Entering Sunday, the leaderboard at the 2017 Masters is full of studs. The last two groups feature four big names with a host of worthy adversaries lurking behind. The question is simple: Who puts on the green jacket Sunday night?
Alan Shipnuck, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: He doesn’t exude as much personality as some of the other big names on the board, but I’m going with Justin Rose. That back-nine 31 on Saturday was pure class, and every part of his game looks rock-solid right now. The gold medal in Rio made Rose hungry to do more great things in the game. Tomorrow he will.
Joshua Berhow, staff producer, GOLF.com: Rickie Fowler has had the best putting week, and it’s not close. He was a little shaky in how he closed his victory at the Honda, but winning is a learning process, and he’s learning. As much as I want to say Spieth right here, it’s going to happen for Rickie at some point. One of golf’s brightest stars is about to take the next step, and it couldn’t be better for the game.
Sean Steinemann, social media editor, GOLF.com: Sergio Garcia. Solely based on the great break he got on the par-5 13th on Saturday when his ball hung up on the edge of Rae’s creek. For a guy who has historically gotten all the bad breaks, I think this is a sign that things are ready to go Sergio’s way. Oh, and the fact that tomorrow would have been Seve’s 60th birthday doesn’t hurt his cause either. Extra motivation.
Joe Passov, senior editor, GOLF Magazine: Three responses so far, and three compelling, persuasive – and different – answers. My heart says Sergio finally gets it done, but my eyes have seen him miss too many makeable putts early and late in final rounds when he’s in contention. You could flip a coin among the others, but mine has landed on Justin Rose. He’s posted five top 15s in his last six Masters, including a T2 in 2015. I don’t know why he’s always overlooked, never the favorite, but he dons the green jacket on Sunday.
Josh Sens, contributor, GOLF.com: My heart says Sergio. My head says Rose. But my gut says someone posts a gaudy number and wins from behind. In the interest of seemingly either creepily prescient (or just plain stupid) I say fit that green garment for Jon Rahm.
Michael Bamberger, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: Rose. Solid everywhere and most especially at making good decisions under pressure. He’s won a gold medal. He’s won a US open. This is a less daunting proposal for him than anybody else with a red number next to his name.
Sean Zak, associate editor, GOLF.com: I was convinced it wasn’t possible for Jordan Spieth to win this Masters. His first round 9 on the 15th (and not enough birdies elsewhere) made me believe that Spieth cannot boss around Augusta National. He has to be human, and Augusta National belittles all humans at some point. Somehow he’s fought back into contention. He’ll birdie the second hole Sunday. He’ll probably birdie another of the first six holes. Then he’ll make birdie three or four (or five) more times and further proclaim himself governor of Augusta National.
Mark Godich, senior editor, Sports Illustrated: This time tomorrow night, we’ll be talking about the 9—and wondering how the hell Jordan Spieth overcame it to win.
Marika Washchyshyn, multimedia producer, GOLF.com: The mastery we saw from Augusta’s wonder boy today is what we’ve been waiting for all week. Jordan Spieth will once again find himself in Butler Cabin on Sunday night, but this time it’ll be Danny Willet handing him the green jacket.