Romine: 24 (mostly) bold predictions for the 88th Masters

Romine: 24 (mostly) bold predictions for the 88th Masters
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AUGUSTA, Ga. – The 88th Masters Tournament is less than 24 hours from getting started.

And there is no shortage of storylines from Jon Rahm’s green-jacket defense, Scottie Scheffler’s dominance (and baby watch), Tiger Woods’ return and Rory McIlroy’s continued search for the career Grand Slam.

But before the first tee ball is struck, let’s have a little fun with 24 (mostly) bold predictions for the 2024 Masters:

1. If the weather forecast stays true, it’s unlikely the first round will finish by Thursday evening, meaning that Ludvig Åberg, a rookie and in the second-to-last group off, grabs at least a share of the first-round lead on Friday morning.

2. Åberg contends early and records a top-12 showing to clinch his ticket back next year, but no first-timer ultimately finishes in the top 10.

3. The par-5 second, 10 yards longer this year, plays as the toughest par-5 after being the easiest hole a year ago.

4. Jon Rahm doesn’t defend, but he still is low LIV player.

5. Tiger Woods, going for a record 24th straight cut at the Masters, doesn’t break out of his tie with Fred Couples and Gary Player.

6. In fact, all three players in Woods’ grouping – Jason Day and Max Homa being the others – miss the cut.

7. The tournament winner will lead the field in greens hit; 11 of the past 12 champions were top 7 in that category, and gusty conditions early will put a premium on well-struck shots.

8. No amateurs make the cut for the third time in the past four years.

9. Bryson DeChambeau records his best Masters finish since his T-21 as an amateur.

10. Someone cards a double-digit score on a hole during the week.

11. Of the top 10 players in the Official World Golf Ranking, just three notch top-10s.

12. Fred Ridley hinted that the course could play over 8,000 yards for one round this week, but that doesn’t happen.

13. Despite 45 mph wind gusts on Thursday, no trees fall.

14. The Par 3 Contest curse isn’t broken (sorry, Rickie).

15. Corey Conners isn’t just low Canadian, he posts his fourth Masters top-10 in five years.

16. Phil Mickelson says something that goes viral, but he doesn’t come close to the T-2 he turned in last year.

17. Justin Thomas, even without Bones, surprises and nearly top-10s.

18. Jordan Spieth has a round in which he makes just 4 pars.

19. Rory McIlroy isn’t low GB&I player, but rather Shane Lowry is.

20. Hideki Matsuyama cards the lowest round of the week, a 65.

21. No more than 12 players will be under par after 36 holes thanks to the high winds forecasted for Thursday and early Friday.

22. The winning score will be in the single digits for the first time since 2017, when Sergio Garcia won at 9 under.

23. Speaking of 2017, that was the last time there was a playoff … until this Sunday, as Scottie Scheffler, who does not have to withdraw because of the baby, and Xander Schauffele go to extra holes.

24. And the green jacket goes to, for the second time, Scheffler. OK, not so bold after all.

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