan
The Independent
Winner: Luke Donald.
He's got the best short game in the world and I don't think his lack of length will be a factor with the fast-running conditions.

Big week: Nick Watney. Of this new breed of Americans he is the most solid and this place will suit him. His win in Doral will give him the confidence he needs to compete in a major.

Rob Hodgetts
BBC Sport website
In hindsight it now seems blindingly obvious that Phil Mickelson was going to win last year and while I tipped him for this year the minute that was over I'm getting less sure. He's clearly brilliant around this course but I wonder if this weight of expectation might not be a bit too much, given victory would take him to four Green Jackets alongside Arnold Palmer. So I'm picking Justin Rose - his record here is tremendous if you count leading at some stage on every day without going on to win good. There's always the danger of that rogue round from him, but then again, maybe not this time. Brilliantly, I delayed my picks until after the par three which means I can now discount Luke Donald.

Big week: I'm having two because it's my blog. I think Dustin Johnson will feature prominently this week. He's long, not afraid to be at the top of leaderboards and has felt the heat at the sharp end of a couple of majors. And KJ Choi. He's been third and fourth here and has had some good results on tour this year. Amid all this talk of young Americans and Euros, we may have forgotten the rest of the world.


  • Comment number 1.

    I like the way World No. 1 Kaymer isn't being touted by the experts and hope he quitely goes about his business only to head the leaderboard on Sunday evening as I've backed him to win at 20-1 ! If he fails to win then any Englishman will do ;-)

  • Comment number 2.

    I think that Justin Rose will either win or come very close this year. In his last two PGA tournaments he has finished 5th, indeed in the first of the two he really should have won.

    As one of the BBC pundits points out, Justin has won twice on the PGA tour last year, so he finally knows how to win on what is a much tougher tour than the European.

    I noticed that Tiger Woods is the bookies choice in Las Vegas !!, I would concur with Poulter and say that Woods will not make the top 5 (new swing notwithstanding).


    1. Rose
    2. Choi
    3. Mahan
    4. Lefty
    5. Kaymer
    6. Stricker
    7. Donald
    8. Westwood

  • Comment number 3.

    I have backed Matt Kucher at 33/1 and as an outsider I have backed Gary Woodland as an outsider at 150/1. I know that apart from Fuzzy nobody has won the masters first time out. But Woodland has been playing well and drives the ball longer than tiger, which is a big advantage around here.

  • Comment number 4.

    On the outsider front, which is always more fun and provides better trading options, I've gone for Garcia at 80 (ok that was more from a dream my friend had that he wins it), Goosen at 75 Couples at 250, Jiminez at 290 and DL3 at 580 because Masters pedigree is so important. I admit I also put a sentimental £1 on Olazabal at 1000 but i really don't see it. I honestly don't think it's feasible to predict who is going to win this year though. The good weather will help bring more players into the mix - everyone talks about the short game which isn't always true when it's a bit softer because I think great iron play is more important, but as soon as the weather is good, it's all about the, currently I'd say Donald, Mickelson, Watney or maybe Stricker

  • Comment number 5.

    No idea who's going to win but I will be rooting for Padraig Harrington and Graeme McDowell - both have the game to win just about anywhere and both are mentally strong enough having already broken their Major ducks.

  • Comment number 6.

    I can't look past Luke Donald; I just have a really good feeling about him this year. Bar Saturday which looks like it could have some rain it looks hot and dry which should play in to Donald's superb short game.

    Rob do you not think this could be the year the Par 3 hoodoo is broken?

    Read my Masters preview at

  • Comment number 7.

    @ No.3 ...... concur with Poulter, surely you realised how daft that is the moment you clicked "post comment" - Poulter would be far better if he spent less time picking out trousers and doing his hair and more time on the range!

    also WG: "Phil Mickelson's record here is second to none and he won last week, so he's got a lot of confidence." - I suspect Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Tiger all have something to say about that but heck, I pay my license fee so people can make stupid comments that are so flawed in their facts without any thought at all I can name 3 people with better records around Augusta.

    For me I think its a hard one to call. If I could pick my ideal winner it would be McIlroy, he is after all an electric talent and plays golf in an entertaining style but I'm not sure he is quite mature enough and good enough on and around the green's to conquer what is golfing heaven!

    I think Kaymer will be there or there abouts and I think G-mac is a decent punt for being in the top 5.

    Winner - my gut says Bubba

    On Tiger, would love to see him do well, in fact I almost think that this is potentially a defining moment of his career, if he is competitive i can see him returned to dominance and blitzing JNs record, if not, maybe what looked inevitable will fail to come to pass.

  • Comment number 8.

    7. At 10:41am on 7th Apr 2011, Carior wrote:
    @ No.3 ...... concur with Poulter, ...........

    Think you meant No.2 ! !
    ...... see how easy it is to get "flawed in your facts" now and again :)

  • Comment number 9.

    Gee looking at this article it looks like it's close to 50-50 chance for a Brit win

    I wonder if this is the universal view

  • Comment number 10.


  • Comment number 11.

    Baddeley to have a good week with a hot putter

    KJ to roll back the years as well

    But it will be Nick Watney pulling on the green jacket, sorry Phil.

  • Comment number 12.

    Oh and Jimenez is a silly price at 175-1, I'll have some of that...

  • Comment number 13.

    Further to the comments made by number 1, I'm surprised Martin Kaymer is receiving so little attention. In my opinion he's got the best chance of all the Europeans of winning the event. I've backed him at 5/1 to win a major this year.

  • Comment number 14.

    Backed Kaymer @ 22/1 to win
    Not many mentioned McDowell in here, I have backed him e/w at 45/1
    Ive also plumped for '09 PGA Champion YE Yang e/w at 100/1

    Cant wait for tee time!

  • Comment number 15.

