This week the 2016 fantasy golf season heads down Magnolia Lane, as 89 players tee it up at the Masters. Each week, a panel of experts will offer up their picks from four groups of players, based on Golf Channel's fantasy game, Fantasy Challenge. We will also keep track of their scores and standings. The panel includes: senior writers Rex Hoggard and Randall Mell; editorial director Jay Coffin; associate editor Will Gray; 'Morning Drive' host Gary Williams; host Charlie Rymer and defending fantasy champion Ryan Lavner.
Group 1: Jordan Spieth: We have waffled on this one for days. Originally Bubba Watson seemed like the obvious pick, but the combination of cold temperatures and wind have made the defending champion a more attractive option.
Group 2: Louis Oosthuizen: The runner-up in 2012 at Augusta National has a victory this year (Perth International) and finished second to Jason Day at the WGC-Dell Match Play. He also has the temperament to deal with this week’s conditions.
Group 3: Paul Casey: The Englishman has the perfect game for Augusta National – high ball flight, solid iron player and he putts better as the greens get harder and faster.
Group 4: Graeme McDowell: Although the Northern Irishman has never played particularly well at the Masters, if the forecast holds he becomes a much more legitimate option.3
Group 1: Rickie Fowler: This could be his week. Fowler has been playing lights-out all year and sits second on Tour this season in GIR percentage. He's used to playing when the wind blows, too.
Group 2: Phil Mickelson: I'm just not willing to bet against Lefty at Augusta National, especially when he's playing well. A fourth green jacket would be somewhat of a surprise, but it would hardly be a shock to see him contend.
Group 3: Matt Kuchar: Hasn't done much in recent months, but he's starting to show signs of a turnaround and finished T-8 or better three straight years from 2012-14. Another player whose ball flight should work well in the breeze.
Group 4: Chris Kirk: The Georgia boy is starting to get going and made it out of his group two weeks ago in Austin. When he's on, he's one of the more solid ball-strikers around.