This could be Rickie Fowler’s Masters, says top coach Brendan McDaid
Rickie Fowler

Rickie Fowler

Rickie Fowler can hit it, pitch and putt it. In other words, he has a very good chance of winning the Masters this year.

Jason Day obviously can’t be ruled out and after being a nearly man for so many events he is now stringing together wins — last week in Austin at the WGC Dell Match Play and before that at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

His form makes him a firm favourite, although his back seems to be an issue at the moment.

Rory McIlroy is the leading Irish contender no doubt and the Dell Match Play might have sharpened him up somewhat and helped his confidence. An unexpected missed cut in the Honda Classic did not help his momentum and so I wish him a lot of luck this year.

McIlroy just needs to hold it together and tame any tendency to lose control at key times. Or make an unneeded aggressive strokes which get severely punished at the Masters. It’s a time to remain patient throughout.

Shane Lowry hasn’t done enough to suggest this could be his year. But he will have tremendous confidence after the WGC Bridgestone title win from last year. He has the game to do it though Augusta tests it for any weaknesses over 72 holes. The match play in Austin hinted that he is not in the same rich vein of form as of yet.

Graeme McDowell has a few demons gathered over the years at The Masters and distance seems to be main challenge for him at Augusta. His win in December at the OHL Classic at Mayakoba can do him no harm though.

Bubba Watson will be hard to beat as will Phil Mickelson. The latter travelling to Georgia slightly under the radar but showing some consistency in recent weeks. Watson carding wins at hero World Challenge and the Northern Trust Open so will loom large as a possible contender on the Sunday afternoon.

Adam Scott is up there too after his two wins this season – The Honda Classic and WGC Cadillac Championship.

Outside chances include Brandt Snedeker who has shown some form this season. Or maybe Swede Henrik Stenson – always a firm favourite of mine. But again they need some consistency over the four days to be winners of a Green Jacket.

Another fancy is Louis Oosthuizen. He’s a tough, steady and competitive player with all the skills in his armoury to make the Masters his on this occasion. After coming so close in 2012.

Clearly he can manage his way around the Augusta course quite well  

He has that that big easy swing that made Ernie Els such a success and hides the real power he gets on impact.

Jordan Spieth may arrive too exhausted after a champion’s year filled with lots of victories, commercial commitments and global travel. Recent weeks suggest it might have just taken its toll - as it does with every Masters champion - and so the pressure might tell.

Then again Spieth might react positively to driving back down magnolia drive and the memory muscles help him just make it back to back titles.

No matter my money is still on Rickie Fowler.