Who can win the Masters, and who has completely no shot


AUGUSTA, Georgia — The eighty fifth taking part in of the Masters Match at Augusta Nationwide Golf Membership returns to its conventional spot in April this week.

There shall be restricted patrons as soon as once more due to the coronavirus pandemic, and no Tiger Woods because the five-time Masters champion recovers from severe accidents suffered in a automobile wreck in February.

Nonetheless, it would really feel like a extra conventional Masters than the one performed in November, which was gained by Dustin Johnson in a rout.

Who’re the favorites to win a inexperienced jacket this week? Who’re the darkish horses? Who has no shot?

Tier I: The blokes who can win

Listed here are the professional contenders. They’ve the video games, guts and nerves to deal with 4 pressure-packed rounds on one of the treacherous golf programs on the planet.

Dustin Johnson
The reigning Masters champion set the 72-hole scoring file at 20 below whereas successful by 5 strokes in November. He’ll try to change into the primary back-to-back winner since Tiger Woods in 2001-02.

Justin Thomas
Thomas was tied for the 36-hole lead in November and has been below par in every of his earlier seven rounds at Augusta Nationwide. One other promising development: His end has improved in every of his 5 Masters begins, together with a solo fourth final yr.

Xander Schauffele
The 27-year-old has been shut, however simply brief, since successful the Sentry Match of Champions in January 2019. He has completed runner-up eight occasions since then, together with a tie for second on the 2019 Masters, wherein he led the sphere with 25 birdies.

Jon Rahm
With three straight top-10s at Augusta Nationwide, the 26-year-old from Spain is among the many favorites. His spouse, Kelley, gave beginning to their first baby Saturday, so Rahm shall be within the subject. He had warned that he could be able to bolt for house if she had gone into labor.

Patrick Reed
Love him or hate him, the 2018 Masters champion might be going to be in rivalry to win a second inexperienced jacket. He tied for Tenth in November and gained the Farmers Insurance coverage Open in January. Reed has carded scores within the 60s in half of his earlier 12 rounds at Augusta Nationwide.

Jordan Spieth
The 2015 Masters champion has lastly discovered his sport and confidence once more, successful the Valero Texas Open this previous weekend, after struggling for a lot of the earlier three seasons. He has completed tied for fifteenth or higher in six of his earlier seven tour begins, together with 4 top-5s. Even throughout his struggles, Augusta Nationwide was Spieth’s blissful place; he tied for second in 2016 and was solo third in 2018.

Patrick Cantlay
The UCLA graduate, if you happen to forgot, briefly held the Sunday lead on the second 9 earlier than fading to a tie for ninth behind Woods in 2019. He completed tied for seventeenth in November after a not-so-great weekend. He gained the Zozo Championship in October and was taking part in nice golf till a missed lower on the Gamers Championship.

Bryson DeChambeau
After suggesting that he meant to play Augusta Nationwide as a par-67 course, Brawny Bryson completed tied for thirty fourth in November. He led the sphere in driving distance at 324.4 yards however made far too many errors. He hasn’t completed higher than a tie for twenty first in 4 begins right here. If he straightens out the motive force and continues his scorching placing, he ought to carry out higher.

Rory McIlroy
McIlroy returns to Augusta Nationwide a decade after he squandered a 4-shot lead within the remaining spherical — and he is nonetheless looking for a inexperienced jacket to finish the profession Grand Slam. He completed within the prime 10 in six of his earlier seven Masters begins. The previous World No. 1 hasn’t gained on tour in additional than 17 months. He just lately turned to swing coach Pete Cowen to assist flip issues round.

Webb Simpson
Simpson is not one of many longest hitters on tour, however he greater than makes up for it with excellent iron play and placing. He was a consider every of the prior two Masters, ending tied for Tenth in November and tied for fifth in 2019.

