July 21, 2024
Spring has now started to whisper across America

Spring has now started to whisper across America which for golf fans can only mean one thing: the Masters is upon us. From April 11-14 the best golfers in the world will make their annual pilgrimage to Augusta National Golf Club for the biggest tournament in the United States. It is consistently one of the most captivating spectacles in the sport and this 2024 promises to be no different with history making potential on one of the most challenging courses in the world. 

The Course:  Augusta National is one of the most unique courses in the world of gold. The winds are unpredictable, and the water hazards are strategically placed to present a number of difficulties for players. The biggest issue however is that you cannot hit the ball onto the green from your normal trajectory. The greens are notoriously fast and somewhat unpredictable too. This is because they can change speed during the day due to drying out in the morning and slowing down as the sun sets. This means they can peak at around 15 on the stimpmeter. Combined with severe putting slopes, it is clear to see why so many pros show Augusta respect and train accordingly. 

Defending Champion: Jon Rahm became the fourth overall Spaniard to win the Masters in 2023. He will be looking to etch his name in Masters lore as one of three other men to record back-to-back victories in the tournament. That feat has not been accomplished since Tiger Woods did so in 2002, having won his second overall the year prior. Rahm looks good value to do just that too with Masters odds having him as the third favorite. He is currently ranked third in the world, just a stones throw away from Rory McIlroy and Scottie Scheffler.

Home Soil Favorite: Historically, the Masters has been dominated by American Winners. The likes of Tiger Woods, Arnold Palmer, Phil Mickelson and Jack Nicklaus are all multiple time winners of the tournament. World Number 1 Scottie Scheffler became the most recent name to be added to that list back in 2022. He headed into last years tournament as favorite, just as he will in 2024, though his disappointing form heading in saw him finish T10. He has started the tour strongly so far however, most recently claiming the Arnold Palmer invitational by an extremely impressive five shots. He decimated the field and with just weeks remaining until the trip to Augusta that can only be a good thing for his fortunes.

First Green Jacket for a legend?: Rory McIlroy has been one of the greatest golfing talents of the last decade and a half. To his name, he has two PGA Championships, an Open Championship and a U.S. Open. However, the famed Masters green jacket has so far eluded him. He was stopped by Scheffler in 2022 to record his best ever finish in second place, though has very bluntly spoken of his performance last year saying he ‘played like dog s***!’. This will be his tenth attempt in Augusta as he looks to enter esteemed company as sixth man to win all four majors.

We will also see other legends like Justin Thomas, Bryan DeChambeau and former winner Dustin Johson enter the tournament. Thomas and Johnson have multiple majors to their name with DeChambeau also winning the US Open in 2020 and their experience is always going to serve them well. Though not considered among the favorites, the silverware between them means they will be perennial threats in Augusta. 

The Young Guns: Between those legends we will also see some of the rising stars of the game establish themselves even further. Colin Morikawa already has two majors at just 27-years-old having won the PGA Championship and The Open Championship in 2020 and 2021 respectively. Elsewhere, 26-year-old Viktor Hovland will be looking to add his first after a string of very promising finishes in 2023. He came T7 in last year’s Masters before falling short by just two strokes alongside Scheffler in the PGA Championship to finish T2. He finished the tour strongly last year, claiming the Tour Championship in August by five strokes and will be confident in taking that form into the first major of 2024. 

The Masters is not just an institution of golf but of sport overall. The iconic green jacket serves as a beacon of respect from fellow professionals, signifying membership of an elite club of icons. Spectators travel in their tens of thousands to watch live from the course and millions tune in at home. It is a global spectacle and a fitting end to an exciting first quarter of the golfing calendar.