If Majors were decided on sentiment then Lee Westwood is likely to be wearing the Green Jacket at Augusta on Sunday.
The man from Worksop, a Ryder Cup hero for Europe on so many occasions, will be a fitting Masters champion for some north-east professionals after suffering decades of near misses.
Kemnay pro Simon Hansen said: “I’m going with my heart and picking Lee Westwood.
“He has been playing some great, consistent golf over the last couple of months and his previous record at The Masters is really good (six top-10 finishes and umpteen top-30s).
“Lee deserves a Major and has a really good chance this week.”
Peterculter’s Gary Lister has avoided giving Westwood his full backing in the hope he comes good.
Gary said: “For someone who has backed Lee Westwood all his days – thankfully each-way – I’m going to give him a chance this week as I’m generally a jinx.
“Lee is in the form of his life and I’d dearly like to see him get the monkey off his back on Sunday.
“But I’ll give him a chance and plump for another Englishman, Tommy Fleetwood, who looks a good bet at the odds of 50-1.
“Louis Oosthuizen might be good each-way value too at 66-1.”
Deeside head pro Ross McConnachie said: “I’d go for Bernhard Langer, because he has about as much chance as anyone else I have picked to win in the past!
“Seriously, though, my money will be on Jon Rahm.
“The Spaniard has a great record round Augusta and looks more comfortable with his new equipment.
“It’s his time to become a Major champion.”
Portlethen’s David Pocock agrees.
“Jon Rahm showed some excellent form at the WGC Matchplay a couple of weeks ago and I have a feeling he will win a Major soon,” said David.
“Why not this week?”
Aboyne director of golf Mike Kinloch believes Dustin Johnson can follow up his win just before Christmas.
Mike said: “With this year’s Masters taking place less than five months after the 2020 tournament, I’m backing Dustin to repeat his success.
“In the top 10 on tour for driving distance, DJ has worked hard on his distance control and wedge game to become the best player in the world.
“With an emphatic win and good memories of his last appearance at Augusta, he will be the man to beat.
“For an outside bet, I’m hoping Scotland’s Bob MacIntyre can put on a good show on his Masters debut.
“After a few good weeks in America, I have high hopes for a top-20 finish.”
Murcar Links head pro Gary Forbes tipped Johnson to win back in December, but has switched his allegiance this time around.
“It will all come down putting this week,” said Gary.
“That being the case, I feel Xander Schauffele is ready to make his Major breakthrough.”
Could Justin Thomas be the one to watch?
Craibstone’s Lee Vannet believes Justin Thomas is the man to follow at The Masters this week.
“Justin has improved his position over the last five years with a best finish of fourth last year.” said Lee, who thinks Thomas has moved past cloud of controversy which descended on him earlier this year.
Thomas came under fire for using a homophobic slur after missing a putt at the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii in January and then lost his grandfather a few weeks later.
Lee said: “He has shown his class and nerve by bouncing back with a great win at the Players Championship beating Lee Westwood by a shot.
“The tee shots which Justin hit at the 16th and 18th holes at Sawgrass – slinging draws – will suit a number of right to left doglegs at Augusta perfectly.
“Lee Westwood and Paul Casey perform well at Augusta. They are in their 40s, but are again proving they can still compete with the best.
“Both can finish in the top 10.”
Lee’s brother Dean, the Banchory director of golf operations, believes a young gun from Down Under can cause a surprise.
Dean said: “Trying to pick a winner from such a talented field is nearly impossible. But, as an under-the-radar pick, I’ll go for young Aussie Cameron Smith.
“He finished in the top five at Augusta last year and has been close in the other Majors.”