Cameron Smith
In November, the Australian grew to become the primary participant within the 84-year historical past of the Masters to submit 4 rounds within the 60s. He nonetheless completed 5 photographs behind DJ. Smith has two top-5s in 4 begins at Augusta Nationwide — and an excellent mullet as well.

Tony Finau
Few gamers have been as constant on golf’s greatest phases as Finau, who has seven top-10s in majors previously three years. Sadly, few gamers have much less to indicate for it than Finau, who hasn’t gained on tour in additional than 5 years. He has two top-10s in three begins at Augusta Nationwide.

Collin Morikawa
The 24-year-old has rapidly change into probably the most completed participant among the many sport’s younger stars, already successful 4 occasions since turning professional in 2019, together with the 2020 PGA Championship. He added a victory on the WGC-Workday Championship at The Concession in February, turning into the one participant apart from Woods to win a significant and a WGC occasion earlier than turning 25. He tied for forty fourth in his first Masters begin in November.

Sungjae Im
The 23-year-old from South Korea had fairly the debut in November, utilizing three rounds within the 60s to complete in a tie for second at 15 below. It was the very best end by an Asian participant on the Masters. He had 9 top-25 finishes in his first 18 begins this season.

Abraham Ancer
In his first Masters begin final yr, Ancer opened with three straight rounds within the 60s to play with Johnson within the remaining group on Sunday. He shot 76 and completed tied for thirteenth. He had 9 top-25s in his first 14 begins this season.

Lee Westwood
At 47, Westwood has loved a resurgence with back-to-back runner-up finishes on the Arnold Palmer Invitational and Gamers Championship in March. He’s a two-time runner-up on the Masters, in 2010 and 2016, and continues to be looking for that first elusive main championship.

Paul Casey
Like Westwood, Casey is taking part in a few of his greatest golf in his 40s whereas nonetheless making an attempt to finish a protracted main championship drought. Casey, 43, completed within the prime 15 in 4 of his prior six begins at Augusta Nationwide.

Viktor Hovland
The primary Norwegian to compete within the Masters, Hovland was the low beginner in 2019, when he had three rounds below par to complete 3 below. This shall be his first look as a professional. He is already gained twice on tour, together with the Mayakoba Golf Traditional in December, and tied for runner-up on the WGC-Workday Championship. The sky is the restrict for the previous Oklahoma State standout.

Tyrrell Hatton
The Englishman’s lone tour victory got here on the 2020 Arnold Palmer Invitational. He hasn’t completed higher than a tie for forty fourth in 4 Masters appearances, however the sport and potential are there for the 29-year-old to make some noise — if he can enhance his work across the greens.

Daniel Berger
Regardless that he was the most well liked participant after the restart final yr, Berger was a sufferer of circumstance and did not make the Masters subject in November. He is making his fourth begin at Augusta Nationwide — his greatest end was a tie for Tenth in 2016. He gained at Pebble Seashore in February and continues to be taking part in effectively.

Bubba Watson
Watson grew to become the second quickest to win a number of inexperienced jackets by doing it in simply 5 profession begins. He’ll need to hit extra fairways and enhance his placing to get a 3rd.

Brooks Koepka
The four-time main winner underwent surgical procedure March 16 to restore a dislocated proper kneecap and ligament harm. It was the most recent setback for Koepka, who struggled with a left knee harm and hip ailment lately. He completed tied for seventh at Augusta Nationwide in November, after ending tied for second behind Woods in 2019.

Tier II: If every thing goes proper

Listed here are the darkish horse candidates to slide on a inexperienced jacket. The record options previous champions and runners-up whose video games have been works in progress to date this season. Will all of it come collectively at Augusta?

Adam Scott
The 2013 Masters champion has just one top-10 in his earlier seven Masters begins and only one top-10 in 10 tour occasions this season.

Hideki Matsuyama
The Japanese golfer has 4 top-15 finishes in 9 begins at Augusta Nationwide, together with a tie for thirteenth final yr.

