2013 Masters tournament

The build up to the first major tournament of the year is already well under way with the world’s best golfers already tweaking their schedules with Augusta in mind. From the 9th April through until the 12th  the 79th Masters tournament will take place at this famous Georgian course and the cream of world golf will be fighting it out for the coveted green jacket.

So the question is; just who looks ready to potentially succeed Bubba Watson as the 2015 Masters Champion?

 

bubba watson green jacket

 

Much of the focus this year has been on Rory McIlroy as the Irishman seeks to add the only major title that has eluded him thus far in his career. Many of his fans will remember his final round meltdown in 2011, when he shot an 80 to finish 15th, after he started the final round four shots clear of the field.

Last year he finished tied eighth but his form over the latter half of last season and in the early part of this promised much, however in the past few weeks at the Honda Classic and the recent WGC Cadillac Championship, McIlroy has himself been highly critical of his form.

It remains to be seen if the Irishman, who is only scheduled to play one more tournament before Augusta, will add another to that schedule to sharpen his game up.

You can’t rule McIlroy out however as he has a knack of being able to produce his best form at the key times and you know his main aim this year will have been these four upcoming days in April.

 

Rory PGA Claret Jug

 

 

One player you can likely rule out of the equation is Tiger Woods. Still stymied by injury problems, Woods has been out of action for several weeks now after suffering dismal form on return from a back injury and then seemingly tweaking that injury again.

The American legend is reported to be focused on getting back onto the fairways ready for Augusta, but given his form prior to the event and a lack of golf, compounded by Augusta’s legendary difficulty, Woods looks a massive outside bet at this point and some way off being a genuine contender.

Three players have very consistent Masters records over the past five years or so and none moreso than two-time winner Bubba Watson. The American finished third in the WGC Cadillac recently and he’ll be delighted with his form heading into Augusta where he will aim to become one of the very few golfers to successfully defend a title.

 

Two other consistent Masters performers are Lee Westwood and Adam Scott. Scott is in the best form of the pair at the moment, but Westwood won earlier in the season too and the Englishman does always seem to be around the top 10 at Augusta. While Scott is aiming for his second victory, and looks a very good bet, Westwood may be a decent outside option given his consistency.

 

That’s not to say that other players don’t stand a good chance. After his victory at the WGC Cadillac, Dustin Johnson will be full of confidence after his self-imposed six month exile from the game was placed firmly at the back of his mind with that stunning victory. Johnson, like Watson, has prodigious length from the tee and he certainly has the game to win at Augusta.

 

Dustin Johnson Driver

 

Other players inside the World’s top ten are also starting to show their form, Henrik Stenson finished tied fourth at the WGC Cadillac and he looks a good bet to end his major championship drought this season.

Other Europeans who will be looking to perform well include Ryder Cup stars Jamie Donaldson, Martin Kaymer, Ian Poulter and Victor Dubuisson. Justin Rose has never really performed to his best at Augusta and hasn’t really shown his best form there over the years, but if he can play like he did when he won the US Open a couple of years ago, he could be a real contender.

 

Finally, you can’t rule out several American players. Young guns Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler have both shown they can contend at Augusta in the past and of course, Phil Mickelson if he finds his ‘A’ game, will always have a great chance.

Picking a winner even from Augusta’s smaller-than-normal field is always a tricky test, but it would be a real surprise if the winner came from a golfer I haven’t mentioned. The action starts on the 8th April with the Par 3 challenge, before the actual Masters starts on the 9th.

 

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