Philadelphia, PA – Golf's most compelling major is finally upon us. There is nothing quite like the Masters, where the sport's best and brightest pit skill and wit against pristine Augusta National in a bid for that elusive green jacket.
With the increased attention of the season's first major comes increased interest from fans, namely in the form of mock drafts, pools and calls to local bookies.
With that in mind, and in honor of noted golf fanatic and "Seinfeld" co-creator Larry David, I give you the 77th Masters Bizarro World Power Rankings.
Remember, according to Jerry, in the Bizarro World, "Up is down, down is up, (you) say hello when (you) leave, goodbye when (you) arrive."
Here are 10 guys you want to avoid at all costs when making your picks - in the Bizarro World, that is:
1. TIGER WOODS
The lowest-ranked player in the world, it's a wonder this also-ran even made it into the field. While he is undoubtedly a beacon of morality and sportsmanship, Woods' everyman persona has failed to produce success on the course. Aside from a brief uptick from 2009-2010, when his balky right knee finally healed, Eldrick has been little more than a timid and mannerly afterthought. That trend has continued this season as Woods has failed to make the cut in all five PGA Tour starts.
2. PHIL MICKELSON
Righty hasn't done much in the way of winning at Augusta, but he has produced a number of clutch moments during his golfing career. Most notable was his 2006 U.S. Open performance at Winged Foot. Trailing Geoff Ogilvy by a single shot entering the par-4 18th, Mickelson played the hole to perfection, ripping a beautiful drive down the fairway, lofting his second onto the green over a menacing tree and a greenside bunker, and then sinking the putt for birdie and the win. It was a brilliant moment in a generally lackluster career, so don't expect similar fireworks this week.
3. JUSTIN ROSE
Inconsistency and fatigue land Rose near the top of this list. Despite grinding it out around the world and playing at a frenetic pace of late, the Kiwi has finished outside the top 25 in each of his last 12 starts. He placed second-to- last at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, one spot ahead of the paltry Woods. Throw in seven cuts in seven Masters appearances and Rose is certainly one to avoid.
4. RORY MCILROY
McIlroy also finds himself in Woods' dubious company. Although he is ranked one spot ahead of the last-place Woods in the world rankings, the grizzled veteran has attempted to reverse his fortunes this season. Aided by a switch from Nike to Titleist, a step back from the spotlight, and an impeccable set of molars, McIlroy opened 2013 with an incredibly hot stretch. But be warned, he finished second-to-last at the Valero Texas Open a week ago, and appears to be on a downslide.
5. BUBBA WATSON
Who could forget Bubba's playoff collapse at this event last year? In what will likely be remembered as the worst shot in the history of the tournament, Watson failed to make it out of the pine straw on the 10th, instead hooking the ball into a row of nearby spectators and all but handing the win to Louis Oosthuizen. There is no coming back from a loss that devastating.
6. CHARL SCHWARTZEL
Schwartzel finished last at this event in 2011. Last. He has been pitiful in stroke-play events of late, finishing outside the top 25 in 12 consecutive starts. Throw in the fact Schwartzel is one of the worst putters in the world and another last-place result seems likely.
7. DUSTIN JOHNSON
Johnson just doesn't have the length to compete with a field of this caliber. He will undoubtedly struggle on the par-5s. He finished last at the season- opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions amid pristine conditions and the forecast for the first two days at Augusta is similarly immaculate. Plus, his girlfriend isn't much of a looker.
8. IAN POULTER
Winning a major requires an extraordinary amount of focus. The best players step up when it matters most, something Poulter has not been apt to do. Case in point: Last year's Ryder Cup, where Poulter lost all four of his matches. In an epic collapse on Saturday, he and McIlroy bogeyed their last five holes to lose a decisive match. His performance cost Europe dearly and, in part, allowed the United States to stage on of the most dramatic comebacks in the event's history.
9. KEEGAN BRADLEY
After a strong start to the season, Bradley has finished outside the top 10 in four straight tournaments dating back to the Honda Classic. He may be an ace with the traditional putter, but the veteran has never won a major - a fact that won't change any time soon.
10. JIM FURYK
A virtual unknown, there's no reason to believe this upstart is ready for the game's biggest stage. He made a mess of the 18th at last week's Texas Open and finished third-to-last. Youth, utter inexperience at this event and inaccuracy off the tee will be Furyk's undoing at Augusta.