When everyone else is going to the dance and you’re at home. Sorry, Rick.

It’s that time of year again.  The Azaleas and Dogwoods are blooming in Georgia (and here in the DMV my seasonal allergies are just starting to kick in), which means it’s Masters Tournament (or Toon-A-Mint if you prefer) week.  It’s the first major of the year, unlike last year when it was the last.  The usual suspects (minus Angel Cabrera who is toiling on the Argentinian-Brazilian Penal Tour) are all in place, and Jim Nantz is ready to do what he does.

Having performed the kind of deep analysis that I’m known for, I’m ready to make my picks for the week.  First, some talking points:

  1. 11 of the last 15 years and 8 of the last 10 years have seen first-time winners.  The repeat winners?  Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson, and some Tiger fella.
  2. This leads me to think it’ll be a first-time winner.
  3. The average winning score over the last10 years is 12 under (276).
  4. In the last 10 years, there have been 6 US winners and 4 non-US winners.
  5. Winning the Players Championship and/or the Match Play all but take you out of winning the Masters, so no go to Justin Thomas and Billy Horschel (understandable if Horschel is still exhausted from playing so much in Austin).

Picking five guys who will be your contenders for winning, I’ve come up with the following:

Jon Rahm, Tommy Fleetwood, Xander Shauffele,  Sungjae Im, Daniel Berger.

Just missing: Jason Day, Tony Finau.

Guys I’m rooting for: Marc Leishman, Mackenzie Hughes, Corey Conners, Max Homa.

Spieth, Dechambeau, Rory will finish just out in that top 15-25 area.

Let’s hope that in a week we remember the tournament for great golf and not because of something else. Please.