What odds a first-timer wins the Masters?
You hear it proclaimed so often, that it takes experience and an understanding of the subtle nuances of Augusta National to win The Masters.
Rarely has a player making his first appearance managed to crack it for a Green Jacket, although many have featured prominently.
Last year, young Dane Thorbjorn Olesen shot eight-under at the weekend to tie for sixth in his maiden appearance but you have to go back to Fuzzy Zoeller’s playoff win over Ed Sneed in 1979 to find a winner in his first attempt.
Will Tiger’s absence leave the door open for a young gun to step up to the podium for the first time since 1979?
What odds a first timer in 2014? Vastly improved you would think, with Tiger Woods confirmed to miss The Masters following his back surgery for the first time since his debut in 1995 and an injury cloud hanging over perennial favourite, Phil Mickelson.
Putting those players aside however, the cast of rookies chancing their arm in 2014 is a veritable ‘hot list’ of form players from the 2013/2014 PGA Tour season to date.
Collectively, they represent the best chance of a first-timer donning the Green Jacket in many years.
The stellar list is headed by recent winners Jimmy Walker (three times), Patrick Reed, Harris English, Kevin Stadler, Chris Kirk, Matt Every, WGC –Accenture Matchplay runner-up Victor Dubuisson, 2013 ‘Rookie of the Year’ Jordan Spieth, Graeme DeLaet, Brendon De Jonge, Jonas Blixt, Derek Ernst, Billy Horschel and Joost Luiten.
The list seems to go on and on and our latest hero and Augusta first-timer, Steve Bowditch, is yet another bound for Augusta following his Texas Open win.
There is a swagger and confidence in many of these players that suggests they won’t be overawed by the occasion or have any doubts in their ability to perform from the word go.
So while each will soak up the history and tradition around every corner next week, they’ll be eager to create a little history of their own.
Just like Fuzzy did in ’79.