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The Masters Preview

March 24, 2014

The first major of the season is nearly upon us as Augusta National Golf Club prepares for The Masters between April 10th and 13th. Australian Adam Scott claimed his first major title in Augusta last year but he is just the third favourite to claim the title this April behind joint favourites Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy. Can Scott retain his title and become the first man to secure a full house in back to back events since Woods achieved this feat in 2001 and 2002? We take a look at the biggest names challenging for The Masters title in 2014.

Tiger Woods

Not only has Woods won The Masters title on four separate occasions, including claiming the record winning margin and score around the Augusta National Golf Club in 1997 when he won by 12 shots with a -18 score, he has claimed a total of 14 major titles putting him second on the all time list behind Jack Nicklaus. He currently sits as the world number one, but is having a poor 2014 and the cause of this is mainly down some back spasms that he has been having recently. He has participated in just three tournaments in 2014 finishing tied 80th at the Farmers Insurance Open and tied 25th in the WGC-Cadillac Championship as well as retiring from the Honda Classic due to these back spasms.

Despite this poor form Woods will be the top draw on the card in Augusta and although he has not won The Masters since 2005 he has finished in the top four places in seven of the eight tournaments that have followed. He is sure to be challenging for the title this year, injuries allowing, but can he win his first major game since the 2008 US Open? Why not play some golf bingo next time you are watching the game? Download your Golf Bingo Card from bingo games site Butlers Bingo by clicking this link We came across these and thought you just had to see them.

Rory McIlroy

Although the Northern Irish man sits seventh in the world and has a best result of tied 15th around the Augusta course in 2011, he is roughly as favoured as Tiger Woods to win The Masters this April. He first played in Augusta in 2009 when he finished tied 20th and he followed this up by missing the cut in 2010. After his best performance in 2011 he finished tied 40th and tied 25th over the last two years. He has had a fine start to this year with a second place finish at The Honda Classic, losing to Russell Henley on a playoff, as well as placing 17th at the WGC-Accenture Match Play and 25th at the WGC-Cadillac Championship too.

He has shown his class at times this year, but he is without a win in either the PGA or European Tour since 2012. Will he be able to conquer Augusta for the first time and claim his first major since the PGA Championship in 2012?

Adam Scott

The defending champion Adam Scott is ranked second in the world coming into the defence of his Masters title and he will be confident of retaining his title too. His four tournaments in 2014 have seen finishes of tied sixth, tied eighth, tied 12th and tied 25th and this consistency so far will see him believing that he can repeat his victory over Ángel Cabrera on a playoff hole last year. His last three visits to Augusta have seen second, eighth and first place finishes so is he offering value at third favourite to retain his title?

Phil Mickelson

Mickelson has roughly the same odds as Scott to win in Augusta this year and claim his fourth Masters titles after victories in 2004, 2006 and 2010. The 43 year old enjoys playing in Augusta with him finishing on 12 of 15 occasions since 1999 and after a poor showing last year as he finished tied 54th, his worst since missing the cut in 1997, he will be desperate to get back to the sharp end of the field.

His form has been patchy this season with him missing the cut at The Honda Open and withdrawing from the Farmers Insurance Open, but he is improving with a tied 19th at the AT&T Pebble Beach and tied 16th WGC-Cadillac Championship either side of the Honda Classic. He certainly knows his way around Augusta, but can he find the sweet spot to bring him his fourth The Masters title?

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