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The Masters 2024 Preview

As Thursday April 11 approaches anticipation is steadily mounting ahead of the 2024 Masters. There’s something about the tournament that somehow raises it above the other three majors of the season, hence the excitement at its impending arrival.

Perhaps it’s the course itself. Its immaculate fairways and billiard table-smooth greens in the stunning setting mean it’s always picture perfect, even in early spring.

The course, originally designed by the legendary Alister MacKenzie in 1930, has been gradually enhanced and made more challenging over the years. This year, for example, the second hole called Pink Dogwood has been lengthened by ten yards to create a slightly more challenging 585 yard par 5.

Then there’s the field of players. All have either earned the right to play on the invitation-only tournament, either through their own golfing achievements or by being given a pass by the Masters committee.

It’s also a tournament that is rich in tradition. The most notable example of this is the iconic green jacket that is awarded to the winner each year. The player is allowed to keep theirs for the year before returning for safe-keeping at Augusta until, hopefully, they can reclaim it after their next victory.

One player who has been able to do this no less than six times is Jack Nicklaus, a man who will also be participating in another of the tournament’s traditions. While technically still qualified to compete as a previous winner, instead he will be getting this year’s tournament under way as an honorary starter alongside other legends of the sport Gary Player and Tom Watson.

The prize fund for this year’s Masters has yet to be announced but last year the winner took home a very generous $3.4 million. This year, according to the Masters odds there are five clear leaders in the field.

Scottie Scheffler

Way out in head in terms of the betting is the current world number one, Scottie Scheffler. There’s even talk of him becoming the shortest-odds contender in the pre-tournament betting since Tiger Woods was placed at +350 to win in 2013.

He’s one player who already has a green jacket safely stored and waiting for him at Augusta thanks to his win in 2022 – and he’s sure to want to improve on the 10th equal position he managed last year. This year he’s already won the Arnold Palmer Memorial and The Players Championship, so he’s certainly on a roll.

Rory McIlroy

It goes without saying that every professional golfer sees winning The Masters as one of the crowning achievements of their career and it’s certainly something that McIlroy would want to add to his majors wins. He’s already notched up US Open, The Open Championship and PGA Championship victories, even though these were all at least ten years ago. But he’s started to show that his old form is gradually coming back to him. In last year’s US Open held at the Los Angeles Country Club he managed a second place nine under par finish, just one shot behind the winner Wyndham Clark. He’ll be hoping to go one better here.

Jon Rahm

The emergence of LIV golf caused a fault line that many thought would split the world of golf apart by excluding defecting players from PGA events. But now that some kind of settlement seems to have been reached between the two factions last year’s Masters winner Jon Rahm obviously decided it was time to jump ship. Hopefully, the disruption won’t affect his performance at Augusta where his many fans would love to see him make it two in a row, an achievement that only three other players have managed in the tournament’s 90 year history.

Jordan Spieth

Jordan Spieth has earned his place in the starting line-up thanks to his victory at Augusta back in 2015. That year his five under par finish put him just one shot ahead of runners-up Dustin Johnson and Louis Oosthuizen.

The last couple of years haven’t been great for Spieth in terms of wins but the trend of results seem to be heading in the right direction. Last season he was unlucky to miss out on winning the RBC Heritage event, coming second to Matt Fitzpatrick in a game that had to go all the way to a third extra hole.

Will Zalatoris

Anyone fancying a longer shot bet could do worse than to put their money on Will Zalatoris. This will be his third time at Augusta where he was runner-up behind Hideki Matsuyama in 2001. He withdrew from last year’s tournament due to injury and underwent successful back surgery.

Since his return to competition he has managed a second place finish in LA in February and came fourth in the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March. So he’s definitely one to watch.

So it promises to be the usual scintillating four days of golfing action at Augusta. As to whether any of these predicted winners will make it over the line, we’re just going to have to wait and see.