Ranking the Masters field 1-97

By Kyle Porter | Golf Writer

Is Matt Kuchar poised to win his first major? (Getty Images)
Is Matt Kuchar poised to win his first major? (Getty Images)

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The most important week of the golf season is officially here. We thought we should kick things off here at Eye on Golf with a little list ranking everybody in the field.

Here's your 2014 Masters field, ranked by most likely to win (we would be least surprised if Rory McIlroy took the green jacket) to least likely to win (Ben Crenshaw on Sunday? That would be the sports story of the year).

The 14 who can win it

1. Rory McIlroy: I'm all in on McIlroy this year. He's 2-1 to win at least one major in 2014. Those are awful odds but I'd still bet on him. That's how in I am on the Ulsterman.

2. Adam Scott: I think of any champion other than Phil Mickelson in the past decade, he has the best chance to join Jack Nicklaus, Nick Faldo and Tiger Woods as the only four golfers who have gone back-to-back on green jackets.

3. Phil Mickelson: I'll just never have the stones to bet against Lefty at Augusta. I feel like he'll always prove me wrong no matter what I predict for him.

4. Matt Kuchar: This five-year stretch is put up or shut up time for the Georgia Tech grad. I can think of few golfers this title would mean more to.

5. Jason Day: I've had him all over the place on this list. He could be as high as No. 3 if his thumb is 100 percent or as low as probably No. 25 or No. 30 if it's not. He'll go with anybody on Sunday, though, and that's why you love him.

6. Sergio Garcia: Dear golf gods, please let Sergio hold the 54-hole lead and please let Dan Jenkins live through the final 18 to write about it.

7. Bubba Watson: I'm just not totally seeing it with the other lefty. You're telling me a guy who only has three top 10s in majors in his career is going to win two Masters in three years? Yeah, no. Still, he has top be in the top 10.

Dustin Johnson has the power to be a contender.
Dustin Johnson has the power to be a contender. (USATSI)

8. Dustin Johnson: I never know which DJ I'm getting but he might be the only golfer in the field who can still overpower this course. He could win by four and I wouldn't blink.

9. Angel Cabrera: You could tell me Cabrera was whiffing balls on the range for five straight weeks leading up to the Masters and I wouldn't care. El Pato is going to El Pato inside the ropes. He's the biggest badass in the field.

10. Lee Westwood: Let me talk you into this one. Westwood is one of only two golfers to finish in the top 15 in each of the past four Masters. No, he hasn't been good this year but I'm trusting his experience at this course.

11. Brandt Snedeker: Weird year so far for Snedeker (a bunch of junk then all of a sudden a T8 at Bay Hill) but I like his track record at this course. I don't know if he can close it down in the end (history says no) but I fully expect him to be in it on the weekend.

12. Justin Rose: He was my pick to win it last year and he let me down. Never forget.

13. Zach Johnson: Meanest nice guy in the field. He's a warrior down the stretch. Nothing to show since his win in 2007, though. Nary a top 15.

14. Nick Watney: Wait, Nick Watney? That Nick Watney? Top 20 in three of his past five Masters. No form lately but experience here trumps recent form. Just ask our next guy.

The Fred Couples group

15. Fred Couples: Would it be a better story for Couples to win at age 54 than it was for Jack Nicklaus at 46? It kind of would, wouldn't it?

The 'can win but probably won't' group

16. Steve Stricker: Pretty solid average finish of 23rd over the past five years. Problem is, I don't think he can win it.

17. Charl Schwartzel: I'm still reeling after finding out he served a monkey gland sauce the year after winning his Masters.

18. Graeme McDowell: Three cuts and a T12 in his past four outings here. I have no idea.

19. Ian Poulter: Cut last season but before that two top 10s in three years. Has the cojones to close, but can he get there?

20. Keegan Bradley: Like McIlroy in that he has been sneaky bad at this tournament. Hasn't finished inside the top 25 in his only two attempts.

