There’s a five-way tie at the top at the midway point of the 83rd Masters, and Tiger Woods is just one back of that group of leaders. But he’s not alone. Nine other players are within three shots of the lead with plenty of golf to be played at Augusta National. But following his Thursday 68 — and with four green jackets to boot — should Woods be the Masters favorite at this point?
Sean Zak, associate editor (@sean_zak): I want to badly say yes. Because the guy is right there despite playing the par-5s in just two under thus far. But I can’t. He’s missing every interesting five- to eight-footer. Maybe they’ll go in this weekend, but DJ is my favorite right now.
Jeff Ritter, digital development editor (@Jeff_Ritter): A favorite, yes. The favorite? Not quite. I lean toward the two guys who recently stared Woods down in majors: Koepka and Molinari. But Tiger has to love where he is. All he needs to do is make a few more short putts and hire a new security detail and he’s got a great chance.
Josh Berhow, senior editor (@Josh_Berhow): Instead of picking someone who hasn’t won a major in over a decade, I’m going to say the favorite is someone who’s won three of the last six. I’ll take Brooks Koepka.
Jessica Marksbury, multimedia editor (@Jess_Marksbury): I’m still skeptical. It was so much fun to watch Tiger tear up the back nine today. His ball-striking is phenomenal but his putting is just good — not great. Yes, he’s made some impressive long ones but he’s also left more than a handful of makable putts on the table over the last 36 holes. If he can crank it up just a notch on the greens and get a few more to drop, I really think he has a chance. But man, that leaderboard is stacked. It’s going to be a fun weekend.
Jonathan Wall, equipment editor (@jonathanrwall): My heart wants to say yes. But my head knows better. There are some heavy hitters on the first page of the board who have closed out majors more recently than Woods. I think recent experience could be huge this weekend, which is why I’m taking Frankie Molinari.
Josh Sens, contributor (@JoshSens): Rightly the popular favorite but not the mathematical favorite. Not with the second-generation Cyborg Koepka up there, among others, and Tiger looking vulnerable on short-range putts. That’s not to say he won’t; just to say that I wouldn’t put my money on it. I’m just glad he’s right there in the mix, and upright, given how close he came to getting Joe Theismann’ed on the 14th today.
Dylan Dethier, associate editor (@Dylan_Dethier): I said it in this space on Wednesday and I’ll say it again: Tiger Woods will win this golf tournament. My prediction was that he’d share the 36-hole lead and then open up a gap on Moving Day; that looks harder given the firepower around him, but he just looks better than anyone else in the field with an iron in his hand. Let’s hope for good weather, because that’s the only thing that can spoil an electric weekend ahead.
To receive GOLF’s all-new newsletters, subscribe for free here.