This week will see the eagerly awaited and anticipated 85th running of the Augusta Masters. Played at the lovely Augusta National Golf Club, the cream of the world’s golfers will be in action.
It seems like only yesterday that Dustin Johnson was wearing the decorative Green Jacket. Well in fact it was only five months ago when Johnson won the event with a final total of 20 under par.
Johnson’s record-breaking victory in November is still fresh in the memory of golf lovers around the world. Early indications suggest this could be a Masters with significantly higher scoring than November.
World Number 1 looking for back to back Masters victories
World Number 1 Johnson’s recent form is indifferent with just one top 10 finish since winning in Saudi Arabia in February. Not good form for a player who is looking to be the first player to defend the title since Tiger Woods in 2002.
Over the weekend, Jordan Spieth won the Texas Open- his first title win since winning the Open at Royal Birkdale in 2017.
Spieth had dropped out of the top 100 after enduring over 1,300 winless days. By winning the Texas Open, Spieth has now won 12 titles and will be one of the favourites for the Masters.
Justin Thomas peaking at the right time
Phil Mickelson was the last man to win an event the week before Augusta and to go on and wear the Green Jacket by Sunday.
Another American who is beginning to come back into form is Justin Thomas. The American won the Players Championship last month. He has always made the cut in the Masters and last year finished fourth.
The leading European golfer Jon Rahm became a father for the first-time last week, but still awaits a first major title. This could prove to be the moment for the likeable Spaniard.
Morikawa improving with every event
Colin Morikawa is a golfer who has improved over time. Current holder of the US PGA Championship, another player who could well feature in the mix.
US Open winner Bryson DeChambeau recently insisted that the par 72 is a regulation 68 for him. Time will tell if that is the case over the next four days.
Leading UK golfer Tyrrell Hatton is a player who’s form of late has been disappointing. His highest finish has been a very lowly 44th place in four previous attempts.
People with good memories will always speak about the time that Rory McIlroy lost the Masters a decade ago. Leading by four shots he looked home and dry before shooting a round of 80 to fall away.
His form leading up to this week’s event isn’t encouraging and he still has to get back to playing four rounds of consistent golf.
Matt Fitzpatrick is another British golfer who has made rapid improvement with his game. Loves putting on fast greens and tied for seventh back in 2016.
Recent runner up finishes at Bay Hill and the Players will give Lee Westwood much encouragement. If the 48-year-old could win the Masters on Sunday, that would be a fairy tale story that everybody would love to see.
Back in November Australian Cameron Smith shot all four rounds in the 60’s to finish runner up to Johnson. Paul Casey, also has a fine Masters record with five top 10 finishes at Augusta.
No doubt there will be plenty of twist and turns with more drama than an episode of Line Of Duty come Sunday.