Senior Writer, Sports Illustrated
Pick: Tiger Woods
Dark horse: Paul Casey
Tiger, Tiger, Tiger. It's gotta be Tiger, right? Picking anyone other than Woods just doesn't make sense. His success rate at his last six Masters is 50 percent, and since he didn't win last year, that means he's due. No course demands length and rewards touch quite like Augusta National, and Woods is the most potent combo of power and finesse the game has ever seen. The only potential bugaboo is the great man's putting. When he doesn't win a major, the flatstick is usually to blame, and his work on the greens has been inconsistent so far this year. Keep an eye on his stats on Thursday. If he takes less than 30 putts, you can start stitching together another green jacket for Woods.
OK, I know it's a boring pick, so if Tiger gets three-jab-itis, who takes advantage? Watch out for Paul Casey. He's overdue for a breakthrough on the world stage, and his ball-striking and short game are tailor-made for Augusta National. The only question is whether he has the cojones to close the deal, and I believe he does. Hopefully Casey believes, too.