We’ve all seen the same stats flying around the golf world in the last week or two. Some interesting, some not so much. However, the one that caught my eye is a first-timer stat: The first time that the World Top 10 enter The Masters without a title to their name. This may seem like a negative at first glance but, in actuality, it’s a beautiful thing for golf. Of course you have Major winners (the Top-5 have ten between them), but we literally have the best players in the world chasing the Green Jacket with that never-been-fed hunger. It’s also evidence that the rankings actually reflect form rather than past success, with the likes of Xander Schauffele and Bryson DeChambeau soaring since the 2018 Masters.
It has never been tighter at the top, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
They say fortune favours the brave, but the same can’t be said for the weather. As a result, tee times could play a big role in this tournament. The conditions are prone to change from morning to afternoon, so if you’re lucky enough to be out in the sunshine then you better take advantage. By the same hand, if the forecasted thunderstorms hit when you’re out then you better know how to grind. Since the forecast was essentially thrown out the window last year, this is –frustratingly- both critical and unpredictable. However, it is expected to deteriorate as the days push on over the weekend, so the leaders and subsequent late-starters may be even more vulnerable. Remember Tommy Fleetwood’s sunshine surge on Sunday at the U.S. Open? Expect something similar.
Whilst talk of Tiger’s fifth Green Jacket is everywhere, this feels primed for a maiden Masters title. Storms have already suspended play during practice rounds, and you know what bad weather means… Smiling Europeans!
World No. 1 Justin Rose, Grand Slam-chasing Rory McIlroy and Open Champion Francesco Molinari will be licking their lips. And so will Jon Rahm. After opening with a 75 last year, Rahm went 68-65-69 (a record-low 54 holes for an international player) to tie for fourth and I suspect the Spaniard will fancy his chances this year. McIlroy’s form has been irresistible all year… Surely this is his best chance to win at Augusta?
European golf is on a real high, and I believe that will continue this week. Whatever happens, we’re ready for another piece of history.
Written by Joe Carabini