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Who will triumph at the US Masters?

Hands up if you think Tiger Woods will win the 2014 US Masters.

Come now, seriously, put your hands down. It's not going to happen.

Firstly, because he's probably not going to be fit enough to play to start with. Once again Tiger's ailing body is taking strain. This time it's his back that is hampering his game and if good common sense prevails, the world number one golfer will be watching the year's first golf major from his TV room couch and his biggest challenge will be opening up his bottle of grape Gatorade... or more likely getting girlfriend Lyndsay Vonn to do it for him!

The other reason he won't win (if he had played) is that either Adam Scott, Matt Kuchar, Dustin Johnson, Charl Schwartzel or Ernie Els will in fact be trying on the famed green jacket at around 7pm local time on the fourth day of the Masters.

Yes, you heard me right… I just picked Ernie Els to win the 2014 US Masters. True, his current form is not red hot, but in his day Ernie has shown he can be unbeatable and will happily thump any golfer out there into the turf. Remember, he's played in 19 Masters events so he has the experience to stare down the Augusta layout like an old Western gunslinger. He's had two runners-up finishes and six top tens at this event… and he badly wants this Major. It's almost like an itch that needs lots of calamine lotion.

Schwartzel's game is looking good and in fact he is probably South Africa's best bet to go for a fitting for his second green jacket. Add to this that he has genuinely grown into one of the best players in the world and he will be a popular choice anyway. What I'm not enjoying when I watch him play recently is that he doesn't always seem to be having fun and gets very angry with himself when he makes mistakes.

I like the two Americans in Kuchar and Johnson based on their strong long games mixed in with a relaxed, patient approach. In my view they should overpower the par 5s with their length and brute strength, and taming the par 5s is the key to winning at Augusta - the end!

My other pick of Scott will probably also raise a few eyebrows (or hoots of laughter depending who you are). He is the defending champion after all and in the 80-year history of this prestigious event, there have only been three men who have won back-to-back Masters titles - Jack Nicklaus in 1965 and 1966, Nick Faldo in 1989 and 1990, and Tiger Woods in 2001 and 2002. And yet here I am suggesting Scott will join that very illustrious group of players by becoming the fourth back-to-back winner.

This is the same Scott who spluttered up a six shot lead at the 2012 British Open and allowed my dark horse mentioned above, Ernie Els, to claim his second claret jug. Scott bounced straight back though and promptly won the 2013 US Masters and showed he was no serial choker. This past weekend he spluttered again… he lead by three shots at the flagship Arnold Palmer Invitational and then shot a 4 over par 76 to allow an emotional Matt Every to win by one shot. He was disappointed but I'd call that good preparation for the Masters for Scott - beware the Aussie, especially straight after a loss.

But hold on, I can hear you say. Where's Rory McIlroy, last year's wunderkind Henrik Stenson, Sergio Garcia or any other of the top European players in my picks for the green jacket? That's a fair question so let's look at the European track record at Augusta.

The last time we saw a European winner was Jose Maria Olazabal in 1999 (15 years ago!), and I don't believe we'll see any change to that trend. This course has even been kinder to South Africans (as the country to have won the most Masters titles after the US) than to any of the European nations, and 2014 will be no different.

There are still two more PGA events (the Valero Texas Open and the Shell Houston Open) to be held as players fine-tune their games ahead of Augusta's first tee offs on 10 April, and lots can and will happen in these two weeks. The final field for the Masters will soon be finalised and golf's first Major will set about creating history all over again.

And whether you agree with my picks or not, the one thing we can all probably agree on is that none of us will miss a single shot… fore!

Jeremy Harris is EWN Sport's golf expert. Follow him on Twitter.

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