A different tack on predicting the Masters winner

Graeme McDowell and his fellow Irishmen might be in luck this week with Tiger Woods' absence.

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Looking to pick a Masters winner? If you want to consider some current form, here are three methods:

WINLESS AUSSIES: Each of the last two weeks, Matt Kuchar has been in position to win, only to fall short against an unheralded Aussie who had never won – Steven Bowditch at Valero, Matt Jones at the Shell. If that trend continues, Kuchar will get into the hunt this and lose to amateur . . . drum roll please . . . Oliver Goss, the only one of six Aussies in the field who has never won on the PGA Tour. “But I’ve never played a PGA Tour event,” said Goss. Yeah, but kid, don’t spoil the thought process.

WORLD RANKING: Since No. 11 Jason Day captured the Accenture Match Play Championship, the tournament winners have been ranked 92nd (Chesson Hadley), 110th (Russell Henley), 44th (Patrick Reed), 123rd (John Senden), 94th (Matt Every), 339th (Bowditch), and 90th (Jones). Crunch the numbers and the average world ranking is 127th, so if you look to see who is closest to that rank you have two choices No. 123 Sang-Moon Bae or No. 131 Bowditch.

SANS TIGER: Another trend to continue while forming a prediction about a 2014 Masters winner is to consider those other times when Tiger Woods did not play in a major championship. Like the 2008 Open Championship and 2008 PGA Championship. They were both won by Padraig Harrington. Or the 2011 U.S. Open, where Rory McIlroy stormed to victory. Or the 2011 Open Championship, where Darren Clarke prevailed. That’s right, Irishman, each and every one. Which bodes well for McIlroy, Clarke and Graeme McDowell.

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