In little over twelve hours time the 2015 Masters Tournament will be underway, and it begs the question as to who will be pulling on the green jacket on Sunday evening.
Rory McIlroy is the favourite this week. After winning the Open Championship last July the world number one is just one Masters victory away from a career Grand Slam and would become only the 6th golfer to ever do so. Augusta National has not been a happy hunting ground for McIlroy over the years though. A back-nine meltdown in 2011 stopped him from winning his first Major Championship of his career and McIlroy has not finished higher than 8th in his six appearances since 2009.
The limelight has been taken away from McIlroy though over the past week, since Tiger Woods announced he would be competing for the first time since his withdrawal from the Farmers Insurance Open in February. Woods has only played 47 holes this season and his game has been questioned a lot since his return from injury. His short game troubles came down to ‘different release patterns’ but Woods told the worldwide media yesterday at his press conference that he has worked from sun up to sun down to get his game to a level where he can win golf tournaments again. The world number 111 has won the green jacket four times and can anyone really have the audacity to say he cannot win for a fifth time? If Woods wins this week it surely has to go down as one of his best ever Major Championship triumphs.
There are a number of players coming into this week with a chance to win. Jordan Spieth, Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Jimmy Walker to name a select few. But it will come down to who can hold their nerve in and around the greens. Augusta National is regarded as a second-shot course which is why it is essential that your iron play is tuned to perfection by the time to reach the 1st tee on Thursday.
From a personal perspective I think that there is about fourty players who come into this week with the game to win, it really is that open. I think after his performance last year, and his early form this season, Jordan Spieth is in with a great chance to win his first Major Championship. Here are a few select tee-times for tomorrows opening round:
Group 8, 9:02 am (14:02 GMT)
Reed, Bradley, Poulter
Group 10, 9:24 am (14:24 GMT)
B. Watson, Rose, Yang
Group 16, 10:41 am (15:41 GMT)
Mickelson, McIlroy, Moore
Group 29, 1:15 pm (18:15 GMT)
Spieth, Horschel, Stenson
Group 32, 1:48 pm (18:48 GMT)
Woods, Donaldson, Walker