Jason Day
Day’s type hasn’t been nice this season, with solely two top-10s in 14 tour begins. However he has a powerful monitor file at Augusta, with three top-five finishes in 10 begins, together with a tie for fifth in 2019.

Louis Oosthuizen
The South African outperforming expectations on the Masters is about as predictable as Augusta Nationwide’s azaleas having colourful blooms. He has six top-25s in 12 begins on the Masters, together with runner-up in 2012.

Scottie Scheffler
The 24-year-old Texan is approaching quick with three top-10s in his previous six tour begins; he was runner-up on the WGC-Dell Applied sciences Match Play. He tied for nineteenth on the Masters final yr.

Dylan Frittelli
Final yr, the South African grabbed a share of the opening-round lead with a 65 and completed tied for fifth at 11 below. He had missed 5 of seven cuts since then till tying for ninth on the WGC Match Play.

Sergio Garcia
The 2017 Masters champion missed the match final yr after testing optimistic for COVID-19. He missed the lower twice after successful a inexperienced jacket in his nineteenth begin at Augusta Nationwide.

Matthew Fitzpatrick
The 26-year-old Englishman has gained six occasions on the European Tour, however he’s nonetheless searching for his first win on American soil. His greatest end on the Masters was a tie for seventh in 2016.

Tommy Fleetwood
The 30-year-old Englishman is so dedicated to lastly successful on tour that he is chopping his hair earlier than his fifth Masters begin. In fact, we’re kidding.

Justin Rose
The 2-time Masters runner-up hasn’t performed competitively since withdrawing from the Arnold Palmer Invitational in early March with again spasms.

Marc Leishman
In November, the Australian tied the Masters file by taking part in the par-5s in 15 below, thanks to a few eagles, together with two on Sunday. He completed tied for thirteenth at 8 below.

Cameron Champ
In his first Masters look, which he devoted to his late grandfather, Mack “Pops” Champ, he completed tied for nineteenth. His basis helped set up scholarships for 2 Black golfers at Prairie View A&M, an HBCU in Texas, which his grandfather needed to attend.

Corey Conners
The previous actuarial math main at Kent State did not have to fret about uncertainties after his Tenth-place end in 2020 earned a return journey to the Masters.

Matthew Wolff
Wolff’s sport hasn’t been nice since he missed the lower on the Masters in November. He ranks sixth in driving distance (314.6 yards) and 205th in driving accuracy (50.2% of fairways).

Shane Lowry
The 2019 Open Championship winner continues to be in possession of the Claret Jug after final yr’s match was canceled due to COVID-19. His greatest end in 5 Masters appearances was a tie for twenty fifth in November.

Joaquin Niemann
Niemann, 22, is making his first Masters begin as a professional after lacking final yr’s match due to a optimistic COVID-19 check. He missed the lower in 2018, when he was the Latin America beginner champion and No. 1 beginner on the planet.

Billy Horschel
He captured his first tour victory since 2018 on the WGC-Dell Applied sciences Match Play final month and is trying to fare higher on the Masters. He has made 4 of six cuts on the Masters, together with a tie for seventeenth in 2016.

C.T. Pan
Pan, from Taiwan, had a powerful Masters debut final yr, taking pictures 66 on Friday and 68 on Sunday to complete in a tie for seventh at 10 below.

Matt Kuchar
It is onerous to consider that it has been practically a quarter-century since Kuchar smiled his strategy to a top-25 end as an beginner in 1998. He has had 4 top-10s since, the latest a tie for fourth in 2017.

Kevin Na
Na in all probability needs he’d made a number of putts final yr. Within the first spherical, he grew to become the primary participant since 2009 to hit each inexperienced in regulation. However he wanted 39 putts and completed 1-over 73, turning into the primary participant in a minimum of 30 years to hit each inexperienced and shoot over par.

