The Masters: Rory McIlroy, Bryson DeChambeau among Rich Beem’s picks

Who will impress in the final men’s major of the year? Rich Beem casts his eye over some of The Masters contenders and picks out five players to follow at Augusta National.

Rory McIlroy

The way he drives the golf ball, the softer conditions with all the rain make the fairways a little wider and a little more generous. That means he can go ahead and really turn it loose, although obviously there are many in the field – especially Bryson DeChambeau – who can do the same.

I think the lack of patrons and lack of media surrounding him will also help. He’s not getting hammered about winning, or not winning, and some people are not giving him a chance this week.

For me, I think this is a great opportunity for him to go out and play more freely and openly. Rory can just let it go, and play a lot more like he wants to play, rather than get a little tight and anxious as many players do at Augusta National. Looking at the conditions for this week, I think it will suit him just fine.

Bryson DeChambeau

His stats suggest he’s not a great putter at Augusta National, so this is going to be a big test for him. Having that win at the US Open will help enormously, and there’s no doubt he putted incredibly well on some very difficult greens at Winged Foot, so maybe that taught him something.

Maybe he’s realised he is comfortable on speedy greens with a lot of undulations, which is exactly what we see here. We know he’s got the power, we know he’s going to hit some ridiculous tee shots, but it’s the putting that is the biggest key for him.

You cannot win here unless you putt well, and he needs to hole a few putts early in the tournament to get the confidence he’ll need to carry for all four days.

Tiger Woods

Can experience carry him to another Masters win? Absolutely it can. He knows this golf course better than most. And, most importantly, he knows where you can miss and where you definitely need to avoid.

But, like DeChambeau, it’s mainly about his putting this week. Just lately, he’s been missing a few putts from inside six feet and that’s something we’ve not really seen before.

Phil Mickelson has said this week that you don’t need to hit it perfectly around Augusta to win, and Tiger will be very aware of that. It’s all about making the right putts at the right time, which is exactly what he did last year.

Tyrrell Hatton

He’s been playing so well and there’s every chance he’ll lead the British challenge at the Masters this week. It seems like he’s freed up his attitude this year, although he can still get a little cross with himself at times!

His ball-striking of late has been really solid, I like his attitude, and I like the fact he’s had some recent success in big events, like his win at the BMW PGA Championship last month.

He’s followed that up with some nice results here in the US, he’s in the world’s top 10, and with his confidence right now, this is the perfect opportunity for Tyrrell to contend at Augusta National.

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Jon Rahm

If you want me to predict a Masters champion, I’m having a hard time looking past Jon Rahm this week. He’s got the whole package and, like McIlroy, conditions look to be in his favour.

You need to be really creative around the greens at Augusta National, and that is something Rahm excels at. I love watching him play the game, he’s got plenty of distance and every shot he hits seems to come out of the centre of the clubface.

I like his chances a lot, and Jon is my pick to be crowned winner on Sunday.

Watch The Masters this week live on Sky Sports, with all four rounds exclusively live on Sky Sports’ Masters channel. Live coverage beings with Featured Groups from 12.30pm on Thursday.

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