Thursday, April 7, 2011, 12:35 a.m.
By Benjamin StandigCSNwashington.com
For the Masters, which begins today, our foursome of D.C. sports media folk weigh in with their picks for champion and dark horse.
Just in case those picks end up finding the water at Amen Corner, we also have a back-nines worth of local golf pros and instructors offering up their choices of who will wincontend for the coveted green jacket.
Chick Hernandez, Comcast Sportsnet
Champion: Ryo Ishikawa. Weight of his country on his shoulders, donating all of his earnings this year to the earthquake relief fund. The green jacket will be the only thing he gets to keep for himself.
Dark horse: Tiger Woods. With his fathers voice ringing in his ears, Tiger makes his comeback to the place where he first announced his arrival.
Ryan OHalloran, CSNwashington.com
Champion: Phil Mickelson. He appears to be good form after winning last week in Houston on a course that is set up like Augusta. Usually, it's only Tiger standing in Phil's way, so the fact that Woods' swing is broken only strengthens Mickelson's chances for a fourth green jacket.
Dark horse: Paul Casey.He hasn't won a major yet but he's knocked on the door a couple times and is ready to break through.
Rich Tandler, CSNwashington.com and RealRedskins.com
Champion: Martin Kaymer. One of the hottest golfers over the past year, Kaymer will rein in his tendency to miss too many fairways and will take the green jacket on Sunday evening.
Dark horse: Tiger Woods.Can Tiger Woods be a long shot? I would say that a player who hasnt won anywhere since 2009 and hasnt won at Augusta since a few months after George W. Bush started his second term qualifies. One day, Tiger will revert back to the Tiger of old, and this could be the week.
Gene Wang, Washington Post
Champion: Dustin Johnson. The course is 500 yards longer than 10 years ago, giving big hitters like D.J. a huge advantage.
Dark horse: Tiger Woods Just when you're ready to count him out, he does something amazing. Plus he finished tied for fourth last year.
Bob Dolan, head golf professional, Columbia Country Club. Champion: Martin Kaymer, dark horse: Jason Day
Jon Lesage, head PGA professional, Falls Road. Champion: Dustin Johnson. I think last years PGA Championship collapse was a good learning experience for him. Dark horse: Anthony Kim. Hes been down at Augusta practicing a lot. I think hes taking this pretty seriously.
Steve Bosdosh, PGA, The Members Club at Four Streams. Champion: Phil Mickelson. I just think he's of the agepoint in his career that the majors get his juices flowing. Dark horse: Steve Stricker. Maybe the best wedge player out there today. You can't hide a pin from him when he has a wedge in his hand.
Scott Purpura, director of golf, The Golf Club at Landsdowne. Champion: Graeme McDowell. He won the U.S. Open last year, and since that time, hes proven to be a clutch player in big spots. Dark horse: Nick Watney. Hes a got a really solid game all the way around. For some reason, hes not on people minds at the big events but I think he has the game for Augusta.
Jay Dufty, head golf professional, TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm. Champion: Phil Mickelson. He knows the property so well, and he plays with a lot of confidence there. Folks would love to get a copy of his course notes. Dark horse: Bubba Watson. He came close at the PGA last year, has great shot-making imagination and is one of the best on tour at avoiding three-putts, which is huge at Augusta.
Cary Sciorra, head golf professional, Robert Trent Jones Golf Club. Champion: Dustin Johnson. Hes had very close calls, but failed to close out potential wins. Hes due to break through. Dark horse: Steve Marino.
Joshua Tremblay, head golf pro, Springfield Golf and Country Club. Champion: Tiger Woods. I know that Phil Mickelson will be a popular pick here, especially after his stellar play over the weekend in Houston. Tiger finished T-4 here last year, and while his struggles have been well-documented since November '09, I'm not going to bet against him. Dark horse: Alvaro Quiros. For those of you familiar with the European tour, this Spaniard is an up-and-coming force in golf and reminds me a bit of Angel Cabrera. His length will be a big factor on this course, and he showed in Dubai that he has what it takes to win against stiff competition.
John Guyton, head golf professional, Trump National. Champion: Nick Watney. He has been improving steadily the last few years and has become a winner on tour. I can see Watney breaking through to win his first major championship at the Masters this year. Dark horse: Ian Poulter. I think Ian has the fire and competitive attitude to win more often. Because he is such a clutch putter, he should do well this week. As long as he doesnt spend too much time deciding on what to wear, Ian should play well at Augusta!
David Dorn, director of golf, Woodmont. Champion: Lee Westwood. Hes the best player not to win a major. Hes been up there close over the last 10 majors. Its his time. Plus, hes been on fire. Dark horse: Rickie Fowler.