What a month its been in the golfing world. Not only has the most popular golfer in the world in Tiger Woods burst back onto the world stage, but he has done it right in time for the most prestigious event on the calendar, The Masters.
The 2018 Masters will get underway this Thursday night Australian time, and is set to be a cracking event with many of the top ranked golfers in the world in great form heading into the four day tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. We preview the event and give our tips for the weekend below.
All eyes will obviously be on Tiger this weekend as he attempts to win his fifth Masters tournament, which would bring him within just one of Jack Nicklaus’ record of six. The last time Tiger won the event was all the way back in 2005, when he finished a massive 8 shots ahead of his nearest opponent. On that day it was Vijay Singh, who is now 55 years old, if Tiger wants to win this time around, he’ll have to deal with a few guys who are in the prime of their careers.
One of the guys I really like this weekend is Rickie Fowler. Currently ranked No.8 in the world, Fowler has had a up and down 2018 so far. He finished off 2017 with a great win at the Hero World Challenge in December, edging out Charley Hoffman and Jordan Spieth. Since then he has played 7 tournaments, finished in the top 15 in three of them and finished under par in all but two. I think Fowler is arguably the best player in the world right now without a major, and his finishes of 11th, 5th, 22nd and 5th in the four majors last year proves he has what it takes. Is a prime contender to take the next step.
Henrik Stenson is coming into the Masters in fantastic form. Of the six tournaments he has played in 2018, he has finished in the top 10 in four and missed the cut only once. His performance in the Houston Open just a few weeks ago was outstanding and he is one of the cleaner iron strikers in the world, which is crucial at Augusta. Doesn’t have the best of records in the Masters but did round out the 2017 major year with two top 15 finishes in the Open Championship and the PGA Championship. Is a super consistent player and while I think it will be a surprise if he took it out, I love him to finish top ten.
The combination of Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy, while only winning one between them, have been the most dominant Augusta players of the past four years. Spieth took out the event in 2015 and between them they have only missed the top 10 once in the last four events, which was an 11th place finish to Spieth last year. McIlroy’s last four outings at Augusta read 8th, 4th, 10th and 7th while Spieth boasts 2nd, 1st, 2nd, 11th. High chance that both make the top ten here as they carry good form into the tournament, absolute lock that at least one does. Willing to stake my reputation on that.
As for Tiger, I think it will be extremely fun to watch him in the mix again. However, I just need to see a bit more from him before I can tip him to climb back on top of the golfing Everest again. He has a 2nd and a 5th in his last two tournaments, but the field in the Masters will be a lot deeper.
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