The Masters is finally upon us and it’s going to be an intriguing contest with so many potential winners.
Dustin Johnson was crowned the 2020 Masters champion in November, but this week will feel different because the course played quite soft on that occasion.
The organisers will want it to be a different test for the players and I have heard it is going to be firm and fast, which is always more exciting to watch.
The player I fancy to do well is Shane Lowry.
He finished tied 25th last year, which was his best finish at Augusta in five attempts, but I feel he is a player to watch.
He likes to move the ball from right to left, he hits the ball a good distance and he has the ability to win as he has proven at The Open in 2019.
His top level of golf is right up there with the best.
He also finished in the top-10 at the recent Players Championship at Sawgrass, which shows he is trending in the right direction.
There will be plenty of competition for the Irishman from the usual suspects, such as Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, Jon Rahm and Justin Thomas.
Another outside tip is Brian Harman. Augusta has tended to favour left-handed players over the years and he went to the University of Georgia which is not far from the course.
He is a very aggressive player who is good on the greens, which could be a fruitful combination this week. I’m not sure if he can get the win but he’s got the potential for a strong showing.
Another left-hander in the field is Scotland’s very own Robert MacIntyre. It is his Masters debut and I hope he has a great week. He has been playing well in his run of tournaments in the United States and it will be a tremendous experience for him.
Lee Westwood always seems to do well at Augusta and he has been on a great run of form. It would be no surprise to see him up near the top of the leaderboard.
Louis Oosthuizen also has a great record at The Masters and could get in contention out of nowhere.
Will Rory McIlroy sort swing out in time?
It is difficult to know what to expect from Rory McIlroy this week. He returns to Augusta looking to complete the final leg of the career Grand Slam.
He has started working with Pete Cowen to address his recent form, which has fallen below his usual high standards.
He is always going to have pressure on him as he is one of the best players in the field.
There is a lot of speculation over his form and his swing changes, which must be tough to deal with.
His expectation levels may be slightly lower than usual going into this week and that could help.
He has a lot going on away from the course. Earlier this year, he was elected the PGA Tour’s player advisory council chairman and he became a father last year, which takes time to adjust to.
He is now working with a new coach so he is going through a lot of changes and maybe Augusta is coming too soon.
His first round is going to give us a lot of the answers.
Rory has always been a player that tends to get off to a flying start when he plays well in a major or a big event.
More recently, the first round scores have become an issue. He has always finished tournaments very well but he has started so far back that he hasn’t been able to contend.
You can’t count Jordan Spieth out at Augusta
Jordan Spieth would also be a very popular winner.
His form appeared to have deserted him for a long period and he tumbled down the world rankings.
But he has looked closer to his best this year and he knows how to play well at The Masters.
Augusta is the one course in the world where you can never count him out.
His past experience and knowledge of the course counts for so much and the set-up suits his game.
Augusta is like going back to your home club for these players as they know the lines to hit off the tee and how the putts will break before they reach the green.
Feeling comfortable at a major is a huge bonus because ultimately majors test you and make you uncomfortable, which is why they are so hard to win.
But Jordan has done it before in 2015 and he has the game to do it again.