10 players to watch during a Masters

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USA TODAY Sports’ Steve DiMeglio breaks down a tip headlines to watch for during a 2017 Masters.
USA TODAY Sports

Here is USA TODAY Sports golf author Steve DiMeglio’s ranking of a 10 heading contenders to win a 2017 Masters. It was not easy to slight a list to 10 — evidence a snub from all a fans of Hideki Matsuyama, Rickie Fowler, Adam Scott, Justin Rose and Sergio Garcia, top-flight players who did not land on a list. Still, while this year’s annual entertainment during Augusta National Golf Club has all a makings of another wide-open event among a azaleas, these are a 10 players we consider will put adult a many red numbers on a famous white scoreboards, with one of them pushing divided with a immature coupler in tow.

10. Bubba Watson

Age: 38

Masters record: 8 starts, 2 top-10s, wins in 2012 and 2014

The skinny: You can’t leave a two-time Masters champion and Bomber from Bagdad, Fla., off a list no matter how off his form has been for some-more than a year. Yes, he hasn’t won given a 2016 Northern Trust Open during Riviera Country Club north of Los Angeles, and he’s prohibited and cold during Augusta — dual wins opposite finishes of T38, T50, T38, T37 and 42nd. But a man’s diversion is tailor-made for Augusta National — abounding power, soothing hold on and around a greens, his ability off a tee to pierce a turn in both directions to take advantage of his commanding draws and fades.

9. Henrik Stenson

Age: 41

Masters record: 11 starts, his best finish a tie for 14th in 2014

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The skinny: The reigning British Open champion hasn’t fared too good during Augusta National, though he can’t be dismissed. Long one of a best ball-strikers in a game, generally with a controllable 3-wood off a tee that stays a arms opposite others’ drivers. The shortest bar in his bag — a dabble — also has turn a weapon. He’s been successful on a game’s biggest stages: vital champion, FedExCup winner, Ryder Cup stalwart, china medalist in a Olympics. He usually has to supplement a Augusta National theatre to a list.

8. Justin Thomas

Age: 23

Masters record: Tied for 39th final year in usually appearance

The skinny: A three-time leader in a PGA Tour’s wraparound season, Thomas is primed to supplement a vital pretension to his résumé, generally after gaining copiousness of knowledge in his initial entrance in final year’s Masters. Obviously, he can go low — he shot 59 in a initial turn of his feat in a Sony Open. He can broach a products late in rounds, too. Has some-more than adequate energy to belt Augusta National. If he can control his emotions — he’s his possess misfortune rivalry — he will contend.

7. Jon Rahm

Age: 22

Masters record: First appearance

The skinny: No one has won a Masters in their initial try in a complicated epoch solely for Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979. The miss of experience, generally traffic with a vigour involved, a quirks of a golf march and a lightning-fast greens, is usually too many to overcome. But if anyone can overcome a challenges, it is Rahm, a longhorn of a male who can repress a march and move it to a knees with a apt putting touch, usually like he did in winning his initial PGA Tour pretension in a 2017 Farmers Insurance Open. The low pledge in a 2016 U.S. Open beats himself adult too many on a course, though if he controls his passion, Zoeller could have some company.

6. Jason Day

Age: 29

Masters record: 6 starts, 3 top-10s, including T2 in 2011 and third in 2013

The skinny: The leader of a 2015 PGA Championship and 2016 Players Championship has all a collection to win — length, spot-on iron play, soothing touch. He’s intrepid and a former universe No. 1. He’s 100% healthy now. The behind problems that knocked him out of movement for 3 months final year are behind him. But has he had adequate time to prepare? After withdrawing from a World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play, Day was during his mother’s side when she had medicine for lung cancer a third week of March. He could be desirous to win a immature coupler for her.

5. Dustin Johnson

Age: 32

Masters record: 7 starts, his usually top-10s a final dual years

The skinny: We won’t know until after Thursday how vicious his behind damage is after descending down some stairs Wednesday afternoon. His representative pronounced Johnson was resting after alighting really tough on his reduce back. Johnson is No. 1 in a universe for many reasons. He’s as prolonged as anyone, so he can repress Augusta. He’s turn fatal with his scoring diversion from 150 yards in, that is vicious during Augusta National. He’s turn a many softened putter, that is pivotal during Augusta National. He’s won his final 3 starts though a timing of his damage could be devastating.

4. Phil Mickelson

Age: 46

Masters record: 24 starts, 15 top-10s, including 11 in 12 years starting in 1999. Winner in 2004, 2006 and 2010

The skinny: No one knows a golf march softened than Lefty, that gives him a outrageous advantage. Yes, he hasn’t won given a 2013 British Open, and he has missed a cut during Augusta dual of a final 3 years. But Mickelson can get adult and down from anywhere during Augusta, still has copiousness of firepower, can hoop a greens and finished in a tie for second dual years ago. This is his favorite contest of a year and one he works toward some-more than any other. That all creates for another successful run during a immature jacket.

3. Rory McIlroy

Age: 27

Masters record: 8 starts, his usually top-10s entrance a final 3 years

The skinny: One of these years he’s going to win a Masters in a rout. But when? His diversion seems ideal to win during Augusta, and he has been in a mix, generally in 2011 when he consumed a four-shot, 54-hole lead with a final-round 80. In new years his inability to shun nine-hole scores of 40+ has taken a toll. He usually has too many talent — and a many beautiful, absolute pull in a game, that plays good during Augusta — to not win here. Or is he a subsequent Greg Norman, who everybody suspicion would win mixed immature jackets though never got one?

2. Jordan Spieth

Age: 23

Masters record: 3 starts — tied for second in 2014, won in 2015 and tied for second in 2016

The skinny: He is over a startle of spendthrift a five-shot lead with 9 to play final year, when he dumped dual balls into Rae’s Creek on a 12th hole. So it would be a startle if he didn’t contend, saying as usually dual players in 3 years have beaten Spieth during Augusta National: Watson in 2014 and Danny Willett in 2016. That’s a T2-1-T2 total for a usually 3 Masters Spieth has played. And remember, final year he wasn’t in tip form and still led by 5 after 63 holes. He hits a turn prolonged adequate not to be during a disadvantage. He has his scoring manacles — those he uses to strike shots from 150 yards and in — behind on track. And he’s as good a dabble as there is in a game. He has a experience, has a immature coupler and has a knack to play good during a place.

And a leader is …

Brandt Snedeker

Age: 36

Masters record: 9 starts, 3 top-10s

The skinny: The 2012 FedExCup champion has won 8 PGA Tour titles, a list that includes a 2012 Tour Championship. He was 3-0-0 in a Ryder Cup in 2016, when a USA degraded Europe on a many pressure-packed theatre in a game. That performance, Snedeker said, increased his certainty to a top turn of his career. He’s played during slightest 150 rounds during Augusta National, removing to know a march softened and softened with any 18 holes played. In 2008, Snedeker left Augusta in tears after a final-round 77 knocked him out of a share of a lead with 16 holes to play and into a tie for third. He was in a brew in 2013 though again fell out of a share of a lead in a final turn with a 75 and tied for sixth. He tied for 10th final year, finishing 6 shots behind Willett. Snedeker has played good this year — 3 top-10s — notwithstanding his bread-and-butter dabble being a bit off. He has gained length a final few years and softened his iron play. If he gets his dabble figured out, he’ll leave Augusta National in tears again — tears of joy, this time.

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