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Vassallo: Looking Ahead to Augusta

Photo from Facebook.com / The Masters Tournament
Photo from Facebook.com / The Masters Tournament

Now that we’re in March, the golf world starts looking down the road to April and Magnolia Lane. Have you never been there, this is one entry on your bucket list that needs to be made.

Attending the Masters, whether for the actual tournament or simply a practice round, it’s a special place in every respect. Should history, tradition, beauty or the outdoors are important to you and even if you dislike golf, please make your plans to attend. It’s not easy to get in, but anything in this world worthwhile is usually not overly easy.

One of my favorite past times in this world (every March) is handicapping the field. In 2016, I have limited the possible winner to a group of only 19. Let’s see if I have left out this year’s potential champion. Your comments will tell me if I’m on target or preparing to three putt. Here goes.

Starting with the former champs, I only see this year’s winner being one of four from this category – Jordan Spieth (defending champion), Adam Scott, Bubba Watson or Charl Schwartzel. Winners of the U.S. Open receive a five-year exemption. Two names qualifying from this group are Rory McIIroy and Justin Rose. Winners of the PGA also have a five-year exemption and I forecast Jason Day and Jason Dufner to be among this year’s true favorites who have a legitimate chance of winning.

Turning to the others, Players Champion Rickie Fowler, top contenders in the 2015 Masters Dustin Johnson and Hideki Matsuyama, Branden Grace who finished in the top four in the previous U.S. Open along with Louis Oosthuizen are all on my list of 19. Other notables are J.B. Holmes, Jimmy Walker, Brooks Koepka, Patrick Reed, Brandt Snedeker and Henrik Stenson.

Whoever gets fitted into this year’s green jacket should be on my list of 19, but surprises do happen at the Masters. If the names Larry Mize, Fuzzy Zoeller and Mike Weir bring back a memory, there’s always the possibility of a nonfavorite lurking in Amen Corner. Game on!

Steve Vassallo

Steve Vassallo is a HottyToddy.com contributor. Steve writes on Ole Miss athletics, Oxford business, politics and other subjects. He is an Ole Miss grad and former radio announcer for the basketball team. Currently, Steve is a highly successful leader in the real estate business who lives in Oxford with his wife Rosie. You can contact Steve at sovassallo@gmail.com or call him at 985-852-7745.

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