Predicting the winner of an upcoming major championship has been a staple of golf magazines since the days of Grantland Rice. They’re also about as accurate as (we certainly hope) the Mayan Calendar’s forecast of the world ending on December 21st of this year.
But we do it anyway. As we enter Masters Week Gorman and I will offer up our picks to don the green jacket in Butler Cabin late Sunday night. Gorman, of course, is picking Tiger Woods, which on merit is a legitimate selection and could be the right one as well. Of course Tommy Terrific picks Tiger to win every week, even if he’s not in the field. You see, he doesn’t understand that there are other golfers in the world. Including my selection, Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy, the number one player (shush, don’t tell Gorman that Eldrick isn’t even in the top 10) in the world.
Well, officially, neither is Rory. That stupid computer has him at number two, behind Luke Donald, but how can anyone who has never won a major championship be considered the planet’s best? So why McIroy? Why not Phil, or Hunter Mahan, who is the only player to have won twice this year?
Phil very well could win again. He plays his best golf at Augusta and has been in top form of late. Mahan would be a great choice except that he won last week in Houston and that pretty much kills his chances. Seldom does anyone win a major the week after winning an ordinary PGA Tour event. I like Rory because he’s been playing fantastic golf this year, has the stones to hold up under the fantastic pressure that will surround the leaders on the back nine on Sunday and he has the total game. He hits the tee shots long, his irons high and he putts like a sniper. He’s also the only live bobble head doll I know of.
Of course neither Gorman nor I are exactly going out on a limb here. Tiger is listed as the favorite with McIlroy right behind him. It’s not as though we’re picking a Zach Johnson to win. And from a local angle a good bet would be Keegan Bradley, another player who bombs it off the tee and hits it a mile in the air. The only question with Bradley is the belly putter. I just don’t know if it can handle the slick greens of Augusta National. Rory is my guy. I’ll back him to the hilt in this one. Gorman likes (actually he loves) Tiger. Which, when it’s all said and done, probably eliminates both of them. We sure hope so anyway. If one of us actually picks the winner then maybe the Mayans will be right too.