21. Henrik Stenson: Would you believe no top 15s at this tournament for Stenson? If he hadn't started so slow, I would have him higher.

22. Louis Oosthuizen: I'm not convinced he's totally healthy or I would have him inside the top 10. Maybe the sweetest swinger in the field.

The young guns

23. Harris English: The newcomer with the best chance to win. He doesn't get the headlines of these next two guys but he's every bit as good and probably a little bit more.

24. Patrick Reed: I'll do it, I'll put Reed in the top 25. He probably thinks he's going to win five or six of these babies. He's going to get a rude awakening but he won't stop believing.

25. Jordan Spieth: He'll be a crowd favorite but he doesn't have the chops to win this tournament yet. And if, on the off chance he does don green on Sunday, you can heat up the "He's the next Tiger/Rory" talk.

The 'they should perform better here' group

Can Ernie Els crack the Top 10 this Masters?
Can Ernie Els crack the Top 10 this Masters? (USATSI)

26. Jason Dufner: The Duf has five top fives at the US Open and PGA Championship. None at the Masters and British Open.

27. Jim Furyk: Mr. Five Hour Energy has only missed one cut since 2001. I'm with Shane Bacon -- if Furyk wins I hope Fluff (his caddie) douses him in those mini energy drinks on the 18th green.

28. K.J. Choi: The Korean Angel Cabrera. Bad past two years but two top-eight finishes the two years before that. He's a bear to fully eliminate on the weekends when he's contending. Just keeps coming.

29. Jimmy Walker: First Masters for this 35-year-old. Great start to the season but his putter won't stay hot forever.

30. Ernie Els: Always dangerous in big-boy events. Finished T13 last season. Dan Jenkins recently ranked him as one of the best ever to not wear green.

31. Luke Donald: A mainstay on the weekend, I just don't think this is the tournament for him. He seems better suited for a US Open title.

32. Rickie Fowler: Been consistently making cuts but missing top 20s here for the past three years. Also doubt he has that hat on backwards again in the press room.

33. Hunter Mahan: Cut two of the past three years here and potentially not 100 percent with a tweaked back? No thanks.

34. Webb Simpson: He just hasn't been good at this event. His baby blue pants will be a star but I don't think he will be. My sneaky "will miss the cut" pick.

The 'will make the weekend but not a lot of noise' group

35. Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano: Finished T20 here last season. Also might have the best looking spouse in the field.

36. Bill Haas: A lock to make the cut and finish outside the top 15. He has become a mid-April staple at this tournament but has also been Steve Stricker 2.0 for the most part.

37. Victor Dubuisson: He'll put on a show around the wily greens of Augusta National. Can he putt enough to get to the weekend, though? I have my doubts.

38. Thorbjorn Olesen: Two top fives in Europe this year but hasn't made a cut on the PGA Tour. Finished T6 at Augusta last year. That's some supreme stuff from this now second-time competitor from Denmark.

39. Hideki Matsuyama: Was low amateur back in 2011 and finished top 20 in three of the four majors last year. I'm all in on this 22-year-old.

40. Ryan Moore: Best finish was, strangely, as an amateur back in 2005 (13th). I don't seem him besting that this season.

41. Marc Leishman: Finished T4 last year and had the best seat in the world for Adam Scott's "Come on, Aussie!" putt.

42. Russell Henley: Couldn't stop talking this spring about how badly he wanted back in. Got his wish with a win over McIlroy at the Honda Classic.

43. Billy Horschel: Has only made one cut at a major in his career but it was a T4 at last year's US Open. His ball-striking sets up great for Augusta, to be determined whether his temperament does too.

44. Gary Woodland: Certainly has the length to contend. He's T155 in strokes gained with the putter right now, though, so that's an issue.

45. Y.E. Yang: Finished T8 in 2010, the year after he took down Tiger Woods at the PGA Championship. I don't expect a ton out of him but he usually has a few surprises in store.

