Golf experts offer their predictions, picks for 2019 Masters

Golf experts offer their predictions, picks for 2019 Masters

A tradition unlike any other... that magical drive down Magnolia Lane … okay that’ll do. There is no need to get cute, not when the golf’s first Major of the year – and most prestigious event on the calendar – The Masters is here. 

The tee times are set, the Champions dinner scarfed down. Now there’s only one thing left to do before the Honorary Starters get this tournament started: help guide you through who can win and who is going to win this year’s Masters.    

The panel of golf experts offering their predictions, picks and analysis are: 

Kenny Kim
Host of the Fantasy Golf Degenerates podcast

Geoffrey Fienberg
The Pat Mayo Experience/DK Live

Chris Garosi
Senior Fantasy Writer, The Fantasy Fix

Bryan Snow
Partner at

Doug McKinney
Junkies TV Producer, NBC Sports Washington

Garrett Johnston
Golf Journalist for, Caddie Network, contributor (Covered 25 majors)

Pick to win:

Kim: Rickie Fowler

DJ and Rory are the favorites for good reason and I think both will contend, but I think Fowler finally gets that monkey off his back this week. His iron game and putting is always solid. The key to his high finishes this season has been his off the tee game and he looked strong with his driver at Valero last week gaining 3.5 strokes on the field off the tee. His life is in a good place as he is newly engaged and we saw a newly engaged Sergio Garcia put on the Green Jacket a couple years ago. Being happy at home can go a long way into improving other aspects of your life. Rickie’s got the form, the stats, the girl, and will be wearing the Green Jacket on Sunday.

Fienberg: Rickie Fowler

I'm keeping it real here and letting you all know that I - like many other grown men who are long past the age of being able to dress like Rickie - remain fanboys of his despite his lack of wins compared to the Tour's other top stars. Yet here we are and little Rickie has turned 30-years-old so he’s officially on the clock. And no track suits his quest for a major more than Augusta. If you make me take off my fanboy hat, I'll give you Jon Rahm. 

Garosi: Paul Casey

Everything seems to point to Rory McIlroy taking his first Masters win in 2019. Rory has top 10 finishes in all seven of his 2019 tournaments. He’s finished in the top 10 at the Masters in each of the last five years. If the weather turns nasty, he can handle it. Except, the recent history of winners is that they come in at longer odds than where Rory currently sits. Eight of the last 10 Masters’ winners have come in at 20/1 odds or longer. So, I’m going to wander down the list to Paul Casey as my pick to win the 2019 Masters. Casey has solid pedigree at August (four straight top 15s with three finishes in the top six) and excellent form (four top 3 finishes including a win in 2019). 

Snow: Rory McIlroy

This is almost a dead heat for me between Tiger and Rory but I won’t let my heart get the better of me. With his worst finish ALL YEAR being 9th, Rory is the hottest player on the planet, and with 5 straight top 10s at Augusta, he has course history on his side. Past that he is top 10 in all major statistical categories as well. Rory wins this week to challenge Rose as the #1 player in the world.

McKinney: Rory McIlroy

For a second there, I thought I was going to be the only one going with the favorite? I am well aware of the enormous pressure on him trying to close out the Majors Grand Slam. Guess what, so is Rory. And this thing has to happen at some point right? There is so much to like about Rory this weekend: 1) he has stats that will play up to Augusta (1st in SG: off-the-tee, SG: tee-to-green and SG: total); 2) his form in the 2019 calendar year is outstanding (9-1-6-2-4-5-4) and 3) he has five top 10 finishes in his last five appearances at The Masters. It's going to happen and I don't see why it can't this weekend.

Johnston: Louis Oosthuizen

Every player that walks these famous grounds will tell you this is a second shot golf course. And world-class iron-play is right in Louis’ wheelhouse. He’s quietly the hottest golfer not in the Top 10 right now coming off Valspar and Match Play close calls.

