10 predictions for the 2014 Masters

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Tiger Woods' absence has dominated the Masters storylines this week but once play begins on Thursday I think that will long be forgotten.

This is the one tournament that's as close to Tiger-proof as a golf tournament in 2014 can be. Plus, if Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson, or Adam Scott is in it late on Sunday, everyone will be nearly as enthralled as if it was the man in red himself.

Here are my 10 predictions (sure to go wrong) about the 2014 Masters:

1. Our winner is someone in the world top 10: For all the talk of the most open field in decades, I still think experience matters in majors and especially in this one. Give me the Rory-Phil-Scott-Kuchar-Sergio fivesome and you can have everyone else.

2. Someone over age 50 finishes in the top 20: Fred Couples has done it four years in a row, Berhnard Langer nearly did it last year, and Tom Watson finished T18 in 2010. I think it's going to happen.

3. The tournament gets above a nine Nielsen rating on Sunday: Last year the Masters scored over a 10 for its Sunday Nielsen rating. Folks are predicting something a lot lower this year with Tiger Woods out (a Vegas contact I talked to said the over/under would be nine). I'll take the over.

4. Sergio Garcia will be one of the five biggest storylines: I have no idea what he's going to do but it feels like he's going to be prominently involved in this year's Masters.

5. There will be a 10 on a hole: Both Kevin Na and Bubba Watson did it in 2013, both on No. 12. Might not come on that hole, but it will happen again.

6. Somebody you will have to Google will be the leader after day one: Marc Leishman last year, Alviro Quiros a few years back, somebody is going to go 65 or 66 and then not sleep on Thursday night. Candidates: Chris Kirk, Victor Dubuisson, Gary Woodland.

7. Jim Nantz's final call will top his UConn title game call: Please let it be Rose or Day. Please let it be Rose or Day.

8. Angel Cabrera will contend: There is Roger Federer in the early 2000s. There is death. There is taxes. And there is Angel Cabrera at Augusta. The leader in the clubhouse for golfers who have made each of the last five cuts at 1,412 strokes.

9. Tiger Woods will not win: For those of who you who are still in denial. 

10. Matt Kuchar will: One for the good guys of sport. Kuchar told a story on Feherty a few weeks ago about shaking while teeing it up with Tiger in the 1998 tournament as the US Amateur champ. Some youngster will be doing the same with him in 2015.

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

CBS Sports Writer

Kyle Porter began his sports writing career with CBS Sports in 2012. He covers golf, writes poetry about Rory McIlroy's swing, stays ready on Tiger watch and loves the Masters more than anyone you know.... Full Bio

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