Power off the tee, precision iron play, a demon short-game, dead-eyed putting, cool course management and the most cold-hearted will to win in history — he ticks nearly every box. The question marks remain over the inconsistencies with his driver — accuracy is a problem and that will cost anyone at a major championship. There is also the timing — is a win here too much, too soon?
And has his nerve held up through all the years of pain? At he is on the limit of being worth a risk. But those who backed Woods around his comeback last December — at around — could be enjoying a very happy Masters Sunday indeed. The other main question mark around Woods is the sheer number of serious competitors he will have for the green jacket. Almost every big name in the game is in seriously good form or has history at Augusta that makes them true contenders.
He has had putter troubles and no wins this year but played brilliantly at Houston last week and is peaking at exactly the right time. He is rightly the favourite. Jordan Spieth, at the head of the betting, will have the patrons on his side at Augusta National. The Northern Irishman sits just behind Spieth in the betting. Plagued by inconsistency, still bearing scars from his final-round meltdown and weighed down with the knowledge that a win will secure him the career Grand Slam, McIlroy is, however, made for Augusta and almost unstoppable in top form.
His recent win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational justifies his top billing. But that win came on the back of a red-hot putter. Was it just a one-off? These two are battling it out for the world No 1 spot, held by the former, who looked unbeatable last year before falling down some stairs and putting himself out of the tournament.
Weaknesses are hard to find in both. Has three wins in the last six months and has Augusta figured out. The Englishman lost in a play-off last year, finished second in and has led the Masters after the first, second and third rounds. His tee-to-green accuracy is the most important facet for any Masters winner. Phil the Thrill has one more green jacket than Bubba, and five majors in total. Slipped off the radar amid personal troubles but was world No 1 a little over a year ago, has major pedigree and loves Augusta.
Even the second tier of stars have a huge number of possible champions, such is the strength in depth this year. Included among this list is the defending champion, who represents outstanding value. No-one has won the Masters back-to-back since Woods in and the Spaniard has been kept busy with his marriage and new baby.
But amid all that he has two wins in the last six months and a string of strong PGA Tour performances. The shackles are off at Augusta and there is no-one better from tee to green. Sergio Garcia claimed the green jacket last year - could he be slipping it on again this Sunday? Won recently in Florida holding off Woods and has finished in his last three Augusta starts. Big hitter, super consistent and very little to dislike. Similar Augusta form to Casey - here in recent years - and is capable of obliterating a field as he did at Firestone last year.
His high price is explained by a recent wrist injury that has kept him out of action and seen him struggle for form. Another winner this year and the next big thing in golf — but his fiery temperament has let him down in majors so far. The best player yet to win a major, although his recent form has been inconsistent. Rickie Fowler knows his way round Augusta national but he is still without a major victory.
The same used to be said for the Swede as it is now for Fowler. His form is also erratic, but the Open champion is capable of anything, even at the Masters where he has strangely struggled.
The coming man in European golf, and so close to a big win in America this year on several occasions. His main rival for that status is…. Last man into the field could use the momentum from his win in Houston to push for a place finish at a venue he has enjoyed in the past. Ian Poulter was the last man in after winning in Houston - could he be the last man standing? Finished in a tie for fourth on debut 12 months ago but is feast or famine.
That is also the case for…. The Open winner and Masters runner-up now has second-place finishes in all four of the majors. Does little in regular tournaments but comes alive in the big four. Another perennial bridesmaid, the Open runner-up has four tops in the last six Masters. In the sort of form that suggests he could finally replicate his Ryder Cup form in a major.
One of the best ball-strikers in Europe, learning how to win and wowed America at the Ryder Cup. The biggest hitter of them all on the PGA Tour and a potential superstar if he can sort his putting. Won the prestigious Tour Championship after breaking through last year, and is another big hitter worth a look.
Big-hitting Thai with an even bigger waistline. Still, Kiradech is no joke. He has two wins in his last six starts and has top-5s in the recent two WGC events. This truly could be a Masters for the ages. This year both Sky Bet and Coral are paying up to 10 places at the Masters.
The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline. My anger at snub that set me up for THAT goal: Hamilton cautious despite extending F1 championship lead in Singapore 'He is the Messi of goalkeeping': Foster, Ferdinand and Smalling wax lyrical on De Gea after his match-winning save Bailly 'could leave Manchester United in January with Arsenal and Tottenham leading the chase' 'I want to know who is on the panel because they want to be sacked': They have grown in stature, they look different I'm going to sleep now and hope I never wake up': Only 15 newbies are in the field and the returnees feature a lot of past champions.
There could be a ton of fireworks on Sunday if we get the right final pairings and the right names on the leaderboard. No matter what, this is the cornerstone event for golf in the US, but this thing has potential that is off the charts.
Augusta National is a fairly forgiving course off of the tee, but approach shots and putts win this tournament. There are a lot of challenging lies on approach shots and pin placement will matter a lot for the players. Greenside hazards can make it very difficult to spin the ball to get the desired effect on the green. There are a lot of two and three-tiered greens at Augusta, so location means everything on the putting surface.
Odds for the Masters have been up for a very long time across the market. Spieth has been terrific at the Masters. He has a win and two runner-up finishes over the last four years at Augusta. As discussed on our special edition Masters Podcast on BangTheBook Radio, Brian Blessing pointed out how this is the only major played at the same course year in and year out and horse for course plays work well at this event.
Rory has never won the Masters, but he won the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill and was second and third on the European Tour in two events before coming stateside full-time for this season. Rory needs this one for the career grand slam.
Many are looking at Justin Rose in the same way. Rose does not have a win at the Masters, but he was the runner-up in both and He lost last year in a playoff to Sergio Garcia at the Masters.
Augusta National is tailored really well to left-handed players. Bubba Watson has two wins. Phil Mickelson has three wins. Mike Weir won in Playing familiar names is a good angle at the Masters. Most of the same guys wind up on the board. Angel Cabrera had six top finishes at Augusta, including his win and his runner-up. He had four other tops in the other majors from through Guys that have had success generally continue to, so look for those guys on the board.
Masters coverage will be on ESPN throughout the tournament and hopefully we get something really special on Sunday. The field for the Masters is the smallest of the four major championships. The criteria to get in are pretty strict. Only the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking as of the end of or March can get in, unless they fulfill one of the other requirements, like being a past Masters champion or a recent major champion.
In other words, this is a very select field filled with the best of the best that golf has to offer. Jack Nicklaus holds the all-time record with six Masters victories.
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