Now that March Madness is out of the way, and baseball’s opening day has almost come and gone by now, we finally get to turn our attention to the greatest week in golf! It may not be very Spring-like wherever you are located, but April always brings us images of lush green grass, red pine straw, and the azaleas in full bloom throughout Augusta National. It’s a long ways until Thursday, so here is a gameplan for your week:
Monday – Fire up Youtube and watch some old Masters clips. I would recommend starting with Tiger’s chip in ’05, and just watch that about 30 times. When you’ve had your fill of clips, load up the Golf Channel app and watch Live from the Masters all day. You can never hear enough pontificating on Monday.
Tiger Woods at the 2005 Masters, image: golfwrx.com
Tuesday – Press day at Augusta, Live From will be your source for a great Phil Mickelson interview, and don’t forget to check out what Rory, Jordan, and Jason all have to say… and oh yeah, Bubba. When you get home, make sure your DVR is set for the ’86 presentation by the Golf Channel.
Wednesday – Have your WatchESPN app ready, because it’s the Par 3 Contest. It’s not so much an entertaining affair, outside of a few aces, but it’s your first look at Augusta and all of the presentation that goes with it.
Thursday and Friday – You are going to be sick both of these days, so make sure you have taken work off.
Saturday and Sunday – If you absolutely cannot keep your schedule cleared for the weekend, make sure everyone you know is aware that you will be in the DVR “bubble”. Also be sure your DVR has several extra hours of recording time added, and go ahead and record Live From as well, to get all of the post-tournament coverage.
Monday – Lament the long wait until the Players Championship, and start looking up videos on Oakmont.
I knew several weeks ago that I had to do a Power Rankings for the Masters. The number of players who have made a strong case for Masters contention in 2016 is staggering. The possibility of an unexpected winner out of the blue is always possible at Augusta, but we have the potential for some real heavyweight fights this week. I’ve gathered all 3 members of the “Better Than Most” fantasy league to weigh-in, and have come up with a consensus Power Rankings based on averages.
Better Than Most Power Rankings
|CLV||PAR||Matt Milleker – aka MadTrapper88|
|1||Jason Day||Bubba Watson||Jason Day|
|2||Bubba Watson||Jason Day||Bubba Watson|
|3||Jordan Spieth||Jordan Spieth||Henrik Stenson|
|4||Adam Scott||Adam Scott||Jordan Spieth|
|5||Rory McIlroy||Phil Mickelson||Rory McIlroy|
|6||Phil Mickelson||Charl Schwartzel||Rickie Fowler|
|7||Charl Schwartzel||Rickie Fowler||Adam Scott|
|8||Louis Oosthuizen||Justin Rose||Phil Mickelson|
|9||Brandt Snedeker||Vijay Singh||Charl Schwartzel|
|10||Rickie Fowler||Louis Oosthuizen||Brandt Snedeker|
Consensus Power Rankings
CLV – Can’t argue with form (despite back issues), and the new world #1.
PAR – Hottest player in the game even with a game full of hot players. Trending towards victory at Augusta since 2011. It will indeed soon be his day at the National.
Matt – New world # 1. Has been close a couple times at the Masters. Game seems to be on form with API and Match Play wins. Should be interesting to see how his back does with apparent injury at Match Play (didn’t seem to stop him). With a week off I don’t suspect it being an issue.
Photograph: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
CLV – Kind of low key since his win at Riviera, but it’s the even-numbered year at the Masters, which mean Bubba’s hangover from the last green jacket should be over.
PAR – A lefty fade is more reliable than a righty draw. The incredible power to go along with it makes Bubba the prohibitive favorite every year until his physical and imaginative blessings begin to diminish.
Matt – 2 time winner. Still bombing the ball as good as ever this year with 2 wins and a second place since December. Putting seems to be getting putter.
Andrew Redington/Getty Images
CLV – Hard to imagine putting Jordan this low in January, but the form has been off lately. Started to make a charge in Houson on Sunday, but quickly fizzled and lost the form again. You can see by the average that he is a distant third behind Jason and Bubba, but can never discount his performance from last year.
PAR – What he lacks in unimaginable power, he makes up for with grit, course preparation, and a burning desire to win like his namesake.
