How to Pick a Masters Winner
By Merf under The Masters

ESPN.com’s research staff spit out Nick Watney as its winner based on recent results at the Masters. (And world No. 1 Martin Kaymer picked Luke Donald, for what it’s worth.) Here’s how ESPN came up with Watney, through eight elimination stages. Phil Mickelson was knocked out because no player has won the Masters over the age of 40 since Mark O’Meara in 1998. Feel free to argue the validity of the following categories:

Masters Eliminator: Step-by-Step:
1. No amateur has ever won the Masters.
(6 eliminated, 93 remaining)

2. Masters rookies won the first two Masters in 1934 and 1935, but only once since (Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979).
(15 eliminated, 78 remaining)

3. The past 11 Masters winners were all under 40; the last 40-plus winner was 41-year-old Mark O’Meara in 1998.
(25 eliminated, 53 remaining) Bye-bye Mickelson, Ernie Els, Steve Stricker

4. There’s been only one first-time PGA Tour winner at the Masters since 1948: Bernhard Langer in 1985.
(9 eliminated, 44 remaining) Bye-bye Edoardo Molinari, Alvaro Quiros

5. The past 12 Masters winners all made the cut at the previous year’s Masters.
(21 eliminated, 23 remaining) Bye-bye Aaron Baddeley, Paul Casey, Luke Donald, Martin Kaymer, Bubba Watson, Justin Rose, Padriag Harrington

6. Nine of the past 11 Masters winners had a top-50 finish at the last year’s PGA Championship.
(11 eliminated, 12 remaining) Bye-bye Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood

7. Six of the past seven and 15 of the past 19 Masters winners had a previous Masters top-10 finish.
(6 eliminated, 6 remaining) Bye-bye Dustin Johnson, Matt Kuchar, Francesco Molinari

8. Six of the past 10 Masters winners had a PGA Tour victory earlier that season.
(5 eliminated, 1 remaining) Bye-bye Zach Johnson, Anthony Kim, Hunter Mahan, Adam Scott, Tiger Woods

Your winner: Nick Watney, who will try to learn from last year’s final-round 81 at the PGA Championship.


(AP Photo/Dave Martin)