Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Expert picks: The Masters

It's the eve of the Masters, and there's not a whole lot of time left until the 89-player field sorts itself out at Augusta National.

Who will win the green jacket on Sunday night? It's a tough thing to predict, especially this year, what with so many great players also in great form. The Yahoo Sports golf team, however, has their picks, which you should trust with your life.

Jay Busbee: Jason Day -- Yes, I know, I'm going straight chalk. Picking Day right now is like picking the UConn women's team or the Golden State Warriors. But he's the first among a whole lot of equals right now, and he's got everything you want to see from a first-time Masters winner: steadiness with the putter, resolve of spirit, near-misses at Augusta before (T-2 and solo 3rd). I also like Justin Rose's angle -- sliding in under the wake of the Big Three (or Four) with the game and the experience (T-2 last year, made cuts in each of the 10 years he's been here) to start thinking green jacket. 

Jay Hart: Bubba Watson -- Funny thing about Bubba is he's generally terrible in majors. In 32 career majors he has 12 missed cuts and just four top-5s. Of course, two of those top-5s are victories ... at the Masters. And even there he's hit or miss – only twice has he finished inside the top 20 at Augusta. Again, those were victories. So it's sink or swim, and since he won in 2012 and 2014, I'm picking him to win again in the even year. And when he does, all I have to say is, "Ur welcome."

Ryan Ballengee: Phil Mickelson -- For the record, Watson, then Day, are my first two picks. But it's pretty easy to make a case for the three-time Masters winner. At 45, Mickelson made the choice to change swing instructors, moving from Butch Harmon to Andrew Getson. The move has paid off in his shot-to-shot performance, improving his driver play. And, as Phil has said many times, he loves smashing driver at Augusta National. Now that it goes straighter, he can stand to be more aggressive and should be more successful. Who wouldn't want to see Phil get just one more green jacket 30 years after Jack Nicklaus capped off his legendary career?

Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.

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