Matt – Came close in 2014, won in 2015. Hasn’t had great play since Hawaii but things looked to be getting a little better in the match play. Once his confidence is back I believe he will start winning tournaments again.
CLV – Would have been a top 2 or 3 pick for sure after his back-to-back victories in Florida until Jason Day more or less one-upped him. History at Augusta plus form makes him still a very strong contender.
PAR – Come on, Aussies! First time at Augusta with a short putter in a long time but his game appears in fine form to challenge.
Matt – Probably should be higher on this list, but I’m not his biggest fan. Past champion. 2 wins this year and seems to be striking the ball well.
Photograph: Andrew Redington/Getty Images
CLV – Phil’s resurgence this year has not resulted in a victory, so I am not high on his chances at another green jacket. He has the Augusta magic, though, so I expect him to have the crowds going crazy on Sunday and to at least be within shouting range.
PAR – Nostalgia. Patterns with the years of his prior winnings. Whichever you pick, Phil should make a run this year.
Matt – 3 time champion. In the top 5 for a few categories including scoring average, strokes gained, and scrambling. Knows this course like the back of his hand. Augusta seems to favour experience and creative shots. Phil has both. If he keeps the ball out of the water I can see him putting on another green jacket.
CLV – Rory’s position in the power rankings is a testament to how wide open this tournament will be, with so many strong contenders. His game has been good but not great in 2016, but his underdog potential (yes, underdog) is huge here.
PAR (did not pick Rory) – Rory will obviously win now which I am 100000000% in for and picked at the start of the year. My how things change.
Matt – Putting him in 5th spot because we’ve seen he can be up on the leaderboard at this tournament (hopefully not choke anymore). Some inconsistent play this year though. Advanced pretty far in the match play and his driving seemed to be pretty good. Just need to keep it in the fairway and should contend.
Photograph: Matt Slocum
CLV – Quietly dominated the European Tour in 2016, and then had a breakthrough victory in the US at the Valspar (1st in US since the Masters). He hasn’t made a splash since Tampa, but his form and history at Augusta can’t be ignored.
PAR – Hot start to the year but still remains under the radar. Kind of like how he began his final round in 2011…
Matt – Past Champion. Solid play on European tour. Should be in the top 20 come Sunday.
CLV – Snuck into my Top 10, but neck and neck with Rose, DJ, and Stenson, to name a few. Hard to tell in 2016 whether Rickie is ready to be a force, or if he only shows up once every few weeks or so. Decent showing in Houston, but a victory would have been more convincing.
PAR – Someone has been real close to his first major for a long time. Someone put a lot of work into his wedge game this offseason. Someone’s ready to win.
Matt – Has slowed down over the last month but before that, was contending every week. Also, my wife keeps telling me he is going to win the Masters. (<—- Strong indicator! – CLV)
CLV – I did not pick Henrik, but a strong contender for my 10th spot. Form has been on the past 2-3 weeks, but no wins to show for it.
Matt – His play seems to be trending upwards again and I believe he is close to a win. I think his solid ball striking could put him in reach for his first major.
Andrew Redington/Getty Images
CLV – An Augusta favorite of mine for a long time, but hasn’t come through with a green jacket. Was much higher in my rankings a few weeks ago, but slide in play, including a missed cut in Houston, is a little concerning.
PAR – Don’t mind me. I just have one of the best swings in golf and always play well at Augusta.
Photograph: Matt Slocum/AP
CLV – An unbelievable January, followed by a decent but quiet couple of months (T9 in last event at Match Play). His appreciation of Augusta will always bring out his competitive side.
Matt – Some close calls at Augusta. Playing well this year with 5 top 25’s in 11 starts including a win at the Farmers Insurance open.
CLV (did not pick Rose) – Justin is a victim of some impressive performances by others overshadowing his decent play with top 25s all over the place and only one missed cut. Was in contention last year, could be a sneaky pick.
PAR – Always a threat at Augusta, Rosey put in strong time at the gym and with Sean Foley since his last appearance. He’ll be ready to get that first 2016 victory.
PAR – A former and much older winner always makes a run at Augusta and this year, it’s the 2000 Masters champ. (CLV – “No.”)