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Tom Jones' Two Cents

Sports analysis, perspective and more.

Who can beat Tiger?



Phil The Masters starts Thursday and Tiger Woods, of course, is the favorite. He has won four times at Augusta, but is looking for his first green jacket since 2005. So who wins this weekend? I'll take Tiger and you take the field and I'll feel good about my chances. But, here are five players with the best chance of upsetting Tiger and wearing the green jacket come Sunday afternoon.

1. Phil Mickelson. Lefty has actually won more Masters in the past four years than Tiger. He won in 2004 and then again in 2006. He hasn't looked quite like himself recently, but the course is perfectly suited to his game and his success at Augusta gives him the confidence anyone needs to hold off Tiger. And if you believe in the whole even-numbered year thing, it's Mickelson's turn to win.

2. Zach Johnson. If I had offered up Zach Johnson's name a year ago, you probably would've said, "Zach Who?'' But now, we're talking about the defending Masters champ. Last year, he played the Par 5's in 11-under-par. If he can do that again, he'll have a chance.

3. Geoff Ogilvy. Playing as well as anyone the past month. He won at Doral and finished tied for second in Houston. Also has shown he can handle the pressure when his name is on the leaderboard next to Tiger's. One of the few guys who doesn't seem to get intimidated by Woods.

4. Fred Couples. Freddy seems to be gearing up for one great last run in his career and was in the hunt in Houston. And this is a place where he's extremely comfortable. He has played in 23 Masters and made the cut 23 times, winning in 1992. In fact, he's the only Masters champ to have never missed the cut and his streak of making 23 straight cuts at the Masters is a record he shares with Gary Player.

5. Jim Furyk. Another player who handles pressure well. He doesn't hit it long, and that could present some problems if the Augusta course plays long this weekend. But he hits 'em straight and that's always a good thing at Augusta. When his putter is working, he's usually in the running.

[Last modified: Monday, June 14, 2010 2:41pm]


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