Sleeper Pick(s):

Kim: Hideki Matsuyama 

While everyone is talking about Rory, DJ, Tiger, and the like, one name that seems to have slipped under the radar is Hideki Matsuyama. After struggling at Augusta his first few tries he has seemed to figure the course out with four straight Top 20s including two Top 10s. He’s long enough to compete even if the course is wet and his iron game is one of the best in the field. Like usual it all comes down to his putter. He gained 2.7 strokes on the greens in his last stroke play outing at TPC Sawgrass so hopefully he can take that momentum into this week.

Fienberg: Hideki Matsuyama

To many outsiders he's kind of become a forgotten entity, as many young American golfers have risen to the moment, in combination with his injury plagued 2018. But if you look closer his form and stats have started to resemble the much-hyped Hideki of old and people close to the pulse of the PGA Tour have taken notice.  As have I; with a 40/1 ticket.

Garosi: Henrik Stenson

With the ubiquity of information, sleepers are tough to come by especially in a tournament with the small field the Masters presents. The bottom 20% of the field has little to no chance to win and only a slightly greater chance to make the cut. So, let’s aim for a guy who seems to have some warts and that man is the Swede Henrik Stenson. He was in poor form early in 2019 struggling with nearly every aspect of his game. However, he’s put up three top 25 finishes in his last four starts on Tour and has made the weekend in five of his last six trips to August with every finish in the top 25. 

Snow: Keegan Bradley

Admittedly, anytime you roster Keegan you click submit, cross your fingers, and close your eyes because who knows when that train will derail, BUT, I believe he is a solid sleeper play this week for a few reasons.  1. He is a cut machine, missing only 2 cuts in his last 30 events.  2. Augusta is a second shot course and Keegan is a great iron player and hits greens at an elite level.  If he can avoid his one blowup round on the weekend he will T20.

McKinney: Jordan Spieth

As we can all see - Kenny and Geoff like to copy each other's answers - cheaters!  Well, I'm going in the complete opposite direction. They both have Spieth listed below in a category you don't want to be featured in, but I like Spieth for a lot of reasons this weekend. He's going to be low-owned in all formats (DFS, One and Done, betting), so there is money to be made. His form on the season may not be spectacular, but I liked what I saw from him last weekend at the Valero Texas Open - not just his iron play and putting, but how he handled some adversity on Saturday's roller coaster round. And even if he hasn't played his best golf in 2019, whenever Jordan Spieth and Augusta National Golf Club hook up, we see the best from the young Texan. In five tries here, he has an 11th place finish, a 3rd place finish, two 2nd place finishes and a win. Can a Green Jacket winner be considered a sleeper? Well, the way people are discounting him this weekend...I'd say so. I will be rostering Spieth in all formats and plays this week.

Johnston: Brandt Snedeker

This tournament means so much to him. You could tell when he cried in his presser here after losing to Trevor Immelman in 2008. His short game is so consistent, and that will keep him on the leaderboard even though he’s not a sexy pick.

Longshot Pick(s):

Kim: Charles Howell III

CH3 is coming back home and finally competing at Augusta after a long layoff. He has been having a solid season with eight Top 20s in twelve events including a win at the RSM Classic. He has gained strokes tee to green in every event this season and his chipping and putting have been very strong. He finished 19th the last time he played here and I think he can beat that this week.

Fienberg: Patrick Cantlay 

For those who've followed my works this season, know I haven't kept this to myself at all: any chance that I got I would let the people know, that I do believe Cantlay is capable of greatness and The Masters does seem to suit what he does well. I've become even more emboldened in this pick as The Masters draws closer, seeing many respected people in this space have also started to take his chances to win this week very seriously. I will be using him as my 'One and Done' this week as well, so you can tell I'm taking the plunge on this risk/reward option.

Garosi: Charles Howell III

Charles Howell III never wins, right? Well, he won the RSM Classic in 2018. I know, I know – the RSM isn’t exactly the Masters. He hasn’t played at Augusta since 2012 when he finished 19th. His best finish this year? A sixth place finish at the Genesis Open which is a corollary course to Augusta and where we can often find solid values for the Masters.

Snow: Viktor Hovland

At $6,200 (on Draftkings) and being an Amateur, this is a true longshot pick.  The 2018 US Amateur champ is great off the tee and hits his irons pure.  If he can avoid getting eaten alive by Augusta greens then he will make the cut.

