The Masters 2014 – Top 5 Heavyweight Contenders

Our build-up to the Masters at Augusta continues this week with a look at the heavyweight contenders for the Green Jacket.

Major winners are few and far between in golf. It often takes a special player to maintain for four consistent rounds of golf and the game’s biggest stage. It takes not only great ability but serious mental strength and concentration for any player to win a Major. Obscure winners do occur and are part of the hype that revolves around Major tournaments. But in terms of interest, eyes are always on the world’s highest ranked players.

This preview will look at the world’s biggest players and their hopes to secure the Green Jacket. A lot of the players listed below have won at Augusta before and know what it takes to win the years first Major. Other players are Major winners with high expectations who have flattered to deceive at Augusta on previous occasions. The big names always receive high following on the course and high backing in the bookmakers. So let’s have a closer look at golf’s biggest names and how they are looking for the years first Major.

1. Tiger Woods

Woods remains world number one despite a baron spell without a Major victory. His last Major success dates back to the 2008 U.S Open with a play-off win over Rocco Mediate. Woods literally won that tournament on one leg. He played through the pain barrier and knee surgery followed straight after the tournament. Woods’s participation in 2014’s first Major is in doubt due to a back injury. Will lightning strike twice where Woods manages to hobble his way to another Major win and take a step closer to Jack Nicklaus’s record? We will have to wait and see.

Woods has not played that poorly over the last few years. The fact that he is still ranked as the world’s best player more or less sums up his undoubted class as a golfer. He is still the best but can he really put it down in the record books by topping the all-time list of Major winners. He has four previous victories at Augusta. He certainly has the attributes and the mentality to win for a fifth time. He will be backed heavily and everyone will watch closely to see if he can buck his recent trend in Majors.

2. Phil Mickelson

For so long he was the best golfer not to win a major, but like so many, one win led to many more. Everybody in golf was delighted for Phil Mickelson in 2004 when he finally won his first Major by winning the U.S Masters. After a series of near misses, Mickelson holed a tough long range putt to pip Ernie Els to the post. Since then Mickelson has three wins at Augusta and has also won the Open Championship and the PGA Championship.

In recent times, he has constantly been a threat at Augusta and this year should be no different. He has not set the world alight so far this year. He has played in seven events but has yet to contend for any titles. Despite this he is still a very serious contender for the Masters. The course seems to suit the left-hander. He takes on shots that some players can only dream of and has been successful as a result. He has a good chance.

3. Rory McIlroy

Home interest will generally be based around McIlroy as he hopes to continue his return to form. 2013 was a very poor year by McIlroy’s standards but he appears to have bounced back and be close to some of his best form. McIlroy has four top ten finishes on the European Tour and two top tens on the PGA Tour. He has been in contention in tournaments and looks to have his game back in order.

He is the current favourite with the bookmakers. McIlroy himself probably feels he has unfinished business at Augusta, following his final day capitulation in 2011. He has bounced back to win two Major championships since then. The most notable thing about McIlroy’s triumphs has been the comfort of his victories. He has lead from the front on both occasions and won without any huge challenge. It’s hard to imagine any player winning in such a way at the Masters. Will that make it harder for McIlroy to win or can he prove doubters wrong and succeed in a titanic battle?

4. Adam Scott

The Australian is the defending champion and has continued on his good run of form following his first Major victory. There were a lot of similarities between Scott and the aforementioned Phil Mickelson. For so long he was being touted as one of the worlds best players not to win a Major championship. He had been close in previous competitions and finally bucked the trend last season.

Scott was in the top five in both the Open and PGA Championships last year and he will be hoping to bring the same type of form into the 2014 Major season. He threw away an eight shot lead in the Arnold Palmer Invitational recently which will be a worry. He has been at the top end of many leaderboards over the last twelve months. Form, ability and world ranking make him a very realistic contender.

5. Justin Rose

Rose gets into the heavyweight list based on his Major success last season. Having announced himself to the world of golf as a seventeen-year-old amateur at the 1998 Open Championship, Rose took a while to cement his place as a big name in the world of golf. It wasn’t until 2008 that he made his Ryder Cup debut, which is a reflection of his lack of success on tour. In recent times, he has become a very consistent player on tour.

His record at Augusta is reasonably good. He has two top ten finishes and on other years he has put three good rounds together but failed to make the four consistent rounds that are needed to win at Augusta. His heroic efforts at the Ryder Cup in 2012 seem to have added a lot of confidence to his game. He now has a Major win under his belt. This momentum and a previous solid record at Augusta certainly make Rose a player worth taking seriously.

Sean Cremin, Pundit Arena.

Featured Image By pocketwiley (originally posted to Flickr as The Masters) [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons.

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Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team.