Saturday, April 13, 2013

5 Favorites for the 2013 Masters

Rory McIlroy Autographed Photo
Each and every spring, the golfing world turns to Augusta, Georgia and the Masters. Held at the beautiful Augusta National Golf Club, the Masters is among golf’s greatest prizes and awards the winner with not only over $1 million in prize money but also a smashing green jacket reserved for the extraordinary gentlemen who have won the major golf tournament. This year will certainly be another awesome edition of the Masters tournament. Here are 5 of the favorites heading into the Masters:

1. Tiger Woods – After several years of struggles, Tiger Woods looks to have finally returned to the top of the golfing world, and is certainly considered the favorite to win the 2013 Masters. Having won the Masters 4 times, Woods is no stranger to success in Augusta, but he has not won since 2005. This year, Woods has won 3 of the 5 tournaments he has entered, and to earn a Masters victory would seal his comeback in golf. He may struggle like in recent years, but I could also envision Tiger Woods having this tournament all wrapped up by day 3.
2. Phil Mickelson – All prepped with a new driver made of “phrankenwood”, Mickelson is ready to put on his 4th career green jacket. Although he hasn’t been stellar this year, he did achieve a victory at the Phoenix Open and is 4th in the FedEx Cup standings. Mickelson last tasted victory in 2010 and has been the dominant left-handed player in the PGA Tour for years. Will his new club be able to help Mickelson dominate long drives on the pristine holes of Augusta? Probably, but whether or not he can keep his cool and make incredible shots and putts will determine if he can win another Masters.
3. Bubba Watson – The reigning champion stunned the golfing world with his victory last year at the Masters, highlighted by an incredible shot in the tournament’s sudden death that propelled him to win over Louis Oosthuizen. Although he typically doesn’t win many tournaments, he does occasionally compete near the top of the group, and has won this tournament before. In truth, the chances of Bubba Watson winning the Masters this year is probably about the same as any other competitor in the field, but due to his past success and status of reigning champion, must be considered.
4. Rory McIlroy – Probably still reeling from his horrendous collapse on day 4 of the 2011 Masters, McIlroy will likely never be at peace until he conquers this event. Since the debacle, golf’s youngest professional star has won two major tournaments, including the U.S. Open and the PGA Championship. At just 23 years of age, he has emerged as the next great talent in golf and is among the top ranked players on the PGA Tour. However, his 2013 form has been questionable. He was also criticized for withdrawing from the Honda Classic this year after several rough holes. However, with a recent 2nd place finish at the Texas Open, McIlroy could be hitting his stride just in time for the big event.
5. Luke Donald – Ranked number 1 in the world as recent as last year, Donald has still yet to earn a victory at one of the majors. He did come close in the 2005 Masters, tying for 3rd place, and again in 2011 when he finished in 4th. But the grand fortune of earning a green jacket has yet to arrive for the talented Englishman. Naturally, criticism over his ability to win the “big one” has surrounded his career, but with his flirtations at winning a major tournament, one must sense a strong possibility that he will win a major at some point of his career. Is 2013 the year Luke Donald finally wins it? We will know by late Sunday.
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