46. Peter Hanson: The Swede is sneaky good here. Led by one over Phil Mickelson going into the final round in 2012 but got caught by Bubba Watson and Louis Oosthuizen.

47. Graham DeLaet: It's still shocking to me that this Canadian hasn't won on tour. Never played the Masters, either, so I can't put him too high.

48. Francesco Molinari: Two top 30s in the past four years. He just doesn't do much for me at this tournament.

49. Branden Grace: I'm torn here, I really like Grace but he's so young and so inexperienced at this tournament. Finished T18 in his first crack at it last season.

50. Trevor Immelman: Hasn't missed a cut here since 2006. His brother tweeted out a photo of the 17th hole sans Eisenhower Tree. We have yet to locate his brother's whereabouts.

The 'probably won't make the cut' group

51. Martin Kaymer: Remember when he changed his entire swing so he could win Augusta and then never finished better than T35? Yeah, not good.

52. Matt Every: Is he cocky? Well, is Vijay Singh disliked? Sure, Every has a little juiced-up confidence but you can tell winning tournaments means something to him as displayed by his shaking-hands-down-the-stretch performance at Bay Hill.

53. Miguel Angel Jimenez: Has made the cut every time he has played here since 2003. The Spanish Angel Cabrera. All I want is him and Scott Van Pelt swigging from a monster bottle of cabernet on the range. My life would be complete.

54. Tim Clark: Missed three cuts in a row then a T11 last year at Augusta [throws hands up in air].

55. Thomas Bjorn: The Danish Angel Cabrera. I still cannot believe he has never won a major. Made the past two cuts here, though.

56. Stewart Cink: Best finish ever was a T3 back in 2008. Missed nine of 17 major cuts since winning the British Open in 2009.

57. Chris Kirk: Won the McGladrey Classic at the end of 2013 and nearly won the Sony Open to kick off the season in Hawaii. This will be his first Masters, though, and he's not even the best of that group of golfers.

58. Kevin Stadler: Did you know he's playing with his pops in his first-ever Masters? Did you know that? Hold on, let me tell you about it.

59. Jamie Donaldson: I love his game but he has never played a weekend here and only has one top 10 at a major in his career.

60. Jonas Blixt: Weird profile -- finished fourth at the PGA Championship last season but has been up and down all of 2014. This is his first Masters and your guess is as good as mine for how he'll finish.

61. Scott Stallings: Finished T27 in his only appearance in 2012 but has only made two cuts since winning Torrey Pines early in 2014.

62. Vijay Singh: Won here a little over a decade ago but it feels like a lot longer than that. He's 50/50 to make the cut, but not much more than that.

63. Sang-Moon Bae: Made his way to Augusta via Dallas and the Byron Nelson. No top 10s this year, only one Masters appearance. Not a good combo.

64. Matteo Manassero: I love him and I love his game but he has done nothing here and I don't see that changing this week.

The 'might only pack two outfits' group

65. Joost Luiten: This will be Luiten's first Masters. That hasn't resulted in a win since 1979 (Fuzzy Zoeller).

66. John Senden: Tough to rank a recent tour winner this low but Senden has only made one cut here and that came in 2013.

67. Matt Jones: Coming off a spectacular playoff win over Matt Kuchar at the Houston Open. Unfortunately that will be the highlight of his April, I believe.

68. Steven Bowditch: Cool story of a man who has overcome some pretty severe depression. He has the best eyebrows in the field, too.

69. Stephen Gallacher: Has never played Augusta despite many opportunities. Dreams do come true.

70. Brendon de Jonge: I was actually surprised to find out this is the first Masters for this Zimbabwean. No top 30s at majors ever.

71. Lucas Glover: Has only made four cuts this year but came out of nowhere to finish top 20 at Bay Hill. Made the cut at last year's Masters so I can go too low with him.