McKinney: Kevin Kisner, Patrick Cantlay

Kevin Kisner may have made some waves with his comments to Barstool Sports about not liking his chances in this year's rotation of majors tracks, but he is not fooling me. Not only is he coming off a win in his last start - Dell-Technologies Match Play - but Kisner has really impressed in majors recently, making the cut in 11 of the 12 events played. In that span, 'Kiz' has gone T7-T28 (The Masters)-Cut-T2-T12. Not to mention, Kisner is an SC native and played golf at the University of Georgia, I like him contending this weekend.

We had Jim Nantz on "The Junkies" less than two weeks ago and he selected Patrick Cantlay as his pick to win. Cantlay may not have much of a track record here (T-47 as an amateur, MC last year), but he has had a nice year on Tour: every cut he's made he has placed in the Top 25 (including four Top 10's) and he ranks 10th in SG: Total.

Johnston: Bernhard Langer

Never underestimate great experience at Augusta. This two-time Champ is in his early 60s and still outplayed Jason Day in 2016’s 3rd round to earn a spot in the penultimate group that Sunday.

Fade Pick(s):

Kim: Jordan Spieth

Spieth showed flashes last week but still only finished in 30th place. The crazy thing is that’s his best result of the season. He only has one Top 10 since last year’s Masters! His form is just not there for me to pull the trigger on him. He has the course history thing going for him but he’s currently 172nd in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green. Prior to his first five appearances at Augusta the lowest SG:T2G ranking he had was 37th in 2014. The last four years he was no lower than 14th. Definitely a fade for me.

Fienberg: Jordan Spieth

This isn't me jumping on a bandwagon. I've been calling for Jordan's regression even when he had all of his magic beans working for him. But it looks like that bag of magic beans has emptied and he's searching for many parts of his game. Note: I'm not much of course history truther.

Garosi: Phil Mickelson

Phil Mickelson comes in with little form having missed two of his last three cuts. His history at Augusta is also bumpy with two missed cuts in the last five years. 

Snow: Patrick Reed

The 2018 Green Jacket winner is struggling of late with his last four event finishes being 24th, MC, 47th, and 50th.  Struggling off the tee and with his iron play I will avoid him even though he is a former winner, especially when he has guys like Kuchar, Sergio, and Stenson all at a cheaper price this week.

McKinney: Patrick Reed, Bryson DeChambeau

While I would not fade Patrick Reed's Champions dinner menu (Caesar salad, steak, mac-n-cheese and awesome desserts), I am afraid I have to fade the defending champ this weekend mostly due to his form and quite frankly he just doesn't seem to have much confidence in his game right now.

As for DeChambeau, the price tag on "The Mad Scientist" is way too high for my liking. Plus, outside a Top 20 at The Players, DeChambeau has finished 56-46-40

Johnston: Justin Thomas

So much talent. So much firepower. Just don’t think he’s patient enough on the greens here.

The Open Championship 2019: Tiger Woods is playing poorly and it's stressing us all out

Golf Channel

The Open Championship 2019: Tiger Woods is playing poorly and it's stressing us all out

Tiger Woods carded a front-nine five-over-par 41 during his first round of the 2019 Open Championship at Royal Portrush.

It looked bad from the very beginning as he pulled an iron off the first tee into the fescue on the left and grimaced.

That's not just any "Aw shucks, I hit it in the rough" grimace. That's the grimace of a 43-year-old with a fused spine playing golf in cold, windy and rainy weather after not playing competitive golf since the U.S. Open about a month ago.

Woods said that the chilly, damp weather at Pebble Beach made it difficult for him to get loose during the U.S. Open, which would make it a fair assumption that the 15-time major winner is struggling with his back in similar weather at Royal Portrush.

But if there's anybody who can overcome physical issues on the course, it's Tiger Woods. He did, after all, win the 2008 U.S. Open on a broken leg. He seemed to weather the storm with a world-class par on the first after two poor shots. He had makeable birdie opportunities on the second and third holes, but missed both.

