April’s Favorite Tournament Has No Clear Favorite

AUGUSTA, GEORGIA | Now that Masters week finally has arrived, it’s time to think not about what has been lost (the Eisenhower tree) or what is missing (Tiger Woods) but about what is at hand.
This is golf’s Christmas morning, decorated with dogwood blossoms and filled with an anticipation that happens only once a year – traditionally ending on the second Sunday in April. This is the 80th anniversary of The Masters and if the first playing had a wonder-what’s-going-to-happen feel to it, well, so does this one.
Since his history-altering victory 17 years ago, each Masters week has started with Woods, who seemed to provide the emotional center around which the tournament spun until the leaderboard took shape on Sunday afternoon, with or – on rare occasions – without him.
With Woods recovering from back surgery, this Masters feels like the state of professional golf at the moment – there for the taking.
“You look at the winners on Tour the last few months, it’s been very – it’s been a different guy every week. It’s almost like golf is waiting for someone to stamp their authority on the game and be that dominant player,” Rory McIlroy said last week prior to the Shell Houston Open.
“I don’t think it’s just The Masters but golf in general is just very wide open at the moment and I think a few guys need to sort of put their hands up and try and be … the dominant players in this game because that’s what people like to see. It’s great for the sport to have people who are up there week in, week out, that win tournaments and then that creates sort of rivalries and that’s something we haven’t really had in golf for a couple of years.”
McIlroy and defending champion Adam Scott share the unofficial role of co-favorites entering this Masters, though neither has won a tournament this year.


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