vivoboard April 5, 2018
North likes Mcllroy to win the Masters (3:23)

Andy North says that Rory Mcllroy is the man to beat at Augusta National this week. A green jacket would give McIlroy a career grand slam. (3:23)

AUGUSTA, Ga. — How intriguing is this year’s Masters? There are so many top players to choose from. That is exactly what our experts did, lobbing a variety of names they think can walk away with the green jacket as daylight fades Sunday night.

Michael Collins
My pick: Bubba Watson

Why he’ll win: Since his second time conquering this major in 2014, Bubba’s finishes have been anything but spectacular (T-38 in 2015, T-38 in 2016, missed cut in 2017). That was a different Watson in those three. This Bubba has found a balance in his life that has gotten him two wins in his past four starts. With rain in the forecast Wednesday and cool temperatures expected the rest of the week, the course will play right into the long-hitting lefty’s hands. Don’t expect record-setting scoring, but expect the roars to echo through the pines Sunday as Bubba tries for green jacket No. 3.

Michael Eaves
My pick: Rory McIlroy

Why he’ll win: No one drives it as well as he does. Right now, he is putting as well as he ever has, too.

Bob Harig
My pick: Justin Rose
Why he’ll win: The Englishman has never missed a cut in 12 Masters appearances and has five top-10 finishes, including last year’s playoff loss to Sergio Garcia. More than half of his rounds at Augusta National have been at par or better, and he has been in the top 10 each of the past three years. Perhaps most important is his recent form. Ranked fifth in the world, Rose has eight top-5s in his past 14 worldwide starts, including three victories.

Andy North
My pick: Rory McIlroy
Why he’ll win: It seems like he has figured out something with his putting. The question is whether that will travel from the Arnold Palmer Invitational (which he won). He was awesome there. If his putter shows up here, he has a great chance to win.

Ian O’Connor
My pick: Jordan Spieth
Why he’ll win: Tiger has done him a huge favor by, well, being Tiger, and taking some pressure off a young player who has a little momentum, a lot of confidence and one green jacket already in his closet.

Dottie Pepper
My pick: Justin Thomas
Why he’ll win: He has a simple approach to the game, and he’s going to want to get back in the mix after a lousy weekend in Austin when he had the chance to go to No. 1 in the world. He’s a clutch putter, and the swing is on repeat mode right now.

Marty Smith
My pick: Tiger Woods
Why he’ll win: The way he has been playing lately, and with how whole he is emotionally, physically and spiritually … all of that will lead him to a fifth green jacket.

Matt Barrie
My pick: Justin Rose
Why he’ll win: He has made 12 cuts in his past 12 appearances. He’s a lock to make the weekend, and after last year’s playoff loss to Sergio Garcia, Rose’s mental game has synced up with his golf game to exorcise the demons for his first green jacket.

Scott Van Pelt
My pick: Justin Thomas
Why he’ll win: He has the highest level of consistent play right now. He has a chance to win every time he goes out there. He has the highest percentage of wins to starts in the world recently … he’s winning at rate like what Tiger did.

Kevin Van Valkenburg
My pick: Rory McIlroy
Why he’ll win: This year, Rory has faced the least amount of pressure he has had since he had the chance to win the career Grand Slam. All the focus is elsewhere. He’s putting well enough to win.

Credit: ESPN predictions: Who will win the Masters?

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