YES, it’s less than six weeks until the biggest and best names in golf descend on Augusta National in Georgia.
We look here at who’s in form, who’s the bookie’s choice, and who’s due a win…
The Masters’ Tournament is, as always, the first men’s major of the golfing year as 87 top golfers compete to get their hands on the coveted green jacket.
It’s arguably, one of the most recognisable prizes in golf.
The famous Augusta green jacket has been awarded to every winner of the Masters’ Tournament since 1949.
Last year, it was Tiger Woods who won his fifth jacket and the American is one of the favourites to become the first player to win two consecutive Masters titles since, well, Tiger Woods back in 2002.
Golf has been notoriously difficult to predict in the last few years.
Tiger Woods may have grabbed his 15th major at Augusta last year but it’s a long time since he dominated men’s golf.
The American won an incredible 14 major titles in the space of just nine years, the first golfer since Jack Nicklaus to win 10+ titles.
Go back to 2008 and nobody it would have been ridiculous to suggest that we’d have to wait over a decade for Woods’ next win.
But that’s exactly what happened as Woods put an end to his almost 11-year wait for his 15th major in 2019.
It’s not long to go until Woods has to go back out and defend his title but not before we enjoy some of the famous traditions of the Masters Tournament.
Since the 1950s, it’s been customary for the previous year’s winner to host the Champions Dinner in the run-up to the tournament proper.
Woods is no stranger to this after securing his fifth jacket and has already decided on his menu for dinner.
“One of the greatest memories was to see Gene Sarazen and Sam Snead having milkshakes that night in ‘98” Woods said in a Masters media teleconference before thinking back to his emotional win last year.
“Seeing the number of reactions and people who were riveted by the Masters” he went on.
“The number of emotion people were showing. That’s what blew my mind. I didn’t think that many people would be moved that way.”
But they certainly were and as we head into the 2020 majors season, it’s hard to bet against something similar this time around.
Tiger Woods is amongst the favourites to win again in Augusta this year at 12/1 on Betway as of 27th February.
But as previously mentioned men’s golf is notoriously difficult to predict right now.
Rory McIlroy is the favourite to win his first green jacket at 15/2 and complete a career grand slam of majors.
He won the US Open, PGA Championship, and the Open Championship in a dominant three-year spell.
The Northern Irishman returned to the top of the Official World Golf Rankings earlier in the year and will be eager to stay there.
He finished tied for 21st last year at Augusta National but finished in the top ten for the five years before that.
Jon Rahm has climbed to second in the world rankings and notched up his best-ever finish in a major at Augusta last year finishing fourth.
He’s joint second at 12/1 alongside a man aiming to win his fifth major in five years.
Bruce Koepka is a man who has a far better record in the majors than he does in the regular tour events.
“I think sometimes the majors are the easiest ones to win”. he said during the 2019 PGA Championships, a tournament he won.
“There’s 156 in the field, so you figure at least 80 of them I’m just going to beat.
You figure about half of them won’t play well from there, so you’re down to about maybe 35.
And then from 35, for these, the pressure is going to get to them.
“It only leaves you with a few more, and you’ve just got to beat those guys.”
It’s a fascinating series of quotes with Koepka, a man who cannot be counted out in any major tournament he takes part in.
But there are plenty of other talented golfers who are in contention to get their own green jacket fitted in 2020.
Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth, and Xander Schauffele are all in contention and priced 25/1 or lower as of 27 February.
It promises to be an exciting tournament and come this time next year we’ll be finding out what exciting dishes are on the menu for the 2021 Champions Dinner.
By Ian Mullins