Aussies in pole position for second Masters success
The world’s best gather at the first tee at Augusta National for the 80th running of the Masters on Thursday. All will be looking to don the green jacket, but four-time Tiger Woods will not be one of them due to his ailing back.
Despite his early-season struggles, reigning Masters champion Jordan Spieth is listed as one of the favourites to take the title. Rory McIlroy and Jason Day are not far behind as likely winners for the green jacket.
Adam Scott celebrates his 2013 US Masters win (Credit: Matthew Harris)
With the exception of his win in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in early January, Spieth hasn’t finished in the top-10 in any tournament since the start of the year, and he missed the cut at the Northern Trust Open.
But since the conclusion of the PGA Championship last year, there has not been a hotter golfer on tour than Aussie Jason Day.
Day has six PGA Tour wins since July and closed last year winning four of the final seven tournaments he played in.
So far, Day has gotten off to a strong start in 2016 with a win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the WGC-Dell Match Play a fortnight ago. He enters the Masters week as world number one and with a win rate of nearly 50%, it’s an indication how good Day is at present.
Rory McIlroy, the former British, US Open and PGA champion, is looking for his first Masters title and finished fourth last year. It seems that with each Masters, McIlroy gets closer to wearing the green jacket.
The difference this time around is that the focus is not entirely on McIlroy and that will suit the Northern Irishman who seems to be more comfortable being a little under the radar heading into Augusta.
Along with Day, Adam Scott has been in stellar form this season. Scott leads the PGA Tour money list and the FedEx Cup table and with two wins and runner-up finish this year, Scott certainly is in the hunt for his second green jacket.
Two time champion Bubba Watson should not be discounted. Watson’s game and eye suits the Augusta layout, which tends to favour left handers and has to place him as a player to watch.
Rickie Fowler’s form in the majors over the last two years has been very solid without breaking through for a win. His best finish at Augusta is a tied fifth in 2014 and Fowler is due for a major title.
The Masters tends to produce new champions and Fowler is by far the best placed to do what we have long believed he’s capable of doing – win a major. Fowler has gone close in several majors before, and proved himself capable of winning frequently at PGA Tour level.
Fowler this year is second in greens in regulation and has jumped from outside the top-50 in total driving distance to inside the top-3. That’s a powerful combination of power and precision, and supports the fact that Fowler has matured as a player to a level where he is capable of competing successfully at the very highest level.
Coverage will kick-off with the Par-3 contest on Thursday 7th April (AEST) and will be live on 7mate and Fox Sports 5 from approx. 5am each day.