72. David Lynn: Hasn't made a cut since the beginning of February. I just want him to plank on the Hogan Bridge.

73. Kevin Streelman: Never made a top 10 at a major. I don't expect that to start this year.

74. Boo Weekley: No top 10s this year, his last (and only) cut made at the Masters was 2008. On the other hand, his hunting-themed golf gear will make Augusta members wretch.

75. D.A. Points: No top 25s this season and cut in four of his past seven tournaments. Used a putter from the 1980s to win last year's Houston Open. He'll need everyone else to use putters from the 1880s to win this year's Masters.

76. Roberto Castro: First Masters, four cuts so far this year. He's green and not in the right way.

77. Darren Clarke: Lost a ton of weight in the offseason but it hasn't helped him make many cuts. No top 20s on either tour this calendar year.

78. Bernhard Langer: Langer is 56 but as fit as somebody half his age. Finished T25 (!!) at the 2013 edition.

79. Thongchai Jaidee: 44-year-old just finished T6 at the Cadillac Championship but has never played the weekend of a Masters. A nice fill-in for Kiradech Aphibarnrat on our name of the tournament list.

80. John Huh: Pretty ugly year for Huh so far. No top 20s and missed five of his past six cuts.

81. Ken Duke: The Duker might be the king of hole-in-one celebrations but he won't be dancing to any green jacket ceremonies this April.

82. Mike Weir: The 2003 champ has missed his past three cuts here.

83. Derek Ernst: Ernst has finished just nine tournaments since winning in the middle of 2013. And one was a tournament that didn't have a cut.

The 'former champs and amateurs who will make for great stories' group

Be sure to enjoy Craig Stadler's last Masters hurrah.
Be sure to enjoy Craig Stadler's last Masters hurrah. (USATSI)

84. Jordan Niebrugge: Won the US Amateur Public Links Championship in the summer of 2013. Last amateur from Oklahoma State to compete was Peter Uihlein in 2011. Good luck, Cowboy.

85. Matthew Fitzpatrick: He finished as low amateur at the British Open last year but recently missed the cut at Bay Hill. Said he's "really excited to see the place" about Augusta. That won't end well.

86. Mark O'Meara: The 1998 champ is just crushing the Champions Tour. Top 10s all over the place. That won't help him much out here, though.

87. Garrick Porteous: Porteous is the reigning British Amateur champion. He finished three shots outside the cut at the 2013 British Open.

88. Sandy Lyle: Lyle made the cut (!) at the 2013 Masters and finished T54 with Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley.

89. Tom Watson: Remember when Watson finished T18 in 2010? Yeah, that was pretty awesome. He has missed the last three cuts.

90. Larry Mize: Hasn't made a cut since 2009 although he just missed it by one stroke last year. An Augusta native who won in 1987 on a chip in a playoff. Drama.

91. Jose Maria Olazabal: Made his first cut since 2007 last year when he finished T50. There's just no substitute for the experience of a former champion.

92. Oliver Goss: The US Amateur runner-up is from Australia and he wants a practice round with Segio Garcia and Adam Scott. Good luck, kid.

93. Chang-woo Lee: I should have learned my lesson when I ranked the 2012 Asia-Pacific Amateur champ, Guan Tianlang, this low last year and he made the cut. It can't happen twice, can it?

94. Michael McCoy: The 50-year-old is the second-oldest winner of the USGA Mid-Amateur. He'll no doubt get a little emotional coming down Magnolia Lane.

95. Craig Stadler: Gets to play one final Masters with his son. It won't be pretty but their family won't care.

96. Ian Woosnam: Woosie has only made one cut here since 2000. That won't change this year.

97. Ben Crenshaw: It was a mini-miracle when he won in 1995 and it's not getting better. He's 62 and not shooting anything close to his age at Augusta.

For more golf news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnGolf and @KylePorterCBS on Twitter or Google+ and like us on Facebook.

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