Rahm, Smith head Masters favourites
The world’s top men’s golfers are set to tee off for the first major of the year, the 2022 Masters Tournament. The 86th edition of the iconic event will be held from 7-10 April at the Augusta National Golf Club and promises to be another thrilling championship on one of the world’s famed layouts.
This is the one tournament most players on the PGA Tour want to win most, given the history, tradition, and historical significance. The field is set for 91 players with any previous winner holding a lifetime exemption in the field.
Cameron Smith is in top form coming off a recent win at the Players Championship (Credit: PGA Tour)
Two holes at Augusta National have been modified leading into this year’s championship, namely the 11th and 15th holes. The tee box on the Par-4 11th hole has been pushed back and to the left by 10 metres, with the fairway recontoured and several trees removed on the right side. This modification now makes the 11th hole play longer than the par-5 on the other side of Amen Corner.
The tee box on the par-5 15th has also been pushed back by 13 metres with additional recontouring of the fairways, potentially adding one extra club for players to challenge the green in two. All in all, these are not significant alterations, but it does push the total length of the course to just over 6858 metres. Nine of the ten par-4s play over 402 metres and three of the par-4s play over 448 metres, so length off the tee will be an advantage.
Cameron Smith will lead the Aussie charge and having already won twice this year at the Sentry Tournament of Champions and the Players Championship he certainly is a player to follow. Smith tied for runner-up at the 2020 Masters, when he became the only player in the tournament’s history to shoot in the 60s in all four rounds.
We also cannot forget Adam Scott, the 2013 Masters champion who has an impeccable record having made the cut in 18 of 20 starts at Augusta. Marc Leishman has three top-10 finishes from nine starts including a tie for 5th in 2021, whilst Cam Davis will make his Masters debut.
The Aussies will have to overcome the rampaging Scottie Scheffler, who has won three times in his past five starts and is the current world number one. Scheffler is playing his third Masters after finishing in the top 20 in both the 2020 and 2021 tournaments.
Augusta National’s 13th Hole (Credit: ANGC)
Jon Rahm, Collin Morikawa, Justin Thomas, Rory McIlroy, Brooks Koepka are among the notable golfers competing this week who have won majors but haven’t won at Augusta National.
Tiger Woods needs no introduction. The 15-time major champion looks set to make his return this week after spending the last 12 months on the sideline recovering from a car accident.
A five time winner at Augusta, the 46-year-old Woods hasn’t played a round in a regular PGA Tour event in more than 500 days yet was at Augusta National on Sunday to continue his practice and preparation.
Woods has indicated he will make his decision to play as a ‘game-time decision’.
The Masters Tournament will be available to watch on both Foxtel and Kayo Sports.