Masters chances: Is Steve Stricker ready to win his first major?

This week before the Masters tees off, we'll be sizing up the green-jacket chances of many of golf's top players. We close things out with one of the most consistent golfers in the game.

Steve Stricker

Current world ranking: 8

So far this year: Sticker has only played in six tournaments this season, but he does have a three top-10 finishes, including a T4 at last week's Shell Houston Open. As usual, he's having another consistent year on tour.

Record at Augusta: In his 10 appearances at Augusta, Stricker's best finish is a T6 at the 2009 tournament. The other nine starts are a mixed bag, including five missed cuts and one top-10 finish.

Why he could win: There are certain players you know can contend at the Masters, even though their tournament resume says otherwise. Sure, Steve Stricker hasn't played that well at Augusta in the past, but he sure does have the game to contend. He's accurate off the tee, never gets too high or too low emotionally, and happens to have a fantastic short game. He has all the tools to win this week.

Why he could fall short: His usual shot is a fade, which doesn't necessarily set up well for Augusta National. Maybe that's why he's succeeded in the past playing in the U.S. Open, a tournament that usually forces you to play a fade. Plus, Stricker seems to thrive on major championship courses where you have to grind it our for 72 holes. Augusta National doesn't give you that option. Unless he goes low early, there's a good chance he could be out of the tournament picture by Sunday.

Our take: Augusta National doesn't set up for Stricker's swing, but I think his consistency over the last couple of years is hard to overlook. Expect him to be in contention on Friday but fade to a top-15 finish.

Your turn, friends. Your take on Stricker's chances at Augusta this year?

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