What's Lincoln Thinkin: Top 10 Favorites at the Masters
The Masters has the smallest field of any major, and mostly any golf tournament of the season. So, while it is one of the biggest accomplishments any golfer can have on their resume, it is statistically easier to win than most tournaments.
Easier said than done, of course.
Here's the What's Lincoln Thinkin' Top 10 Favorites to win at Augusta National this Week.
10. Soren Kjeldsen. Who? Yeah, that's what we would've said about Danny Willett on Wednesday before the Masters a year ago. But Kjeldsen finished in the top 10 at the Masters and the British last year, and looked like one of the best players in Austin for the Match Play. He's no spring chicken either, at 41 years old, this could be his crowning achievement - other than being the model for those visors that have the crazy bleached blonde hair sticking out the top.
9. Alex Noren. You may have never heard of this guy either, but he has been crushing it in on the European Tour over the last calendar year. He also won something called the "British Masters" last year. Apparently they serve pimento cheese on crumpets there.
8. Hideki Matsuyama. Started the year on fire and has cooled off since, but definitely has the game to be the first Asian to win a green jacket.
7. Justin Thomas. After winning 3 tournaments in four weeks in early 2017, Thomas has been on cruise control to get ready for the Masters. It feels like he's on the tier below the best in the world. A win at Augusta changes that.
6. Phil Mickelson. There's a good chance that in 15 years, Phil Mickelson is 61 years old, I'm writing ANOTHER Masters Top 10 column, and he makes the list. With some sort of comment like, "Well, with Phil at Augusta, you can NEVER count him out of it".
5. Rory McIlroy. He took the extra time to get the rib right and has played some decent golf since coming back. He's at the point in his career, where everything at the beginning part of the year is all supposed to set him up to perform at Augusta National. And if he planned it all correctly, this could be his week.
4. John Rahm. The only player to win the Ben Hogan Award for the best college golfer twice, Rahm graduated from Arizona State, and has been fearless in his first year on tour. He's gone from being on a college team, to being ranked 12th in the world in about a year. He's never played a Masters before, but I would be shocked if he's not on the front page of the leaderboard at some point.
3. Rickie Fowler. Including his victory at the Honda Classic, Fowler has played some strong golf in 2017. At some point he's going to take the next step and really start turning all of these top 5's into runs of victories. And it could start this week.
2. Jordan Spieth. Apart from Mickelson, no one in the field seems to have the feel for Augusta National quite like Jordan Spieth. We are now a year away from his Sunday collapse. While that defeat seemed to stun him last year, he has looked like the old Jordan in 2017. Exorcising those demons in just 52 weeks seems to be almost too good of a storyline - yet I wouldn't put it beyond this guy.
1. Dustin Johnson. The dude is a machine. I am working my 7th Masters Tournament, and every time I've been here I've spent some time walking the course with Dustin Johnson. It took him a few years to figure out how to avoid the trouble spots at Augusta National, but after back-to-back top 6's, and now with his game and confidence through the roof, he will be the pace setter this week.