PGA Masters Pro Golf Picks- Augusta National Golf Club
Augusta National Golf Club
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The first major has arrived this week on the PGA Tour and Augusta National Golf Club is in it’s usual superior shape. The Masters is arguably the most coveted major of the year. Putting on the green jacket has been described by many golfers as the most special moment of their professional careers. The Masters’ green jacket is as historic and iconic as the golfing legends who wear it. Phil Mickelson was recently asked a rhetorical question by an unnamed reporter, and in typical “Lefty” fashion, his response was priceless. “So Phil, you looking forward to Augusta?”
“What kind of dumbass question is that?” –Phil Mickelson on being asked about the upcoming Masters
As the mecca of golf, Augusta holds a special place in the minds and hearts of golfers and all golf fans alike. It’s a big reason why first timers on the course can get emotionally hijacked or can lose focus quickly.
This was no more apparent last year when Jim Herman confessed to being “so nervous that he was shaking” in his conversation with a gallery guard on the course during the first round. My good friend Bo Blumenthal was a gallery guard there for the first time last year and he said it was the “coolest experience of his life.” He will continue to do it for the rest of his existence, or until he inevitably screws up and they don’t ask him to come back. Enough about him though and how lucky he is to have this opportunity every year moving forward.
A quick sidebar about how unbelievably cool it is to be a volunteer at Augusta. Every volunteer gets the opportunity to come back to Augusta National Golf Club about a month later and play a round. My friend Bo made his first hole-in-one of his life on the historic 16th par 3 named Redbud. Suffice to say, I’m still hearing about it a year later.
Getting back to Jim Herman now. It was Herman’s first time ever playing in the Masters and it can often be overwhelming for golfers making their first appearance in the tournament. He had just won for the first time on the tour last week at The Shell Houston Open, so he was in great form and beaming with confidence. That still didn’t make him feel less nervous or comfortable playing in The Masters for the first time. If you decide to choose a golfer who is playing in the Masters for the first time in their career, do so at your own risk. I’ll be leaning towards guys that have played Augusta many times, who have good form coming in and who won’t let the spectacular atmosphere and all the other extracurricular activities overwhelm them.
PGA Masters Pro Golf Picks
I believe this is Dustin Johnson’s tournament to win. I can’t think of anyone else that has played this well going into The Masters in a long time. It almost feels like 25 years ago when Fred Couples was so hot coming in, it was a foregone conclusion that he was going to win and he that’s just what he did. So as long as he plays like the DJ of 2017 this week, he should have as good of shot at winning as anyone else in the field. Lucky for everyone else, he has a history of not finishing the job in majors, sans the 2016 US Open. I think winning that first major though was a huge weight lifted on his shoulders and now he’s got the confidence to add more major trophies to his collection.
Now let’s move on to Jordan Spieth. It’s almost impossible to make a lineup with both he and Dustin Johnson in it together, considering their salaries, Spieth at $11,500 and DJ at $11,300; so we’re faced with a choice of one or the other. Spieth is so mentally sound, I feel like his entire focus has been doing whatever it takes to redeem himself after what happened to him last year. His form isn’t great right now, but his win at Pebble Beach was not that long ago and he loves The Masters more than any other tournament
“This is as great as it gets in our sport. … This isn’t an honor that’s carried lightly. The members of Augusta National and everyone who partakes in the Masters and is a part of the Masters, demand the most, the highest quality on and off the course from their champions. I feel ready to carry that baton.” -Jordan Spieth, Masters Champion
I also like Justin Thomas a lot at $8,900. Last year was his first year playing in The Masters, so that result doesn’t matter that much to me. He’s much more comfortable now and has been playing lights out all year, with already three wins under his belt. He took The Shell Houston Open off, choosing to practice instead and also get some extra practice rounds in at Augusta. He’s been playing practice rounds with his best friend Jordan Spieth the past few days. I see him turning in a performance similar to what Smylie Kaufman and Bryson DeChambeau did last year. Rory Mcllroy is also someone else to really consider at his salary of $10,600. He’s going to win a green jacket sooner rather than later, but I don’t think it’s going to be this year. However, I think he will play well and should be a lock for a top 10 finish.
PGA Masters Pro Sleeper Picks
I also really like Kevin Kisner. He’s in great form coming in, he’s a lifetime resident of Aiken, SC which is only about a 20 minute drive from Augusta. He played in The Masters last year for the first time, but he admitted it was about the 50th round he’s played there in his life, so he’s got as much course knowledge as almost anyone in the field. The course didn’t get to him last year, instead he said he let the nerves of actually playing in the tournament do him in. He won’t let that happen again this time around. My favorite sleeper/ value picks are Zach Johnson at $7,400, Daniel Berger at $7,300, Kevin Kisner at $6,900 and Soren Kjeldsen at $6,500, who came in 5th place last year. “If there’s a golf course in heaven, I hope it’s like Augusta National. I just don’t want an early tee time.” –Gary Player, three-time Masters Champion
PGA Masters pro golf picks contributions from Bo Blumenthal and JT Rogan were used in this article. Please check out dklegends.com for more expert golf advice.
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