Ian Poulter
The 45-year-old confirmed he nonetheless has a lot within the tank with a 6 and 5 trouncing of McIlroy on the WGC-Match Play. He has performed persistently effectively at Augusta Nationwide, the place he has 9 top-25 finishes in 15 begins.

Sebastian Munoz
After ending a shocking eighth on the Tour Championship final yr, the Colombian golfer had two rounds within the 60s to complete tied for nineteenth at 6 below on the 2020 Masters.

Brian Harman
The Georgia native was a late addition to the sphere after he cracked the highest 50 on the planet rankings by tying for fifth on the WGC Match Play. Through the run, he had a stretch of eight straight birdies. He additionally tied for third on the Gamers Championship.

Harris English
The previous Georgia star is making his third Masters look and first since 2016. His earlier greatest end at Augusta Nationwide was a tie for forty second.

Lanto Griffin
The 32-year-old gained the 2019 Houston Open and missed the lower in his lone Masters look in 2020.

Jason Kokrak
Kokrak’s type has been good as of late, with three top-10s in a four-start stretch after successful the CJ Cup in October. He missed the lower in his first Masters begin final yr.

Kevin Kisner
Final yr, an erratic driver triggered him to overlook the lower for the primary time in 5 begins on the Masters. Kisner grew up in close by Aiken, South Carolina; his greatest end was a tie for twenty first in 2019.

Brendon Todd
After a five-year absence, Todd was again on the Masters in 2020 and missed the lower. He gained twice in 2019 to finish one of many higher comeback tales in tour historical past.

Gary Woodland
The 2019 U.S. Open champion hasn’t had a lot success on the Masters, the place his greatest end is a tie for twenty fourth in 2011. He missed the lower in 4 of his earlier eight begins.

Charl Schwartzel
At 36, the 2011 Masters champion continues to be taking part in respectable golf. He had three eagles on the Masters in November, serving to him end in a tie for twenty fifth.

Max Homa
The 30-year-old gained the Genesis Invitational in February for his second tour victory. He missed the lower in his solely Masters look in February. Ask him about your golf swing on Twitter.

Danny Willett
5 years in the past, he shocked the golf world by successful the Masters, his lone PGA tour victory. The previous No. 1 beginner on the planet has gained seven occasions on the European Tour.

Tier III: Hey, miracles occur

They’re the lengthy photographs. This tier features a handful of growing older former champions and a few first-timers.

Will Zalatoris
Matt Wallace
Robert MacIntyre
Si Woo Kim
Victor Perez
Christiaan Bezuidenhout
Bernd Wiesberger
Stewart Cink
Phil Mickelson
Francesco Molinari
Ryan Palmer
Henrik Stenson
Michael Thompson
Carlos Ortiz
Zach Johnson

Tier IV: Completely satisfied to make the lower

They don’t seem to be anticipated to be among the many contenders except one thing magical occurs. Some know-it-all in all probability stated the identical issues about Danny Willett, Charl Schwartzel and Trevor Immelman earlier than they unexpectedly gained, too.

Bernhard Langer
Brian Homosexual
Jim Herman
Mackenzie Hughes
Robert Streb
Martin Laird
Hudson Swafford
Matt Jones
Jimmy Walker

Tier V: Previous champions

They’re right here solely as a result of they personal inexperienced jackets and earned the proper to return again and play, however their days of competing are within the rearview mirror.

Fred {Couples}
Sandy Lyle
Larry Mize
Jose Maria Olazabal
Vijay Singh
Mike Weir
Ian Woosnam

Tier VI: Amateurs

They’re the brand new youngsters on the block and probably the most proficient (and most lucky) beginner gamers on the planet. They’re making an attempt to do what Ryan Moore (tied for thirteenth in 2005), Hideki Matsuyama (twenty seventh in 2011) and Bryson DeChambeau (twenty first in 2016) did earlier than turning professional.

Joe Lengthy
Charles Osborne
Tyler Strafaci


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