Winner: Dustin Johnson. Finally, the world No.1 has the even temper to match his languid power, a combination that should prove to be irresistible as he seeks to become only the fourth player to become a back-to-back Masters champion.
Brit who will shine: Matt Fitzpatrick. Sheffield pride enters this Masters not only on a tear, having won the season closer to the European Tour in December, but with a remarkably polished Augusta record. In his five appearances, the 26-year-old made the cut every time, shot four rounds in the ’60s and finished in the top 10.
Veteran who will roll back the years: Vijay Singh. The Fijian was clearly mesmerized as he watched Bryson DeChambeau perform his lumberjack number on the driving range this week. At 56, the winner in 2000 retains a ruthless work ethic and booked his spot for the weekend as recently as 2018.
Young who will make a name for himself: Cameron Champ. In a sense, being called Champ, the Californian’s name is already done. But at 25, he’s got a knack for conquering Augusta in abundance, using his bloated physique to make his clubhead speed of over 130 mph easy.
Big name to miss the cup: Phil Mickelson. Such is his natural exuberance, it is hard to believe that Mr. America of golf is 50 years old. Alas, the first signs of anno domini Emerging: He hasn’t finished better than 24th in his last 20 touring starts, and his world ranking is down to 115th.
Winner: Dustin Johnson. Jordan Spieth and Bryson Dechambeau may be hotter picks, but there’s a reason DJ is the bookmaker’s favorite. So solid last fall and so consistent in Augusta. Top 10 in each of his last five Masters starts.
Brit who will shine: Lee Westwood. He looks relaxed, plays as well as ever, and another who tends to bring his A-game to masters week. Would be a hugely popular winner (as well as the oldest ever).
Veteran who will roll back the years: Bernhard Langer. Is Westwood a veteran? In terms of real gold oldies, Langer still plays amazingly good golf. The 63-year-old, who finished T29 in November, could shoot his age in a few years.
Young who will make a name for himself: Joaquin Niemann. Sungjae Im, the slowest laid-back man in golf, could have another good week but it’s no longer a surprise package. For a left-field choice, how about Niemann? The 22-year-old Chilean has made 15 consecutive cuts.
Big name to miss the cup: Henrik Stenson. He turned 45 earlier this week but he is unlikely to find any further spring in his step. In terrible form. Six failed cuts in his last seven starts and a combined 32 above par in his last six rounds.
Winner: Justin Thomas. Has a 2021 victory in the players’ championship to his name, is third in the Tour for shots won on approach shots and his Masters finishes in chronological order are: T-30, T-22, T-17, T-12 and fourth.
Brit who will shine: Matt Wallace. The Englishman finished third in Texas last week and is another player with an iron game that is shaping up well statistically. No great Masters story, but managed two rounds under par in the November renewal.
Veteran who will roll back the years: Lee Westwood. Phil Mickelson is far too erratic to trust himself in this category, so the stars are lining up for fit Westwood to challenge at the age of 47. No Green Jacket but an impressive Masters record.
Young who will make a name for himself: Viktor Hovland. The 23-year-old is the world No. 14 and his driving is spectacular. His short game is improving and the Norwegian had three innings under par on his Masters debut in 2019.
Big name to miss the cup: Jordan Spieth. No player has won the Masters after winning the week before since Mickelson in 2006, and I have a feeling Spieth could be exhausted from his first title since 2017.