Then the squares on the scorecard came. Woods went bogey, double-bogey, bogey, par, bogey, bogey between the fifth and 10th holes. He hasn't looked particularly comfortable at any point during the round.

That reality has drawn reactions from just about everybody watching. 

It hasn't gone much better for Big Cat since. As somebody who moves the needle more than anybody else in the sport, nobody wants to watch him play like this. There's still some time left in Round 1, but things aren't looking good for Woods.

2019 Open Championship: How to watch, TV Channel, Tee Times, Groupings, Odds

USA Today Sports Images

2019 Open Championship: How to watch, TV Channel, Tee Times, Groupings, Odds

For the first time in 68 years, the golfing world will convene in Northern Ireland for a major championship, as Royal Portrush Golf Club will host the 148th Open Championship.

The final major of the season will provide an unfamiliar test for players of all ranks, as many have never before played this links course nestled along the northern Irish coast.

Rory McIlroy will be competing for a major title in his home country for the first time. The world No. 3 is having one of his strongest seasons in recent memory, winning two tournaments and finishing inside the top-10 at the most recent two majors. McIlroy, looking for his first major title since 2014, is the betting favorite in Vegas (8-1). Why not win the next one on home soil?

As with any major, all eyes will be on Tiger Woods. He has never played Royal Portrush, but his three Open Championship titles illustrate that he knows how to win across the pond. Woods has not teed it up for a competitive round since last month's U.S. Open, but many will anticipate a strong showing this weekend.

World No. 1 Brooks Koepka will continue to be a favorite in every major until he proves otherwise. The bomber has won four major titles since June of 2017 and has finished no worse than runner-up in this year's three previous major championships. Although his results have fallen off since his runner-up finish at the U.S. Open last month, Koepka can never be counted out on the big stage.

With many other tantalizing storylines and plenty of golfers with a realistic chance to win this week, sit back, relax and watch as many hours of golf as you can:


What: The 148th Open Championship

When: Thursday, July 18th – Sunday, 21st

Where: Royal Portrush Golf Club, Portrush, Northern Ireland

DAY 1 COVERAGE (Thursday, July 18):

Time (ET)/TV Channel: 1:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. (Golf Channel)

DAY 2 COVERAGE (Friday, July 19):

Time (ET)/TV Channel: 1:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. (Golf Channel)

DAY 3 COVERAGE (Saturday, July 20):

Time (ET)/TV Channel: 5 a.m. - 7 a.m. (Golf Channel), 7 a.m. - 3 p.m. (NBC)

DAY 4 COVERAGE (Sunday, July 21):

Time (ET)/TV Channel: 4 a.m. - 7 a.m. (Golf Channel), 7 a.m. - 2 p.m. (NBC)

