It has been the year (really two years) of the young guns. The Jordan Spieths and Patrick Reeds and Russell Henleys have infiltrated the golf world and infused it with the spunk and fire that only 20-something golfers with no other cares in the world can.
They have won tournament after tournament, competed in the Presidents Cup, and owned the tour so far this season, which means they're probably ready to contend at Augusta, right?
As one college football analyst who may or may not wear the headgear of a team he picks to win on a given Saturday would say ...
Not so fast, my friend.
I looked at the past 10 Masters winners to see if I could find a trend among them in terms of world ranking or experience at the Masters or whatever it is that forges your mettle on Sunday at Augusta.
It's definitely not world ranking. We looked at that a week ago and saw that you used to be able to count on somebody inside the world top 10 winning this tournament. But somebody outside of the top 15 in the world has won five of the past seven Masters.
It's not really Masters played either. Charl Schwartzel won it in his second attempt and Zach Johnson in his third. Heck, Tiger won it in his third as well back in 1997.
But what about major experience?
Mentally it seems like you need to have gone through the rigors of a four-day grind such as a major. It's one thing to hold off D.A. Points at the Phoenix Open and it's a whole other to keep a charging Phil Mickelson, Jason Dufner and Adam Scott at bay at a major.
Here's a look at the number of majors each of the past 10 Masters winners has played in their careers leading into the Masters:
Really the only true outlier is Zach Johnson. He won the Masters in 2007 on his 12th crack at a major. Scheartzel and Bubba Watson both won it in their 17th tries. Everyone else, though, was at 20 or more majors played in their careers.
This is why I would be shocked if a Jordan Spieth (four majors played), Keegan Bradley (nine majors played, PGA champion), or even Webb Simpson (10 majors played, including a US Open victory) were to wear green on Sunday.
It's not that those guys can't win it, it's just that recent history tells us they probably won't.