picks the Masters winner


Who will slip on the green jacket after the 78th playing of the Masters Tournament?'s staff of columnists, analysts, reporters and editors has its picks for the top three finishers.

Follow along during Sunday's final round to see how the selections play out.

Fred Couples shoots 68, prompting women over 50 to tell their men over 50 to head back to the range in droves. Kevin Stadler drops a 69, and all golfers under 6 feet tall and over 200 pounds (heck yeah that's me) head to Krispy Kreme to work on their game.

Michael Collins

Rickie Fowler shoots 70 along with Miguel Angel Jimenez, meaning next weekend you're going to see plenty of grown men over 35 wearing orange outfits while smoking cigars and doing inappropriate stretching exercises on the practice tees.

Jonas Blixt will shoot 71 and get as close as Jesper Parnevik did to a major championship. As this train wreck of humanity is happening, the new young face of golf, Jordan Spieth, becomes the youngest major champion in Masters history, shooting a 71 and finishing at 6 under.

-- Michael Collins

After enduring a tough day with plenty of chances to fall away, Bubba Watson is the pick to prevail Sunday. He managed to keep a share of the lead despite five bogeys and a round of 74. But those two clutch par-saving putts at the 17th and 18th holes kept him in the final group, where he'll go up against potentially the youngest Masters winner ever in Jordan Spieth.

Bob Harig

This would seem too much for the 20-year-old, who, don't forget, is playing in his first Masters. There's too much history to overcome there.

Spieth will get a top-three but falls behind Miguel Angel Jimenez. The Spaniard makes a valiant run at becoming the oldest major champion before finishing second.

-- Bob Harig

Invariably when asked what do you want to see when covering a major championship, the easy answer is history. That's what would happen if Jordan Spieth were to win the Masters on Sunday, besting Tiger Woods' mark as youngest champion ever in this tournament.

Kevin Maguire

Unfortunately for the 20-year-old Texan, there's a reason only one Masters rookie has won on these grounds since the mid-1930s. Even if it's a cliche, experience matters around these parts, especially when he's never felt the final-round nerves of playing in the last pairing on Sunday in a major.

So if not 54-hole co-leader Spieth, then who?

Rickie Fowler mainly because he's putting lights out this week, ranking second in total putts. Of players who made the cut, he's first.

Keep an eye out for Justin Rose, though. He's lurking 4 shots off the lead and will be finished with his round about an hour before the final pairing. He could post a number and make the rest of the field sweat it out on the back nine at Augusta National on Sunday.

-- Kevin Maguire

I initially picked Rory McIlroy to win the Masters, so take this for what it's worth. I really like the look in Jordan Spieth's eye.

Ian O'Connor

I know he's 20. I know he's a rookie. I know he'd be the youngest Masters winner ever. And yes, I know he's spending a whole lot of time out there talking to himself.

He's still trending the right way. He's been the most consistent player in the field (71-70-70), and everyone knows he has the talent to win multiple majors someday. After the third round, I talked to his brother Steven, a 6-foot-6 freshman on the Brown University basketball team, and he said this Masters is playing out just the way their one-on-one putting and chipping contests on the family's front-yard green did back in the day -- with Jordan imagining himself winning the green jacket.

I think Spieth will do this, in part because he's not at all afraid to do this. Spieth replaces Tiger Woods as the youngest Masters winner ever and becomes the next big American star in this sport.

-- Ian O'Connor

Fifty-year-old, ponytailed Miguel Angel Jimenez wins the Masters, and Augusta is never the same. By the time Jimenez reaches the press room, he is bathed in more red wine than a Pamplona runner. He shouts, "What? Is the Masters only for the young people? Make for the celebrating!"

Rick Reilly

He is then carried to the traditional Masters dinner on the shoulders of six bikini models, all smoking Cubans and humming "Malaguena." He and every Spaniard in Georgia take over the local Cracker Barrel and all wind up in the jail they nearly took Martha Burk to.

In the morning, he retires from golf to start his own nudist theme park in Tampa, Fla. ... No, actually Matt Kuchar wins by 2.

-- Rick Reilly

Much like my NCAA bracket with Louisville, my pre-Masters pick (Phil Mickelson) didn't reach the final day. He didn't even reach the weekend. But my pre-Masters 1-A choice was Matt Kuchar, so I'll stick with him on Sunday.

Gene Wojciechowski

He has generally done well at Augusta National and is flying a little below the Sunday Masters radar. Or like the wise Paul Azinger says: It's one thing to go to sleep with the lead and another to wake up with it. In other words, I don't think Kuchar is going to stress out Saturday night or Sunday.

Bubba Watson was this close to totally losing control of his third round Saturday. But he regrouped, sort of, with a couple of clutch par-saving putts down the stretch. He leaked oil Saturday but remains in the lead.

I can't see him going 0-for-back nine par-5s Sunday. And we know how he can respond when it really matters. Hello, wedge shot in 2012. I think he's right: His one bad round is now out of the way.

Jordan Spieth is a Masters work in progress, but you have to like the way he's trending. Including practice rounds, he's played a total of 10 times at Augusta National, and you can see his understanding of the nuances of the place grows each time he makes a loop. He's done a good job of suppressing his sometimes fiery demeanor.

He has an edge, but in a good way this week. I also think he's learned from his past weekend struggles when in contention. It isn't an understatement to say that Spieth has dreamed of this day: being in contention on Sunday of the Masters.

-- Gene Wojciechowski

Here's a voter-by-voter breakdown of the results: