It may currently get dark come 5 p.m where you are, but spring is just around the corner.
While the football and rugby seasons rolled on through the holidays, the new year heralds a new year for sport across many codes.
None of those illustrates what lies ahead of a cold winter better than the new golfing season. The best of the PGA Tour compete tomorrow in the Tournament of Champions in none other than Maui, Hawaii, before setting sail for California, Arizona and Florida.
It’s the Masters Tournament in early April that best characterises the arrival of spring however.
Augusta National has hosted golf’s first major of the year since 1934, and its beautiful surrounds have made it the iconic venue in the sport.
Taking place this year from April 5-8, the Masters provides an opportunity for the best players in the world to don the same green jacket as the likes of Jack Nicklaus (who won his final major here at the age of 46 in 1986), Tom Watson, Seve Ballesteros and the late Arnold Palmer.
Sergio Garcia will defend his crown from superstar contenders Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth and Jason Day, with young guns and 2017 major winners Brooks Koepka and Justin Thomas also likely to feature at the business end. England’s Danny Willett shocked the world in 2016 with his win, and fellow Brits such as veterans Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter, and youngsters Tyrell Hatton and Tommy Fleetwood will be looking to emulate their compatriot.
Irishmen Shane Lowry and Paul Dunne are currently in the world’s top 75, giving them a fighting chance to compete in Georgia come April.
As you can see in the headline picture, Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy played together in the last round of the 2015 iteration. While both were tied for fifth heading into the final round, they lay ten shots behind an imperious Spieth.
With Tiger’s return to action at the Hero World Challenge last month after a myriad of injury layoffs, the prospect of he and McIlroy dueling on Amen Corner on Masters Sunday for much higher stakes this time around is utterly salivating.
Just 91 days to go!