With the Masters right around the corner, golf fans will be gearing up for an exciting tournament that will see fans return to Augusta, Georgia in full capacity for the first time in almost three years. Tiger Woods earnt a fifth green jacket in dramatic fashion back in 2019 with his final putt perhaps his biggest career achievement. Everyone thought his best years were past him, but he proved all his critics and those that bet on golf wrong. It just goes to show how important the Masters can be for rejuvenating a career.
While the likes of Jason Day and Phil Mickelson will be missing from this year’s tournament — Woods’ addition is still yet to be confirmed either — there are still several of golf’s best in search of winning Augusta’s green jacket.
Defending champion Hideki Matsuyama will be keen to defend his title after becoming the first Asian golfer to win the Masters last year, whilst earning his spot in the top 10 of the official PGA Golf rankings. But what about the rest of the competition? The top end of the golf rankings could also change depending on how things go at the Masters, and with that in mind, let’s take a look at who could lead come the end of the tournament.
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Let’s start with world number one Scottie Scheffler. The American has enjoyed a great start to the year, winning three of his last five PGA Tour events, including the recent victory at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play. It’s been a meteoric rise for the 25-year-old who will want to use the Masters as a chance to establish himself as the best in the world, and given his recent form it’s certainly not an impossible task.
Scheffler is lower down the pecking order in the Masters odds than some would have expected, with the likes of Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas tipped to perform better than the newcomer.
Moving on to the favourite for this year’s Masters and current world number two Jon Rahm. The Spaniard won the US Open last year to earn a first major championship and it stands him in good stead to replicate that success at Augusta. However, a difficult run-in at the Players Championship saw him lose his first-place rank, with a tough opening round leaving him with too much to do.
Rahm rarely panics though, and you’d expect that confidence to be on display should he be in with a chance of winning in Augusta. You only need to look at his reaction from the Players to see this a man who will not be fazed.
“I had one bad month. Why is everybody panicking?” he asked. “I’m also first in greens in regulation and second off the tee, so when I’m on the green that often if I’m not making a lot of putts, it’s going to show that it’s not that good.”
Another on the verge of first place is Collin Morikawa. He is yet to win a green jacket, with Dustin Johnson, the 2020 champion, the only member of the top five to do so. But after a mixed bag of results in the last 12 months for Morikawa, in which he won the World Tour Championship in Dubai but underperformed in the PGA playoffs, the 25-year-old will be hoping a win in the Masters will be a catalyst for some consistency and push him up the rankings to compete with Rahm and Scheffler.
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