AUGUSTA, Ga. -- This year without the world's No. 1 golfer in the field, I'm going to do the Top 5 playing in the Masters with a few miscellaneous players thrown in just to give everyone more opportunities to call me dumb. It doesn't matter to me; sticks and stones may break my bones, but I'm still at the Masters!
Adam Scott World Ranking: No. 2 | Score: 69
Defending a title is hard. Defending the Masters has been done only by two Hall of Famers (Jack Nicklaus, Nick Faldo) and one future Hall of Famer (Tiger Woods). The plus is for showing the composure of a major champion after making double bogey on the 12th. So why not an A? Because he birdied only one of the par 5s. If he goes 3-for-4 on the par 5s Friday and plays steadily, he'll have at least a two-shot lead by the end of the day.
Henrik Stenson World Ranking: No. 3 | Score: 73
I'm not going to fail him because he's still inside the top 30 going into Friday. What I am going to do is start questioning his hunger this year. And it's not his fault. It's hard to be hungry after banking more than $16 million last year on the PGA Tour alone. But he has a chance to be No. 1 in the world, and that doesn't have a price tag. Eleven greens in regulation and 32 putts won't even make you No. 20 in my book. He should skip dinner Thursday night and come back hungry Friday.
Jason Day World Ranking: No. 4 | Score: 75
He was a birdie and a nice up-and-down on 18 away from an F. He gets an asterisk on his grade because I'm writing this before finding out whether he hurt his thumb during the round, in which case I apologize to him for that first sentence. If he's not hurt, then the four-hole stretch from the eighth to 11th holes shows that he may not be ready for the pressure that comes with being a favorite going into a major. Friday needs to be a great day for him. Again, though, if the thumb is hurt then all bets are off.
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