The 2013 Masters is just weeks away, and it is hard to believe that it is that time of year again. With a unique start to the 2013 PGA Tour season with weather delays, Tiger returning to form and Rory battling to gain form, it will be interesting to see how the first major of the year will play out.
Tiger Woods has looked better than ever so far in 2013 and there is no doubt that he will add some excitement at Augusta National this year. He is a 5/1 favorite with Ladbrokes to win, putting him at much better odds than previous years. His putting is looking scary-good after Steve Stricker’s tune up lesson and it is clear that he is in a much better place mentally. But it has been five years since Tiger has won a major, dating back to 2008 at Torrey Pines and the pressure of catching Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 majors keeps looking more and more daunting. A win at Augusta this year would get him to 15 , just three short of tying Jack and would definitely kick start conversation about a potential grand slam or multiple major year for him. It will be fun to see how he plays, and I’ll tell you right now that it will come down to his putting.
We have only seen Rory McIlroy tee it up a handful of times so far this season, but it is easy to see that he’s not the same Rory we’ve seen in past year’s. Last year he got off to a dominate start, earning his ranking as the world’s No. 1 player. He continued his dominance throughout 2012 winning the PGA Championship at Kiawah by a Tiger-like 8 strokes. His big endorsement deal with Nike could certainly have had some effect on the way he approaches the mental side of the game – feeling as though he’s playing for others rather than just for himself like he’s done throughout the early stages of his career. But his talent level is too high, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him contend on the weekend at Augusta National.
Defending champion Bubba Watson has been quiet so far this season, but will certainly be looking to defend his title. It was great to see him win in such a dramatic fashion last year, and I’m sure we’ll be hearing about the meal that he has planned for the Masters Dinner.
Young guns Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler will be looking to break through for their first major victory this year. Both have had great starts to 2013 and will add some excitement if they can get into contention. DJ won the year’s first event despite event shortening weather delays and has kept his streak alive of winning at least once each year since turning professional in 2007. It would be great to see him win a major, especially the Masters. Fowler always adds excitement whether he is in contention or not, and while he only has one PGA Tour victory under his belt, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him add a major to his resume early in his career.
Let’s hope that the weather in Augusta doesn’t keep with the current streak of bad weather that the tour has experienced so far this year. I have a feeling the Georgia weather will break the streak, as it is always beautiful come tournament time. Stop back to ROP for more Master’s coverage as the tournament draws nearer, and in the meantime checkout this year’s field below:
Tune in this week as the TOUR stops by Bay Hill for The Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Inside the Masters 2013