    Dustin Johnson at 28/1 is a good bet. To reiterate, he is a bit hitter and has done pretty well in the Majors of late (could have won the US Open if only he hadn't blown up at the start of R4).

    You need prodigious Length, consistency and a touch of magic to win at Augusta which is why Phil won last year and Westwood didn't. That 4 iron form the trees was majestic and only Mickleson could pull that off. And that is why I think Micklelson will probably win again. That not to say Westood can't win here, but he will need to find something extra to get over the line, something he hasn't been able to do in recent Majors.

    Someone who clobbbers it and can cope with the greens is going to come out on top. IMO I think there will be an American winner again and the UK will have to wait on - just not convinced by the likes of Doanld, Rose, Poulter and Harrington over 4 days though Donald possibly has the best chance of the UK brigade, even over Westwood

    But who knows - Woods will probably end up winning it(his form has been so bad that the expecations will be low for him and the pressure will thus be off to a degree) - as in the main article, its a difficult to pick a winner for this as it is for the Grand National

  • Comment number 16.

    Thats the beauty of the Master though, that we haven't got a clue who will win or even who will be in contention. I hope Poulter has a good week though, its about time he lived up to his self declared potential.

  • Comment number 17.

    Everyone seems to be loving Bubba.. you're all wrong though, 'tis going to be Kim - he's got the temperament and more importantly he can go on a crazy scoring spree on the back 9, as he showed last year. I personally want big Westy to win though, come on LW!

  • Comment number 18.

    Perhaps someone at the BBC would like to advise why we can only watch half a golf tournament?

  • Comment number 19.

    The rest of it is on Sky - Say no more. It will eventually dissappear all together I'm afraid in a matter of time. Not to fussed with only Saturday and Sunday - those days are when it hots up

  • Comment number 20.

    Thanks Owl but I'd like someone at the BBC to explain how they lost coverage. There is a small army of BBC journalists in Augusta, perhaps they could save some monies there?
    Come on Rob Hodgetts - lets have an explanation

  • Comment number 21.

    GrouchoM - Not to mention the fact you have to go to an external website to access the leader board! Surely some commercial aspects could have been agreed there?

  • Comment number 22.

    I know Monkey - poor stuff given the amount of staff the Beeb have got out there.

    Still nothing from the "blogger" who I assume is in Georgia at our expense?
    Come on Rob - why no live Thursday/Friday coverage on BBC tv, why is it deemed ok to broadcast 1/2 a tournament & who made the decision?

  • Comment number 23.

    I can take or leave the Thursday & Friday TV coverage as i'm at work for the best part of it. Checking the scorecard whilst i'm here would be blessing though!

    Ah well

    Come on Kaymer/McDowell/Yang!

  • Comment number 24.

    I bet on Donald. Told all my mates to bet on Donald. Then he goes and wins the par-3.

  • Comment number 25.

    I've got a quid each on 5 players to win.. Pouter (55/1), Jason Day (125/1), Karlsson (125/1), Tim Clark (125/1), Stenson (200/1). Thought they were worth a punt. Kicking myself that I didn't have a flutter on the goose after his impressive start. As for who wins? .. I'd like to see a Brit win it.. Doesn't matter which one. Don't you just love the Masters??!! By far the best tournament.. Can't wait to get out of work to watch it!!

  • Comment number 26.

    Hi all - just on the coverage issue, here's the statement the BBC released at the time: "These are very competitive rights. We couldn’t match Sky’s bid and believe we have secured an agreement that represents the best value for license payers, that still ensures that the climax of this event remains available to the widest possible audience. We are delighted our partnership with Augusta continues."

    You can still watch round one and two highlights on Friday & Saturday before the usual live coverage begins and enjoy the live online text commentary throughout. Radio 5 live will have updates and then live coverage from 2100 BST. Full coverage details can be found here -

    As for linking to the Masters website, it's not only very good but is part of our remit. Hope you enjoy the tournament.

  • Comment number 27.

    Thanks Rob
    Shame the powers that be have chosen to cut back on the Masters. Good the final 2 days have been retained though. Assume the new deal is for a fixed term & long term prognosis for golf on free to air is not good.

    Mickelson to retain - left handers union!

  • Comment number 28.

    Bubba Watson took my money at 40/1. Seemed too good an opportunity to turn down.

    Luke Donald is surely the pick of the Europeans, but for an outsider I'm keeping my eye on Ricky Barnes at a generous 175/1

  • Comment number 29.

    I truly CANNOT believe that not one person in this blog is tipping Woods in any way nor the experts. I say woods big time as he is determined to turn it round and if he gets on a roll, the crowd will get behind him like they did nicklaus.
    He may have flaws but he has the X factor and I hope he does it as it would make a good story.
    Apart from Woods I see only one winner and that is Dustin Johnson.
    He is long overdue and is a class act.

  • Comment number 30.

    I predict:

    1 - Stricker
    2 - Westwood
    3 - Mahan
    4 - Kaymer

  • Comment number 31.

    Only 1 or 2 dissenters to the half-coverage live on TV?
    Why don't we all roll over like the lap dogs the BBC think we are and let them tickle our tummies as well?
    Yes - I'm annoyed as it is the first major of the year and they've had 4 day live coverage (albeit limited) for as far back as you want to chronicle the BBC coverage of this event.

    You do have to wonder how much extra the limited live coverage on Thursday and Friday would have cost? As another poster has observed it does look a bit odd to only cover the last half of a golf tournament??

    If the Beeb does lose the Masters altogether, I'll certainly not be taking out Sky Sports 1 with it's incessant advertising for the Ford Mondeo interrupting play every 15 mins!

    I shall let the sport's most elitist and snootiest golf tournament drift into obscurity!

    Paul - East Kilbride SCOTLAND


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