The year’s first golfing major begins today at Augusta National Golf Course.
After all of the early season jostling for position, the best players from all around the world role into Georgia hoping to come away on Sunday night with the covered green jacket.
This year’s Masters is shaping up to be one of the most anticipated battles Augusta has ever seen, with the new world number one Tiger Woods back in red-hot form and the growing British challenge from Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose and Lee Westwood who are all hoping to end the 17-year wait for a British winner at Augusta, since Sir Nick Faldo in 1996.
A player who is tipped to go very close again this year is American Matt Kuchar. After such a positive showing last year, finishing tied for third; much is expected of Kuchar to win his first major in similar fashion to last year’s winner Bubba Watson.
Being straight off the tee around Augusta is imperative, so if Kuchar can keep his driving in order, he surely has a great chance of being the man to wear the green jacket on Sunday evening.
With regards to a European challenge, the best hope could lie once again with Rory McIlory. The Northern Irishman looks like he might have found his form at the right time, with a second place finish at last week’s Texas Open behind Martin Laird.
We all remember the unbelievable first three rounds he produced back in 2011, but the infamous final round collapse cost him what would have been his first major title. It looks like it could be a straight shoot-out between McIlory and Woods come Sunday afternoon, but can McIlory hold his nerve?
A player who most likely won’t trouble the leaderboards this week is China’s Tianlang Guan. But at just fourteen years old, he becomes the youngest ever player to grace Augusta’s famous grounds.
After winning the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championships, he has defiantly earned the right to be at Augusta; with Rory McIlory even saying that Guan could play at the Masters for the next sixty years. Truly unbelievable.
Certainly a name to look out during this week’s action.