The stars are aligned as anticipation builds for the Masters

53
Source:   —  April 01, 2016, at 6:18 PM

The fall is forgotten. The preliminaries are over. For some, the Masters couldn't obtain here soon enough. It felt that way when the two thousand fifteen majors ended latest Aug with Jason Day winning the PGA Championship in a one-sided duel and a record score to par.

The stars are aligned as anticipation builds for the Masters

The opening line in a book David Owen wrote seventeen years ago about the Masters captures why the anticipation for the first major at Augusta National.

"The modern golf season never ends, but it does begin."

That rings particularly true this year.

The fall is forgotten. The preliminaries are over. For some, the Masters couldn't obtain here soon enough.

It felt that way when the two thousand fifteen majors ended latest Aug with Jason Day winning the PGA Championship in a one-sided duel and a record score to par. Jordan Spieth opened the new year with an eight-shot triumph in Hawaii, right as the Masters began airing TV promos with those temperamental piano notes.

For three months, just about every tournament was a reminder of the showdown looming amid the azaleas and dogwoods.

"I don't know if it'south a free-for-all," Adam Scott said. "I think it'south an exciting lead-up to the Masters with a lot of top players in grand form and a lot of stories there, probably more so than the past few years."

The top of golf is so tight at the moment that Westgate Las Vegas Sportsbook has three co-favorites — Day, Spieth and Rory McIlroy — with 7-one odds to win the green jacket. All in their twenty, they've won five of the latest six majors, which is why they've been referred to as the modern version of the "Big Three."

Only presently they have company.

Bubba Watson won at Riviera, reviving memories of his two Masters victories in the latest even-numbered years. Scott tabbed him as the favorite, even as the Australian won in back-to-back weeks to start the FL swing. And then along came Day, who won his latest two starts before the Masters to return to No. one in the world.

"I am looking forward to it. I know it'south one tournament that I've always wanted to win, so the motivation and the want ... there'south number problem," Day said. "I can't obtain comfortable with how I'm playing right now. I can't obtain lazy, because I've got to realize that what I'm doing is working. So I've got to hold working ... and then stay focused and hopefully keep on the green jacket."

The only player among the top six in the world without a triumph is McIlroy, who's had three excellent chances to win in the latest six weeks. He returns to Augusta with another shot at becoming only the sixth player in history to complete the career Grand Slam.

Not to be overlooked is three-time Masters winner Phil Mickelson, who narrowly missed winning at Pebble Shore and looks rejuvenated at 45.

"There are more guys in the conversation," Scott said. "There are so many that I'd be surprised if some or all of these guys aren't there arrive Sunday, from Bubba to Jason to Jordan."

So many top players are performing so well that this will be the smallest field at Augusta National in at least ten years. PGA Tour winners automatically qualify for the Masters, but in the twelve tournaments to start the year, every winner already was eligible except for Augusta resident Vaughn Taylor, who won at Pebble Shore as an alternate.

Seven of the top fourteen players in the world already have won this year.

That'south not much different from four years ago when eight of the top twenty had won early in the year, including McIlroy, Mickelson and Tiger Woods. Only one of those players, Mickelson, was in contention that year.

For all its magic, Augusta manages to hold everyone guessing. The latest No. 1 player to win the Masters was Woods in 2002.

The original "Big Three" featured Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player, and it was as much about marketing as the majors they won. It'south too soon to hang that tag on players still in their twenty, though all of them have won majors and have traded turns at No. 1.

The youth movement in golf, however, is as much about depth.

"I think you've got more excellent players right presently than you've had in a while," Nicklaus said.

Nicklaus and Woods are the only players over the last fifty years to have won back-to-back heading into Augusta, and then won the Masters. That'south what's facing Day, the 28-year-old Australian who's an exquisite brief game to complement his power.

His victories have taken a tiny attention far from Spieth, who's chasing his own slice of history as he tries to connect Nicklaus, Woods and Nick Faldo as the only Masters champions to repeat. The 22-year-old is playing the Masters for only the third time.

As a rookie, he'd a two-shot lead with eleven holes to play and was on the cusp of becoming the youngest Masters winner until Watson chased him down. Latest year, Spieth was so dominant in his wire-to-wire triumph that he set the 36-hole record, tied the 72-hole record and never let anyone closer to him than three shots over the final three days.

Expectations are one thing. The genuine hurdle for Spieth is the competition.

"I think this year'south Masters might be the hardest one to win in quite a while as distant as the depth of the field and the quality of golf being played by people who play Augusta National very well," Spieth said. "Everybody wants it badly."

READ ALSO
Masters contenders led by favorites Day, Spieth and McIlroy

Masters contenders led by favorites Day, Spieth and McIlroy

Country: Australia. World ranking: one. Worldwide victories: ten. Majors: PGA Championship (two thousand fifteen). Masters moment: Losing a two-shot lead with three holes to play in two thousand-thirteenth.

101
Sacramento Raceway’s kickoff is a huge drag

Sacramento Raceway’s kickoff is a huge drag

This year’s event, Saturday and Sunday, also is an opportunity for drag racing fans to look vintage front-engine dragsters. The NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Racing Series started in two thousand-eighth to assistance preserve the association’s history and tradition...

58
Sports Night: Giants infield stands apart

Sports Night: Giants infield stands apart

Trevor Brown spent much of camp in a battle with Andrew Susac for the Giants’ backup catcher job, and presently he’s made his first Opening Day roster.

43
Thursday’s High School Scoreboard for March thirty-one, two thousand sixteen

Thursday’s High School Scoreboard for March thirty-one, two thousand sixteen

Garcia, and Buhler. Top hitters: P–Scott 3x3. L–Rozell 2x3, RBI.1200400—7122El Dorado2001000—375Peters, Vaughn (five) and Hunter. Pizzuti, Susmill (six) and Grigsby.

69