Who are you picking to win the 2017 Masters? That’s what everyone wants to know this time of year, and rarely has the decision at the top been more difficult.
The 94-golfer field for the Masters is loaded with stars, including many who have already played tremendous golf in 2017 both on the PGA Tour and worldwide.
Narrowing this down to a champion and top finishers is a tough task, but we here at CBS Sports are certainly up to it.
2017 Masters predictions
Kyle Porter, lead writer
Winner -- Rory McIlroy (8/1): He has three top 10s in the last three years here and has been playing solid golf since returning from a rib injury in early March. I’m concerned about how the wind will affect him and mildly worried that his putter will run cold, but he has to win one of these years, right?
Top 10 lock -- Dustin Johnson: If he shoots his par, then he will be 16 under on the week because the par 5s are par 4s. With top 10 finishes each of the last two years, he’s figuring out Augusta National.
Sleeper – Tyrrell Hatton (60/1): Hatton is the best player in the world nobody knows. He is tied with Henrik Stenson for the longest streak of top 10s at majors (two) and is a top 15 golfer even though nobody knows what he looks like.
Top 5 in order (1-5): Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Marc Leishman, Paul Casey, Justin Thomas
Surprise prediction: Spieth will hit one in the water on Thursday or Friday. This is a hunch. Spieth is as stubborn as they come, and I think he’s going to go right at pin at No. 12 to try and prove everyone who has been chattering about it for the last year wrong. That could go badly with strong winds over the first two days.
Lowest round: 65
Winning score: 276 (-12)
Winner’s Sunday score: 70
Chip Patterson, writer
Winner -- Jordan Spieth (13/2): This goes one of two ways for Spieth. He’s either going finish in the top two for a fourth straight season, or he’s going to miss the cut for the first time in his young Masters career. Preparing for this week has meant reliving that incredible, awful, impeccable moment of drama at No. 12, and I just don’t see how Amen Corner for Jordan Spieth doesn’t end up being a dominant storyline here in 2017. Dustin Johnson is playing incredible golf and dominating with his power, but Spieth can win this thing on the green.
Top 10 lock -- Dustin Johnson: D.J. is feeling it, sitting on top of the golf world right now, and I just don’t see Augusta being the place where his hot streak is going to come to an end. Johnson, remember, has two straight top-10 finishes at Augusta and was just one stroke behind Spieth a year ago. But it’s his recent play, not necessarily the experience in previous Masters championships, that makes him a lock to be in the mix on Sunday. He’s the No. 1 player in the world, the betting favorite and hitting greens in regulation better than anyone else on tour right now.
Sleeper -- Louis Oosthuizen (55/1): Oosty has finished a little bit higher on the leaderboard each year since missing the cut in 2013 with a 77 on Friday in last year’s tournament being the only bad round at Augusta in that stretch. Five less strokes in 2016 would have put him in a tie for second place last year, and I think -- if 70s and 71s are good enough to win -- he’ll be in the mix.
Top 5 in order (1-5): Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson, Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas, Justin Rose
Surprise prediction: Everyone falls in love with amateur Curtis Luck, who will make the cut after two days with Danny Willett and Matt Kurchar and provide plenty of wisdom to the soon-to-be pro from Australia. Luck is the No. 1 ranked amateur in the world and has been waiting for this moment, and I think he’ll be a fan favorite by the end of the weekend.
Lowest round: 65
Winning score: 279 (-9)
Winner’s Sunday score: 69
Adam Silverstein, editor
Winner -- Rory McIlroy (8/1): I’m getting tired of picking McIlroy here, but when I look at the field, I’m not sure I’d feel comfortable putting it all on the line for anyone else besides Spieth and Johnson -- and I’m trying not to be a total front-runner. McIlroy participated in three non-match play PGA Tour events this season and finished T4, T7, T4 with 33 percent of those rounds scored at 66 or lower. He went 65-69 to close the Arnold Palmer Invitational and remains on the outside looking in at the career slam. Also, these are his finishes at the last three Masters: T8, 4th, T10. That said, if he doesn’t win, McIlroy might be a candidate to go in the complete opposite direction.
Top 10 lock -- Jordan Spieth: Completely understand the love for Johnson here, but I’ll go with the guy who is a couple strokes shy of winning three straight Masters.
Sleeper -- Brandt Snedeker (50/1): There’s a couple things I look for in a sleeper, including prior success at an event and solid play entering a tournament. Snedeker checks both those boxes with three top 10s at the Masters (T10 last year) and three top 10s in his last five non-match play events.
Top 5 in order (1-5): Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, John Rahm
Surprise prediction: Last year, I correctly predicted Zach Johnson missing the cut. (Sorry, Z.J.) So who do I have in my crosshairs for 2017? After three tremendous efforts at the Masters earlier this decade (T2 in 2011, T8 in 2012, champ in 2013), Adam Scott has fallen off. He hasn’t missed a cut at Augusta National since 2009, but he did at the Houston Open this past week and has gone over par at each of his last two events. His last three finishes at the Masters are T14, T38 and T42.
Lowest round: 65
Winning score: 277 (-11)
Winner’s Sunday score: 68