The U S Masters is arguably the most famous golfing event on the Tour Schedule, with the Augusta National Golf Club its home, as it has been since 1934, and is the only one of the four golfing Major tournaments to be played at the same venue every year.
The course at Augusta (Par 3 12th hole above) rewards accuracy over power, giving added importance to the GIR stat (Greens in Regulation) over driving distance. Many players ‘lay up’ on several holes rather than trying to bludgeon their way to the greens and take their chances to make birdie with testing putts, rather than risking a card ruining score with water coming into play on many holes, as well as deep bunkers and thick woodland.
Many of golfings finest have won the US Masters, with the winning score averaging around the -10 mark. Jordan Speith (2015) and Tiger Woods (1997) hold the record for the low score over 72 holes, being -18. Jack Nicklaus has won the event most times (6), with Woods just one victory behind him on 5. But the names of past champions reads like a ‘Who’s Who’ of golf…with Arnold Palmer, Seve Ballesteros, Gary Player and Phil Mickleson also listed in the multiple winners list.
American Patrick Reed (above) won the 2018 renewal, and the infamous Green Jacket – below are a couple of golfers to watch who may just be accepting the Jacket from Reed this time around :
JUSTIN ROSE (ENGLAND)
For Rose its been a case of close, but no cigar, on a few occasions at Augusta….runner up twice and in the top 10 on three other occasions. But he goes into this years tournament in good form, having won in America only a few weeks ago, and is the current world number 1. He is also number 1 with the putter on the season to date and #3 on birdie averages. If Rose can keep focus and keep his game together, this could be the year he finally breaks his Masters hoodoo.
TIGER WOODS (USA)
Selecting Tiger Woods as ‘one to watch’ has, in the past, been much like asking to pick a day of the week that ends with ‘Y’. But this is the Tiger of now, not then – the one still trying to rediscover his form that took him to 14 major titles – but the last one coming a decade ago. Still, there is no doubt that Tiger IS on the way back…he finished second in the 2018 USPGA to Brooks Koepka and won the Tour Championship event last September, his first victory since 2013. He may now be 43 years old, but there is no better sight than Tiger prowling the famous Augusta holes…and if he is in with a chance on Sunday…look out.
BEST OF THE REST…..
We have liked Jon Rahm (Spain) for a while now and feel like it wont be long before he breaks his major duck. Finishing fourth last year, he has the power and tenacity to master Augusta…if he can hold his famous temper together. As always, there will be a ruck of American golfers in the mix and having the potential to claim the Green Jacket…Dustin Johnson, Jordan Speith, Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka, Rickie Fowler just a few of the names that you will no doubt see on the Leaderboard as the tournament progresses. England’s Tommy Fleetwood looks another name to make his mark in America, whilst Australians Jason Day and Marc Leishman can fly the flag for those down under.
But for us, we will stick with the English Rose to claim glory at Augusta.