Masters 2012: Power Ranking Tiger Woods and Top Favorites at Augusta

Eric BowmanFeatured ColumnistApril 4, 2012

AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 03:  Tiger Woods speaks to the media during a practice round prior to the start of the 2012 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 3, 2012 in Augusta, Georgia.  (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
David Cannon/Getty Images

Everyone has their own opinion on who will win the 2012 Masters, but it's fairly easy to see who the top contenders are at Augusta National this weekend. 

This is the biggest golf event of the year, so the pressure is going to be immense. 

The best of the best can overcome it, but it's certainly no easy task. With that said, here are my three favorites for the 2012 Masters. 


No. 3: Rory McIlroy 

Even though he had the collapse a year ago, McIlroy is still a phenomenal golfer. Evidence that he's moved on and couldn't care less about what happened last year is a quote that Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal Constitution tweeted out.

Rory McIlroy's on last year's #Masters collapse: "It wasn't the end of the world. It's only golf. It's not like anybody died out there."

— Jeff Schultz (@JeffSchultzAJC) April 3, 2012

It's great that he acknowledged golf is just a game, but it sure wouldn't be a surprise if somewhere deep down or in the back of his mind, McIlroy is haunted by his epic choke at the 2011 Masters. 

Everybody knows McIlroy is a true competitor, and he'll be just fine at Augusta this year. If he gets a commanding lead again, though, the psychological aspect of the game could take over and ruin him. 

Either that, or McIlroy pushes through it to win, showing the world how clutch he has become. That would certainly be a fantastic story. 


No. 2: Phil Mickelson 

HUMBLE, TX - MARCH 31:  Phil Mickelson reacts to his tee shot on the 17th hole during the third round of the Shell Houston Open at Redstone Golf Club on March 31, 2012 in Humble, Texas.  (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

Having won the Masters three times since 2004, Mickelson knows he is fully capable of dominating and winning once again at Augusta. 

He desperately wants another jacket, so he'll be ready to play this coming weekend. 

The lefty has been doing OK this season, but his past success at Augusta will help him thrive this year. 

With his big wins in recent years, Mickelson isn't afraid of anyone, and that makes him very dangerous. 


No. 1: Tiger Woods 

Had Tiger not won at Bay Hill recently, he wouldn't be my top favorite at Augusta this weekend.

It's an extremely difficult place to play, but know that if Tiger has his mojo, swagger, confidence or whatever you want to call it, he's going to be just fine with handling the pressure. 

Tiger did a great job at the Masters last year, but his putter let him down. He was still in a mega slump then, but now that that's toast, Tiger can easily get back to the top. 

Know that he's back to a winning mindset, the rest of the field needs to fear Tiger. He knows how to manhandle Augusta, and should he find himself in the lead entering Sunday, there is no way he chokes, especially now that his awful slump is well behind him. 


Other favorites of mine for the 2012 Masters include Lee Westwood, Luke Donald, Jason Day and Steve Stricker. Watch out for these guys in the early round, because if they build a big lead, it will be very hard to catch any one of them. 


Follow E_ROCK12 on Twitter