The Masters, the week that speaks to every golfer’s soul, is here.
The world’s No. 1 player, Tiger Woods, not being in the field due to back surgery has left the tournament without a clear favorite.
While a Tiger-less Masters is a buzz kill for some, true golf fans will tune in regardless to see who slips on the coveted green jacket this year.
Some of the professionals at JC Golf sized up the field this week and dared to predict a winner. You’ll find their picks and rationale below, but feel free to add your favorite in the comments.
Enjoy the Masters, and we look forward to you resuming your regularly scheduled golf season with us after.
Erik Johnson, General Manager, Encinitas Ranch
Pick: Harris English.
Why: “He’s my dark horse pick. He’s a Georgia boy. He’s been on a really good run over the last year and a half or so. He’s very confident. He changed every club in his bag going into this season and he hasn’t seen a fall off, which I think is amazing.
“He even changed his putter after he won two or three times with it. That just speaks to his confidence.”
Blake Dodson, Director of Golf, Rancho Bernardo Inn
Pick: Angel Cabrera
Why: “After losing the playoff to Adam Scott in 2013, it has been forgotten how clutch Cabrera was down the stretch. Angel is in the middle of the 18th fairway when Adam Scott rolls in a 15-footer for birdie to take a one-stroke lead. And the Augusta crowd erupts with a Sunday roar!
“Imagine watching that scene unfold in front of you.
“Cabrera, in the middle of the 18th fairway, once tied, is now watching Scott celebrate the lead. After the green clears, in a heavy downpour, Cabrera stays in the moment and sticks his approach shot to two feet, forcing the playoff. This type of clutch performance wins major championships and should not be overlooked. Angel Cabrera is my 2014 Masters pick.”
Troy Ferguson, Head Professional, Twin Oaks
Pick: Graham DeLaet
Why: “Go Canada!” (Troy is from Alberta; Graham is from near Saskatchewan.)
Eric Jeska, Director of Golf, Twin Oaks
Pick: Pat Perez
Why: “He’s a San Diego boy, and nobody else will pick him. Then I can celebrate by myself after he wins.”
Paul Miernicki, Director of Instruction, Twin Oaks
Pick: Matt Kuchar
Why: “He’s the hot guy right now. He should’ve won the last two tournaments. He was just two bad swings away. He’s still won a million dollars more than me the past two weeks. My money’s on him.”
Note: Paul’s second choice is Jason Day.
Lloyd Porter, Head Professional, Oaks North & Reidy Creek
Pick: Charl Schwartzel
Why: “He has been in the hunt before, he has good experience at Augusta (2011 champion), and he’s a great putter.”
Curtis Rowe, Director of Golf, Temecula Creek Inn
Pick: Sergio Garcia
Why: “I think he’s due to win a major, and he’s a great player, good enough to a major. And everybody hates Sergio. I’ll go against the haters.”
Note: Curtis’ American pick is Ryan Moore.