There’s something which remains so uniquely special about the Masters.
I don’t know if it is because my mind floods with images of Augusta National, the tournament’s home, or because it is the first major of the year, but it has always been an event which puts a smile on my face.
But, given my uncanny knack of getting my predictions spectacularly wrong more often than not, I’m always nervous when the time comes to choose my pick.
I really fancy Jon Rahm’s chances. He was worried he would have to dash off mid-tournament due to the birth of his first child, but I’m pleased to report his wife Kelley gave birth to a boy at the weekend and I would imagine he’ll be on cloud nine as a result.
I’m really looking for him to give it a good go, but I can see Justin Thomas being right up there too.
He played some unbelievable golf at Sawgrass in The Players Championship and if he can reproduce it this week he’ll go close.
Rory McIlroy, as ever, will be in the spotlight and I’m intrigued by how he is approaching this week.
I don’t know if it reverse psychology on his part or whether he genuinely feels that way, but he has played down his chances by saying the Masters is not really a key goal for him in 2021.
He is making changes, including working with renowned coach Pete Cowen, and he insists his expectations are low as a result.
I like that about Rory. He has always been very honest in how he sees the game and his place within it but there is part of me which wonders whether deep down, despite his topsy-turvy time of it recently, he still believes he can add that elusive green jacket to his list of honours.
I suspect he does.
Then, of course, there is the enigma that is Bryson DeChambeau.
I’ve said so much about him in the last 12 months that by this point I’m just like everyone else and intrigued to see what he is going to try next.
His latest project is his “secret club” which he plans to unleash this week.
The word on the grapevine is that it is a conformed driver. Cobra has basically made him a driver which ensures the dispersion is not as bad when he hits the ball offline.
I watched a video on social media which showed him on the range and I was just like Vijay Singh, who was standing next to him, chuckling away at what I was watching.
DeChambeau is convinced speed is the key which is why he walks fast, goes through his routine fast and swings fast. It’s all part of the process of gaining extra yardage.
When I watch him going through his routine it looks weird, almost as if he doesn’t care, but his clubhead speed is phenomenal.
One week it is going to click and he is going to win by 10 shots, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he was not in the running this week either.
The unpredictability is what makes it so exciting.
Finally, we have the teuchter – Bob MacIntyre.
The man from Oban refers to himself as such and I’ve had a giggle at footage of him arriving at the course with traditional Scottish music blasting out from the car.
I think it’s great. He’s clearly having a ball out there and having played some holes with Patrick Reed and Martin Laird the last few days, he now knows what to expect.
He knows how demanding physically the course is. It’s a serious walk and he’ll have formed a game plan given the knowledge he has now gained.
Whether he can win the tournament, who knows? Lefties tend to do well there and Bob is improving all the time. He has as good a chance as anyone.
That’s the thing about this event in particular. It favours left-handers and those with experience of the course which is why former winners tend to do well.
They don’t even have to be in form, something just seems to click and Augusta brings out the best in them.
Legendary writer Jock will be missed
It has been a tough week for Scottish golf following the passing of legendary golf writer Jock MacVicar.
I last spoke to Jock, who wrote for the Daily Express and was given the lifetime achievement award from Scottish Golf four years ago in recognition of his dedication to the game, three weeks ago and he was the same Jock I spoke to every time I saw him.
That’s what made him so endearing, his ability to put you at ease.
He was a proud supporter of Scottish golf and the game was his life.
Those who met him are all better for it and he will be sorely missed.