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Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods, Jason Day - Who Are The Main Contenders In The 2018 Masters?

Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods, Jason Day - Who Are The Main Contenders In The 2018 Masters?
Tuesday,April 3,2018

Tiger’s back, Rory’s bang in form, DJ, Rahm, Day, Bubba, Thomas, Mickelson and Casey have all won already this year….has there ever been a more eagerly awaited Major than the 2018 Masters?


And what makes this week at Augusta all the more mouthwatering is that there are so many great players at the top of their game that it’s 10/1 the field - basically it’s wide open!


As Sid Waddell would no doubt have put it, Tiger Woods has enjoyed the greatest comeback since Lazarus.


Having gone five long years without winning a golf tournament and much of that time laid up with such serious injuries that it was doubtful he’d ever be in a position to challenge again, Tiger has had two top fives in his four starts this season.


After 79 PGA Tour victories and 14 Majors, maybe the great man has one more in the locker?


Rory McIlroy is bidding to become just the sixth man in golf history to complete a career Grand Slam, joining Gene Sarazon, Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Tiger and Bobby Jones (the only man to do it in the same year).


It’s been four years since the Northern Irishman won the last of his four Majors, but he couldn’t have had better preparation, winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational last month and looking back to his very best.


While the Masters has so far eluded McIlroy, Bubba Watson and Phil Mickelson have slipped into the green jacket five times between them.


While maybe not in the Tiger category of being written off, it was felt that both left handers had their best days, and Major winning days, behind them, but both are enjoying somewhat of a renaissance.


Bubba has won twice this year, including the recent World Matchplay, and having tasted success in both 2012 and 2014 at Augusta and with a game perfectly suited to the testing course, we can expect great things once more.


Mickelson triumphed in the WGC Mexico last month to show that even though he’s only three years off qualifying for the Seniors Tour and would be the oldest ever winner, Lefty still has it in him to add to his 2004, 2006 and 2010 Masters wins, continuing a rather pleasing numerical sequence in the process.


Dustin Johnson is still the world number one, and while he’s been a bit quiet compared to this period last year, where he approached the Masters as hot favourite only to fall down the stairs the day before tee off to rule himself out of contention, he tasted success in Hawaii at the Tournament of Champions at the start of 2018 and with a little less pressure could come through this toughest of fields.


Justin Thomas is nibbling at DJ’s heals in the world rankings, and last year’s Player of the Year has followed up his Honda Classic win in February with three consecutive top four finishes heading into the Masters.


He’s won seven of his 34 tournaments since the start of 2017 including claiming his first Major in last year’s US PGA and with his length, consistency and coolness under pressure, Thomas will be right up there.


And then of course there is Masters specialist Jordan Spieth, who has finished 2nd, 1st, 2nd and 11th in his four trips to Augusta. Like DJ, Spieth has gone a bit under the radar in all the Tiger hype and Rory returning to form, but a third place in Houston last week signalled a timely return to form.


Of course British hopes were also piqued by last week’s Houston Open, when Ian Poulter lifted the trophy and nicked the last place in the Masters while doing so.

With Paul Casey denying Tiger fans the fairytale by taking down the Valspar Championship last month, and last year’s runner-up Justin Rose, the world number five, determined to go one better, the Americans won’t have it all their own way.


Two Spaniards will also be determined to rain on the home parade.


Sergio Garcia, the man who prevented Rose from winning here last year, admitted he took his foot off the gas after his Masters victory, his first Major triumph at the 74th attempt, but showed his hunger had returned with a win in the Singapore Open in January.


He will be hoping to enjoy the much vaunted golfer’s ‘baby bounce’ having recently become a father for the first time. Baby Azalea - named after the famous flora that decorates Augusta National - was born last month.


Garcia’s countryman Jon Rahm, Thomas apart, has been the breakthrough player of the past couple of years, winning four tournaments and breaking into the world’s top three, ahead of the likes of Spieth and McIlroy.


There are so many great players who are in form and capable of winning the 2018 Masters, but the man who will be carrying the weight of my money is Jason Day.


The Aussie had a down year in 2017 and looked to be struggling with his iron play in particular while dealing with family issues away from the game, including his mother’s terminal cancer diagnosis and subsequent surgery.


But this year he has looked back his best, winning the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines and following that up with a runners-up finish in the AT&T.


The former world number one is swinging well, has his focus back on his game, plays Augusta well having finished second here in the past, and is ready to take the next step and try on that green jacket.


2018 may well be Day’s year but could it be yours? We’re giving you the chance to play for more than £2,000 in guarantees alone this Masters across our pools, which includes:


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So come and enjoy the Masters in style and attempt to turn your predictions into cold, hard cash!


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