Your guide to the biggest talking points ahead of this week’s US Masters.
It’s Masters week and we’re excited.
On Thursday morning (late Thursday evening in Australia) the excitement will culminate with the first tee shot of the 2015 Masters. Rory McIlroy is playing, Tiger Woods is playing and six Australians are also in the field looking to get their hands on the green jacket.
There is no such thing as too much golf but you will see an insane amount of golf talk covering everything Masters from the price of the pimento cheese sandwiches at Augusta National to the state of Tiger’s chipping.
Read them all, lap it up but if you just want to know the key talking points going into this week’s Masters then you’ve come to the right place.
Can Rory his first Masters and complete a career grand slam?
It’s somewhat surprising to think that The Masters is the only major that McIlroy hasn’t won. With four major championships to his name, Rory McIlroy has finished no better than eighth in his six attempts at The Masters with 2011 being his most memorable tournament.
Leading the field by four shots going into the final day, the Northern Irishman went and shot the worst final round for a third round leader in tournament history and plummeted into a tie for 15th place. Since that fateful day McIlroy has won four of the next 15 majors and a win at Augusta on Sunday would not only earn himself three consecutive majors, but a career grand slam – something only five other golfers have ever done in the Masters era.
Will Tiger Woods regret coming back to play?
Tiger Woods now has a history of returning to tournament golf after substantial lay-offs but the only occasion he played well in his first event back was at the Masters in 2010 – after those now infamous off-course indiscretions.
Back injuries have plagued his last few years on the golf course and his form early this year was littered with signs of what some people are referring to as the chipping yips. It wasn’t pretty and it was enough for Woods to take time out to get the back and his game sorted.
It’s hard to know what to expect from the four-time Masters champion in what will be his first Masters since 2013. But for the first time in a long time, Woods isn’t expected to contend at the Masters with some predicting he won’t even make the cut. Whatever happens, it’ll be an intriguing week with Woods back on the golf course.
Can Jason Day win the green jacket?
Six Australians will be in the field this week but it’s Day and Scott who are considered our best chances to don the green jacket. But the most interesting point is that many golf experts consider Jason Day to have a better shot at winning that Adam Scott – despite his historic victory in 2013.
Scott certainly has confidence and a stellar recent record at Augusta, but on the back of some dodgy putting, and then switching to-and-fro between the long and short putters, many are wondering if Scott is solid enough to contend this week.
Combined with Jason Day’s current form that saw him snatch victory at the Farmer’s Insurance Open and usurp Scott on the world golf rankings, we tend to agree.
Can Bubba Watson or Phil Mickelson win again?
Left-handers have had a good time of it at Augusta National of late, thanks largely to three wins from Phil Mickelson and two from Bubba Watson.
Bubba Watson is in phenomenal form that has seen him rise to number three in the world. In his last five official PGA Tour starts, Watson has finished no worse that 14th, including two top-3 finishes and a spectacular victory at the WGC HSBC Champions event last year.
Mickelson missed two cuts in February and his game looked in all sorts of trouble. But in typical Mickelson fashion, he’s coming good right around Masters time. You can never rule out Lefty at Augusta and it would be hard to imagine a Masters without one of them in contention come Sunday afternoon.
Will we see a first-time major winner?
There is a real buzz about the prospects of a seeing a first-time major winner wearing the green jacket at the end of the week.
We’ve already mentioned Jason Day’s prospects this week but also it’s not hard to also see the likes of Jordan Spieth, Jimmy Walker, Patrick Reed or Matt Kuchar strolling up the 18th with a grin on their face.
Spieth is our pick of the field to challenge McIlroy this week. The Australian Open champion looks to be peaking beautifully for this week and despite his mere 21-years of age, Spieth is mature beyond his years and can be counted on to stay calm down the stretch.