Golf

The Masters: Runners and riders in the frame

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Since it was announced that Tiger Woods has had to pull out of this year's tournament it has left the field as wide open as it has been in recent years. The winner could come from anywhere with a number of rookies and experienced pros all believing that this could be their year to get their arms into the famous green jacket.

Here are my pick of the seven men I believe are most most likely to challenge for the win as the sun sets on the 18th green on Sunday evening:

1: Adam Scott

Last year's winner and one of the favourites to win and retain his crown, Scott is clearly one of the strongest and most consistent players on tour. Add in the confidence that winning around Augusta provides and the fact that he was tied second in 2011 and tied eighth in 2012 goes to show just how much of a threat he will be to the rest once again.

2: Rory McIlroy

After Rory's much publicised struggles last year both on and off the course, he appears to be confident in his equipment and his game and happy in his personal life again. After a year to forget last year he will be desperate to take the first major title of the year.

If his last competitive round is anything to go by, where he shot a 65 in the Houston Open to move himself up the field for a top 10 finish, his game is certainly in a good place right now. Whether he is quite back to major winning form is yet to see but you can bet that come the final stretch on Sunday he'll likely still be in the frame.

3: Patrick Reed

A name that might not be as recognisable of some of the stars that will be on show this weekend Reed's recent performances have shown that he could be the next youngster to really make an impression on the top of the rankings.

He certainly has self-confidence on his side proclaiming after his proclaiming after his WGC Championship victory that, "It’s just one of those things that I believe in myself – especially after how hard I’ve worked – that I’m one of the top five players in the world." He certainly has the talent and the belief to win big tournaments but is Augusta a step too far at this stage for Reed. You can bet your bottom dollar that he believes he's ready for the challenge.

4: Sergio Garcia

My personal pick to win, Garcia has to win a major one day right?! Questions have often been levelled at him regarding his temperament when it comes to getting over the finishing line and even though he is still only 34, each failure reinstates the belief in may that he will finish his career without a major win.

However, with a field that doesn't include a clear favourite coupled with Garcia's recent form that has been consistent and impressive in equal measures, this really could be the tournament that cements Garcia's legacy as one of the best European golfers of his generation.

5: Phil Mickelson

Like his old foe Tiger Woods, Mickelson is struggling with injury but unlike Woods he is expected to line up on Thursday at the first tee. If he is fit then it goes without saying that Lefty  is going to feature on the leaderboard.

With three green jackets already hanging in his wardrobe at home and numerous other top ten finishes in The Masters only a fool would right him off from adding another jacket to the collection.

6: Victor Dubuisson

Dubuisson, along with Reed are part of a bunch of rookies that have a genuine chance of making it first time lucky at The Masters this year. Having won his first professional tournament, The Turkish Airlines Open in November last year he has since kicked on with his performances on tour virtually guaranteeing a place in the European team for the upcoming Ryder Cup.

If Dubuisson can approach this weekend playing pressure-free golf then he has a good a shot as any of leaving the weekend victorious. If he does get in a position where he is leading it will certainly be interesting if he deals with the pressure as impressively as he has in his career to date.

7: Lee Westwood

Westwood's form coming into the tournament has been less than convincing and many would say that his best chance of winning a major may now be behind him. My head would tend to agree with this sentiment but my heart believes that there is still a fairytale ending out there somewhere for one of the best players never to win a major.

If he can keep control of his short game then maybe, just maybe he can finally get his hands on the biggest prize in golf.


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Topics:
Golf
Tiger Woods
US Masters
Rory McIlroy
Adam Scott

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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