All four rounds of the tournament can also be streamed online at, and


1:35 a.m. -- Darren Clarke, James Sugrue (a), Charley Hoffman
1:46 a.m. -- Emiliano Grillo, Sung Kang, Thomas Thurloway (a)
1:57 a.m. -- Andy Sullivan, Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Alexander Levy
2:08 a.m. -- Chan Kim, Zander Lombard, Brandon Wu (a)
2:19 a.m. -- Richard Sterne, Romain Langasque, Matthias Schmid (a)
2:30 a.m. -- Padraig Harrington, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Andrew Putnam
2:41 a.m. -- Bubba Watson, Eddie Pepperell, Rafa Cabrera-Bello
2:52 a.m. -- Phil Mickelson, Shane Lowry, Branden Grace
3:03 a.m. -- Alex Noren, Mike Lorenzo-Vera, Sam Locke
3:14 a.m. -- Webb Simpson, C.T. Pan, Sergio Garcia
3:25 a.m. -- Ryan Palmer, Andrea Pavan, Dylan Frittelli
3:36 a.m. -- Kyle Stanley, Andrew Johnston, Robert Macintyre
3:47 a.m. -- Mikko Korhonen, Oliver Wilson, Curtis Knipes (a)
4:03 a.m. -- Ian Poulter, Sungjae Im, Kiradech Aphibarnrat
4:14 a.m. -- Henrik Stenson, Xander Schauffele, Graeme McDowell
4:25 a.m. -- Haotong Li, Russell Knox, Bernd Wiesberger
4:36 a.m. -- Jason Kokrak, Connor Syme, Austin Connelly
4:47 a.m. -- Zach Johnson, David Duval, Corey Conners
4:58 a.m. -- Francesco Molinari, Bryson DeChambeau, Adam Scott
5:09 a.m. -- Rory McIlroy, Gary Woodland, Paul Casey
5:20 a.m. -- Rickie Fowler, Hideki Matsuyama, Kevin Kisner
5:31 a.m. -- Jim Furyk, Si Woo Kim, Jimmy Walker
5:42 a.m. -- Luke List, Alexander Bjork, Paul Waring
5:53 a.m. -- Shugi Imahira, Nate Lashley, Benjamin Hebert
6:04 a.m. -- Mikumu Horikawa, Callum Shinkwin, Garrick Porteous
6:15 a.m. -- Prom Meesawat, Matthew Baldwin, Jack Senior
6:36 a.m. -- Tom Lehman, Joaquin Niemann, Miguel Angel Jimenez
6:47 a.m. -- Ben An, Jorge Campillo, Chris Wood
6:58 a.m. -- Joel Dahmen, Adri Arnaus, Dimitrios Papadatos
7:09 a.m. -- Stewart Cink, Rory Sabbatini, Innchoon Hwang
7:20 a.m. -- Erik Van Rooyen, Kurt Kitayama, Jake McLeod
7:31 a.m. -- Ryan Fox, Shaun Norris, Dongkyu Jang
7:42 a.m. -- Tyrrell Hatton, Keith Mitchell, Thomas Pieters
7:53 a.m. -- Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Thorbjorn Olesen
8:04 a.m. -- Brooks Koepka, Louis Oosthuizen, Shubhankar Sharma
8:15 a.m. -- Billy Horschel, Aaron Wise, Jazz Janewattananond
8:26 a.m. -- Jordan Spieth, Danny Willett, Marc Leishman
8:37 a.m. -- Cameron Smith, Adam Hadwin, David Lipsky
8:48 a.m. -- Paul Lawrie, Chez Reavie, Justin Harding
9:04 a.m. -- Takumi Kanaya (a), Tom Lewis, Brandon Stone
9:15 a.m. -- Lucas Glover, Joost Luiten, Nino Bertasio
9:26 a.m. -- Ernie Els, J.B. Holmes, Abraham Ancer
9:37 a.m. -- Brandt Snedeker, Lee Westwood, Brian Harman
9:48 a.m. -- Justin Rose, Tony Finau, Lucas Bjerregaard
9:59 a.m. -- Dustin Johnson, Jason Day, Keegan Bradley
10:10 a.m. -- Tiger Woods, Matt Wallace, Patrick Reed
10:21 a.m. -- Jon Rahm, Patrick Cantlay, Matt Kuchar
10:32 a.m. -- Kevin Streelman, Doc Redman, Robert Rock
10:43 a.m. -- Adrian Otaegui, Yuta Ikeda, Isidro Benitez
10:54 a.m. -- Patton Kizzire, Sang Hyun Park, Yuki Inamori
11:05 a.m. -- Yoshinori Fujimoto, Doyeob Mun, Andrew Wilson
11:16 a.m. -- Gunn Charoenjul, Yosuke Asaji, Ashton Turner

2019 OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP TOP-10 ODDS & NOTABLES (as of July 16th):

Rory McIlroy: 8-1
Brooks Koepka: 10-1
Dustin Johnson: 16-1
John Rahm: 16-1
Tiger Woods: 16-1
Justin Rose: 20-1
Francesco Molinari: 25-1
Xander Schauffele: 25-1
Henrik Stenson: 28-1
Tommy Fleetwood: 28-1
Justin Thomas: 30-1
Matt Kuchar: 30-1
Rickie Fowler: 30-1
Jordan Spieth: 35-1
Phil Mickelson: 100-1