2020’s belated US Masters gets underway this Thursday and, taking place behind closed doors in the November weather, will have a very different feel to normal.
What has stayed eternal, however, is the desire to be wearing the famous green jacket come Sunday night.
Much of the pre-tourney chatter has been about US Open champion Bryson DeChambeau.
Pumped up Bryson has literally been hitting the iron in more ways than one this year and his big hitting plans seem to be centred on his ability to drive the ball beyond 100 yards from the tee as often as possible at this year’s event.
That is all well and good, but DeChambeau has, historically at least, putted poorly at Augusta and made under par only three times in 12 rounds here.
World number two Jon Rahm leads the European betting. Rahm also has a split record here, but his most recent seven rounds have all returned below par.
Those that remember his early days’ form of failing to break 70 in continuous rounds and are doubting him might well be forced into a re-think after his incredible hole in one this week. True, it was in practise but still.
If you haven’t seen the Spaniard’s second tee shot over the water effort, then you can enjoy it here.
— The Masters (@TheMasters) November 10, 2020
27-year-old Xander Schauffele came in joint second here last year and has finished inside the top five in half of his appearances in a major.
A player for the big occasions, Schauffele also banked wins in the Tour Championship, Tournament of Champions and WGC HSBC Champions making him another possible option as, of course, is world number one Dustin Johnson.
Dustin Johnson, the world’s top-ranked player, has a decent record here and can never be ruled out. Four top ten finishes is testament to that.
Wins in the Northern Trust and the uber profitable FedExCup Play Offs have seen him reclaim the number one spot in the sport which, coupled with a second place finish at the Houston Open last week, sees him start as our favourite.
Following his recovery performance in Houston last week, the odds on Brooks Koepka performing strongly have been plummeting in the run up to Augusta.
There have been injury issues to contend with this season, but he has unquestionable class which has seen him win four of the last eleven majors he’s participated in so he must come under consideration.
Earlier in the year, Rory McIlroy was going great guns and looking like his best.
However, lockdown and a subsequent lack of fans looks to have done for his form, having since gone without a top five finish in his last 12 starts.
Instead, another Brit, Tyrrell Hatton, has been in brilliant form of late, winning the BMW PGA and, despite not boasting the best of records at Augusta, is tipped to do well here.
It is now a year since he took down the Turkish Airlines Open and this season saw him scoop the PGA Tour in March as well as the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth back in autumn.
The major concern is his past Augusta form, coming home over par eight times out of ten but that could be about to change.
This season has brought us two first time winners in majors in Bryson DeChambeau and Colin Morikawa so why not a third at the 2020 US Masters?
Thursday 12 November Round One Tee Times (GMT)
This year, due to less daylight at this time of year there will be a two tee start.
12.00pm: Glover, Conners, Pan
12.11pm: Snedeker, Howell, Janewattananond
12.22pm: Mize, Landry, Miche
12.33pm: Kuchar, Westwood, Na
12.44pm: Schauffele, Kokrak, Stenso
12.55pm: Schwartzel, Day, Gallegos
1.06pm: Singh, Griffin, Duncan
1.17pm: Weir, Cabrera Bello, Wallace
4.05pm: Kang, Van Rooyen
4.16pm: Willett, Fowler, Augenstein
4.27pm: Mickelson, Ancer, Wiesberger
4.38pm: Scott, Morikawa, Hatton
4.49pm: Thomas, Fitzpatrick, Koepka
5.00pm: D Johnson, Cantlay, McIlroy
5.11pm: Z Johnson, Rose, Champ
5.22pm: Perez, Im, Todd
12.00pm: Lyle, Walker, Lin
12.11pm: Simpson, Leishman, Matsuyama
12.22pm: Kisner, Hadwin, Scheffler
12.33pm: Rahm, DeChambeau, Oosthuizen
12.44pm: Reed, Casey, Finau
12.55pm: Woods, Lowry, Ogletree
1.06pm: Spieth, Woodland, Poulter
1.17pm: McDowell, Kim, Lashley
4.05pm: Harding, Imahira, Taylor
4.16pm: Reavie, Munoz, An
4.27pm: Watson, Wolff, Fleetwood
4.38pm: Molinari, Horschel, Smit
4.49pm: Langer, Poston, Bezuidenhout
5.00pm: Couples, Homa, Fritelli
5.11pm: Olazabal, Putnam, Sugrue